It is my honor and extreme pleasure to introduce you to Bernadette Botz. We first met when our kids were school age and played sports together. She lives in Montana (as do I) and is a sweetheart.
Bernadette has graciously offered to give away not one but two copies of her debut book, Liar. Be sure to read this post to the end to find out how to enter for your chance to win a copy.
Welcome to the Diamond Mine, Bernadette.
BB: Thank you for the opportunity to be here.
RS: I know this is your debut novel. Can you tell us what your occupation was before writing?
BB: I homeschooled my five children. Read-aloud time was my favorite. I wrote Liar as a read-aloud specifically targeted to homeschooling families.
RS: I loved storytime with the kids. I even read aloud to my study hall students. It seemed to help them work better. Did this time with your children influence your writing?
BB: Absolutely! I want to create quality fiction that will challenge and encourage the Body of Christ. I also want to create characters that stay in the mind and heart of the reader. We read a few books at home that my kids are still talking about. To see that happen for other families would be a dream come true for me.
RS: I think as authors, we all our dream of writing something that will stick with others in some way. I believe your novel Liar will do that. Can you tell us about your inspiration for this story?
BB: My kids were struggling with the messages of the world. I wrote it because I wanted to make them aware of the enemy’s voice. “Idiot. Worthless. Ugly. Stupid. Fat. Unliked. Unloved. Unwanted.” That and the suicide rate in Montana. I felt sick over the enemy’s work, and I wanted to expose him as much as I possibly could.
RS: The enemy’s voice can be so strong. You are right; the suicide rate here in Montana is high. Liar will definitely bring hope to the hopeless. I know the Bible brings you hope. Can you share with us your life verse and why you chose it?
BB: It’s always hard to choose one verse, but I always go to Zephaniah 3:17. This was the first verse I memorized as a new believer at the age of thirty.
“The Lord, your God, is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you with his love. He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
The Lord did a lot of housecleaning when I first became a Christian. This verse meant a lot to me because I read that He was with me, that He didn’t turn His back on me, even when I didn’t have my act together. I read that He is a mighty warrior. I needed someone to fight for me, and I knew I could trust Him to do that for me. That Jesus Christ takes delight in me with His love, that He no longer rebukes me (which I deserve) and especially that He rejoices over me with singing??? I couldn’t believe what I was reading! In this verse, my Savior expresses so much of His character from beginning to end, and it has helped me overcome a lot of my fear of man. It reminds me that I am known, protected, delighted in, loved, rejoiced over and amazingly… that I belong to a Savior who sings over me. I never, ever thought about the Lord singing, and it just blew my mind!
RS: I was thirteen when I became a Christian, but I will never forget the first time my daughter Sharla showed me the verse in Philippians 2:15, where it refers to us as shining like stars in the sky. That blew my mind. I couldn’t believe I’d missed God’s voice in this verse.
Liar speaks a lot about voices and which one we are to seek. Your characters take quite a journey in this book. Did you take a personal journey as well while writing?
BB: This book sent me on the hardest journey for any Christian. It is voiced in my book when Yeshua asks, “WILL YOU TRUST YOUR KING?”
Will I trust Him when everything is upside down? Will I trust Him when I feel alone and unseen? Will I trust Him to be enough for me when nobody knows what the work is costing me? Will I trust that He won’t let me put something worthless out into the world? Will I trust Him with critics? Will I trust Him with haters? Will I trust Him to help embrace that part of His design for me that is writer? Even though I’m terrified? Even though I feel completely inadequate.
I wrote this book for my kids. Jesus saw to it that I wrote it for myself.
RS: Powerful questions. How does it feel to see your book in print?
BB: When my book was delivered to my house, I just happened to be alone. I opened up the box and saw my name and the beautiful cover. (painted by my friend, Kathy Smith) I wanted so much to share my joy with someone – someone who would understand all that I had been through in birthing this story.
Since I was alone, I sat on the hearth of our fireplace, imagining all my characters around me. I read the entire book aloud to them! It was a profound moment. It was a way to honor them for all their help, and it was a way to say goodbye. As my original intent was that the book function as a read-aloud, it was a wonderful way to say, “The End.” It was a holy moment shared only with the characters from my book and the Lord. They fully knew the cost.
RS: I have enjoyed our interview. I pray you have, as well. One last question before we talk about the giveaways. What do you hope to leave with the reader through your writing?
BB: I hope Liar leaves the reader with a renewed sense of hope in doing the right thing. For men, that means returning to protecting women, children, and culture. Men are called out of passivity in this story. For women, it means leaving fear and insecurity behind. It means allowing yourself to become vulnerable so that you can be free. It means that freedom first starts with Christ. I want my reader to leave the kingdom of Struggle having identified with the characters in a way that changes their life. I want the Body of Christ to return to the kingly qualities of truth, courage, honesty, and confession so that they can take their rightful position in the battle against the enemy. To arms! This book is a call to arms!
RS: After reading Liar, I believe you and GOD will accomplish much in the direction you speak. The story is poignant and thought-provoking, indeed.
BB: I’m so grateful to you! Thank you for investing in me this way.