Kimberly Cash Tate is the author of the novel Heavenly Places (March 2008) and the memoir, More Christian than African-American (1999 and 2009). A former practicing attorney, she is also the founder of Colored in Christ Ministries. She resides in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband and two children. You can find her online at http://www.kimberlycashtate.com and at http://kimberlycashtate.blogspot.com.
Kimberly, I’ve been reading reviews of your latest book, More Christian than African-American, on amazon.com. Your book sounds absolutely fascinating and the reviews were excellent. Tell us about the book and what motivated you to write it.
I’ve been doing some reading too, Sharon…on your blog! I love the wit and personality you infuse into your posts. Thanks so much for having me in your corner of the blogosphere.
More Christian than African-American: and other ways Jesus turned my life upside down was first published ten years ago, and I still remember vividly the moment I knew God wanted me to write it. I had a newborn baby—my first—and I was on maternity leave from my law firm, trying to figure out what kind of home-based business I could start. Had even bought a book on home-based businesses and was praying about what I could do. One day in church, it was so clear that God wasn’t calling me to start a business in the way I’d been imagining. He wanted me to write about my spiritual journey. I had the title before I left worship service, something my pastor had said a few months before, that we needed to be “more Christian than African-American.”
I became a believer at 27, so I had lived a good while in the world. Jesus had a lot of shaking up to do in my life! One of the biggest things was my identity. I like to say I lived, moved, and had my being in blackness, but Jesus wanted me to live, move, and have my being in Him. I talk about that change and others in the book. I’m told it reads sort of like a novel, walking the reader through the before and after of my life as a Christian. It’s been a blessing to hear readers tell me that they were moved to fill in the blank with their own “More Christian than….”
In addition to More Christian than African-American you also wrote a novel titled Heavenly Places. What’s that novel about?
Heavenly Places is about a woman, Treva, who has always felt inferior, thanks to her mother. She found her worth in a career, with success…until it was gone. Now her life is in a tailspin. Without her high-powered job, she has returned with her family to her hometown and all the memories she’s fought to escape. Worse, she’s near her mother again, who hasn’t changed. She’s filled with despair and those old thoughts of unworthiness, until her sister coaxes her into a women’s home Bible study where they decide to study the book of Ephesians. Though Treva resists, and quits a couple of times, she comes to learn the importance of family, friendships, and forgiveness…and she comes to learn who she truly is in Christ.
How difficult was it to switch from writing fiction to nonfiction?
I had actually written More Christian first, and never thought I’d be a fiction writer. Because of the style in which that book was written, though, a couple of people told me I should consider fiction, including my agent. I didn’t consider it seriously until God started giving me bits and pieces of the Heavenly Places story. It burned so deeply in my heart that after praying on it a long while, I knew I had to start writing.
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
It’s funny because my mother found an old notebook of mine in which I said at ten years old that I wanted to be a writer and a teacher. I guess I’m both now, since I homeschool my kids! I remember loving notebooks and pens, always writing some kind of poem or lyrics to a made-up song. When I became an attorney, I did a lot of writing, but those were memos, briefs, and other court documents. I never considered actually pursuing a career as a writer…until that day in church. That’s why I like to say God turned my life upside down. It’s been one new adventure after another!
I believe you have a book coming out in 2010. Can you give us a sneak peak of what is coming?
I’d love to! I’m so excited because I was signed to Thomas Nelson Fiction this year and I absolutely love my publisher, Allen Arnold, and the rest of my publishing team. My next novel, Faithful, will release in October, 2010. Three women, all friends, are tested in different ways. Two of them find their marriages in serious trouble and the third, a single woman turning 40, meets a man she knows is no good—yet they’re thrown together as maid of honor and best man at her sister’s wedding. These friends and the men in their lives must all decide whether they will be faithful to God…even as He shows Himself faithful to them.
I’ve started a tradition on my blog that is in keeping with my blog’s humor and funny storytelling theme. With this in mind, I have one final question for you. Who is your favorite funny man?
This is hard! LOL! Old school comedians come to mind, like Bill Cosby when he would do stand-up about family. I had to ask my husband who makes me laugh these days and he said, “Tyler Perry, when he plays Madea.” So I guess that’s my answer! 🙂
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