It may be a few days late, but, believe me, this month's edition of The Grapevine was worth the wait! ;)
Today I'm introducing the beautiful, talented, and extremely witty Lisa McKay. Lisa was my very first author friend, and she remains my writing BFF. We met online, and then met in person a couple years ago at the Calvin College Festival of Faith and Writing. It was (for lack of a better word) serendipitous. We think alike, write alike, and are passionate about similar things. I can't say enough good things about her!
Lisa was born in Canada to Australian parents, but she grew up in Australia, Bangladesh, the States, and Zimbabwe. She has also been, quite literally, all over the world working for the Headington Institute (a non-profit organization that provides psychological and spiritual support to humanitarian aid workers). Lisa has trained in forensic psychology and has her masters in international peace studies. Are you intimidated yet? You shouldn't be... Though her intellect is astounding, so is her heart. Lisa is simply amazing.
Her debut novel My Hands Came Away Red is a work of art. From the back cover copy:
Thinking largely of escaping a complicated love-life and having fun on the beach, eighteen-year old Cori signs up for a ten-week trip to help build a church on a remote island in Indonesia.
Six weeks into the trip, a conflict that has been simmering for years flames to deadly life on the nearby island of Ambon. Before they can leave, Cori and her teammates find themselves caught up in the destructive wave of violence washing over the Christian and Muslim villages in the area. Within days the church they helped build is a smoldering pile of ashes, its pastor and many of the villagers dead, and the six teenagers are forced to flee into the hazardous refuge of the mountains with only the pastor's son to guide them.
As the team hikes through the jungle, Cori's search for spiritual answers and emotional stability proves just as difficult as the physical journey home.
I loved this book. Simply loved it. It's like nothing I've ever read before, and Lisa handled the unknown with grace and compassion. Though I've never been to Indonesia, I was with Cori in the jungle of Ambon. Not only is the story compelling, Lisa's prose is beautiful. There's a reason Publisher's Weekly called My Hands Came Away Red "one of the best Christian fiction books of the year."
Lisa has graciously agreed to give away a signed copy of her excellent to one of my readers! Leave a comment--you don't want to miss this one. And please takes some time to check out Lisa's fantastic website. Her essays are sometimes poignant, sometimes light-hearted, but always hilarious.