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The Tale of a Prodigal Daughter

29 March 2018

I’m delighted to introduce to my blog today a Christian novelist who has had two books published by my own publishers, Instant Apostle. I had the pleasure of working with Kathryn during the summer, when she coordinated my own blog tour, and witnessed first-hand her commitment and dedication to widening the profile of Christian authors.

Kathryn Hitchins’ first novel, The Girl at the End of the Road, was released in March 2016 and tackles the theme of female autism.

Her second book, The Key of All Unknown, was released in October 2016 and tells the story of a woman trapped in a coma and struggling to find out what happened to her.

Both these books were short listed for the Woman Alive Readers’ Choice Award 2017, with The Key of All Unknown, reaching the final three.

Kathryn’s third novel, The Gardener’s Daughter, has just been released. It’s a young adult contemporary adventure along the lines of the prodigal son, or in this case daughter. The main character is motherless, nineteen-year-old Ava Gage, who has always believed brilliant botanist, Theo Gage, to be her father. When a chance discovery reveals she’s adopted, her world falls apart.

Determined to discover her true identity, Ava runs away and enlists the help of inexperienced private detective, Zavier Marshall. Pursued by shadowy figures, she takes on a new name and follows in her dead mother’s footsteps to work at the mysterious Fun World Holiday Camp.

Penniless and cut-off from everything she’s ever known, and trapped in a deadly game of cat and mouse with a ruthless criminal gang, Ava discovers she’s more valuable dead than alive. Will she discover the shocking truth behind her mother’s death? And will she find her real father before it’s too late?

I asked Kathryn to tell me a little about her inspiration for the story.

“The background to the book is that I volunteered for about 18 months with STEP, the St Albans Education Project, stepschoolswork.org.uk. It’s a Christian organisation which goes into secondary schools in our area to help with assemblies, RE lessons and CU’s. I helped out every week with a Christian Union in a Co-Educational secondary school.

“While I was there I was struck by how difficult it is to explain the Gospel in a short space of time to youngsters who have very little Biblical knowledge. The school would not allow us to directly present the Gospel; we were only given permission to respond to the students’ questions. This meant we had to devise games and conversations about current issues in the hope that the students would ask us what we believed.

“Whatever question they asked, the answer often needed to incorporate a potted overview of the Bible from creation, fall, incarnation, sacrifice, repentance, salvation and eternal life.  All the best questions seemed to happen in the last few minutes of the CU sessions, and by the time a week had gone by the opportunity to continue the discussion had passed.

“I decided to write a book which, on the surface would be a young adult adventure, but would weave in Biblical themes so that in any later discussion you could say to a youngster ‘It’s a bit like …’ (mentioning a plot point in the novel) as a kind of shorthand until they were able to go away and read more of the Bible for themselves.

“This book is targeted at young adults with the aim of conveying Christian truth through fiction in a subtle and non-preachy way. However, it can also be read by adults, and I hope it will help people have a better understanding of the Christian gospel and want to encounter Jesus for themselves.”      

K A Hitchins studied English, Religious Studies and Philosophy at Lancaster University, graduating with a BA (Hons) First Class in English, later obtaining a Masters in Postmodern Literatures in English from Birkbeck College, London. She is married with two children.

Website:  www.kahitchins.co.uk

Twitter:  @KathrynHitchins

On Facebook as Kathryn Hitchins and K A Hitchins, Author

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