We have a special guest post from Kellyn Roth today. Her book, Souls Astray, came out recently and she wanted to talk a bit about it. To learn more about the book, blog tour, and giveaway, check out her blog.
Hello, Faith’s readers! Kell here, and today I’d like to share a bit about the themes and motifs of Souls Astray—as well as the Kees & Colliers series as a whole. I’ll be careful not to give spoilers, though, so don’t worry!
One of the main themes for Souls Astray is, well, pain. This novel shows ways different people react to different difficult situations in their lives. Do they crumple under it? Do they rebel? Do they stand tall and strong and ride it out?
Does it help to have a firm family foundation when war brings destruction? Is it better to go it alone—or do you need someone else to support you? How does God and His strength play into all this? Is it okay to feel abandoned even when you know you’re not?
When I wrote Souls Astray, I was devastated in the wake of losing my beloved grandfather. I don’t believe most grandchildren are blessed with the bond I had with him, and it was heartbreaking to lose him. However, he’s safe in Heaven now, and I was given some valuable perspective through the grief.
Adele Collier and Troy Kee are my main characters in Souls Astray, and both of them taught me a lot.
Adele by giving me some very valuable “what not to do” examples and by helping me to realize that a lot of the guilt I was putting on myself was unreal—much like the guilt Adele’s own mother dumped on her after some tragic events.
Troy, well, he’s a sweetheart, though he has his own problems (like everyone). Still, his example of taking care of his mother and baby sister, not letting life get him down (most of the time), and keeping his temper at bay when it was difficult were special.
It probably sounds weird that I picked these things up from my characters when I, in fact, wrote the book! But I think a lot of authors learn from their characters. After all, you can know something and not believe it—and sometimes just the act of seeing it unfold before you as an unbiased viewer is enough to make it all click.
That’s what happened with me.
In many ways, though they’re not much like me in personality, the characters of Souls Astray—Adele and Troy—struggle with the same problems I do or have struggled with.
Adele would rather rebel than behave, can occasionally be a walking contradiction, and hates church and all things resembling “traditional, whitewashed” Christianity. (I’ll note that her experience of being told she wasn’t welcome in church because of her sins is a situation I know well—though in my case it was a child my own age telling me that, not a group of women!)
Troy knows all the facts about God and Christianity—but can’t seem to get those facts into feelings and sometimes his carry-through is lacking. (He also would rather not do pain. Very Kell.)
My theme song for Adele is God Only Knows by For King & Country. One of my favorite parts goes:
God only knows where to find you
God only knows how to break through
God only knows the real you
But there’s a kind of love that God only knows
And my theme song for Troy, Casting Crown’s Oh My Soul, has a very important part, too:
I’m not strong enough, I can’t take anymore
(You can lay it down, you can lay it down)
And my shipwrecked faith will never get me to shore
(You can lay it down, you can lay it down)
I hope that someday someone will read Souls Astray and go, “Wow. I get it now.” Particularly I hope I’ll have a few readers that are struggling with fresh or lingering grief, guilt over circumstances beyond their control, abusive or otherwise difficult family situations, and trouble learning to trust again.
Souls Astray isn’t the happy book I’d like it to be. That’s because some situations take time and patience and perseverance to get through.
The rest of the Kees & Colliers series (including book 1, The Lady of the Vineyard, and book 2, Flowers in Her Heart, coming June and July of this year) will focus on the healing that must, slowly, follow the tragic events of the prequel.
This story comes from the deepest parts of my heart—or should I say soul?—and I’m excited that I’m finally getting to share it with the world!