Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Grapevine: Lisa McKay

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.

Happy reading!


  1. I HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK! HAVE TO! Even if I don't win it, I'm buying it. I'm a missionary, my current WIP is about missions, and I am so thankful for Lisa McKay! Thank you for this feature, Nicole!

  2. Sounds very interesting! Thanks, Nicole, for letting us know about your BFF...and for the chance to win a copy of her book! Off to see her stuff now!

  3. I suppose I could call you Nicole now, but I'll always think of you fondly as Mrs. Baart! It's so great to read your blog and see what you're up to! I have to agree with you about Lisa McKay, she's amazing. I came across My Hands Came Away Red last year and was blown away. Definitely one of my favourite pieces of Christian fiction!


  4. Wow, this book sounds fantastic. So does your friend. Isn't it a rich blessing to have friends like that?! ~ Wendy

  5. Ooh, I've not read this but it sounds awesome and I'm excited about it as I'm a missionary too! Just ending a 3 year trip where we traveled from the UK, to Africa, India, Pakistan, USA - and now back to the UK but further north to Glasgow, Scotland to plant a church! :) God has been awesome - I reckon Lisa's book sounds like the perfect read for the flight out...If I don't win, I'll definitely have to pick it up.

  6. I've had this book on my wishlist for months! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. :) I guess I'll wait til after the drawing before I decide to buy it off Amazon. Glad to see you had fun on your trip. Have a good weekend!

  7. Of course, Lisa is wonderful - she's Australian ;-)

    While a signed copy sounds very tempting, don't include me as I already have a well read copy of this amazing book. I only had someone recently say to me that as soon as another Lisa McKay books is on the shelves, she'll be grabbing it!

    It is well worth considering it as a book club selection, too - we loved discussing it at ours last year.

    Hugs to you both, Lis & Nicole.

    PS. I'll Tweet this link :)

  8. Sounds like a great book and I can't wait to read it! I am always looking for new books to read on cold, rainy or dare I say (snowy) days in Iowa.

  9. I've seen this book and I have wanted to get it but haven't yet. I love Christian fiction and cant wait to read this book! Blessings to you! Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. I didn't comment before because I have this book. I absolutely loved it! It was so well written. I can't wait to to read more books by Lisa McKay.

    You probably already have you next author picked out, but I have to recommend Lisa Samson. I love, love her books. Have you read Embrace Me? So good!

  11. I would LOVE to win this book! It sounds like an awesome read. I have added it to my ever growing list of "books to read", along with The Moment Between. I have read Summer Snow and After the Leaves Fall and enjoyed them immensely.

  12. Sounds like a good read. I'd love to win a copy!! I'm new to your site and I'll definitely be back.


  13. I read this book last year and thought it was amazing. I can't wait to read what Lisa McKay writes next!

  14. Sounds awesome! I'm thinking maybe this post didn't post like other posts do? It never showed up in my dash board. Your post today showed up in my dashboard and I saw the link to this post and thought, "When did that happen?" So I'm glad you put in the link today!

    Your grapevines are great, because I LOVED Tosca Lee's Havah and now I'm reading Mary DeMuth's Daisy Chain. :)

  15. I somehow missed this post earlier. Sounds like a great book! -- amykiane[at]gmail[dot]com.