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Guest Post And Giveaway--Kimberly Russell UPDATE: Winner--Laurie Sibley

Updated: Aug 15, 2021

Introduce yourself—name, where you’re from, and something people notice when they meet you.

My name is Kimberly Russell, and I live in a tiny house in southern lower Michigan with Toby, the Shih Tzu, who allows me to be his roommate.

Retired for four years, my day job was that of a civil servant in the Michigan Department of Corrections at the local prison complex. I served as Warden’s Secretary under two female Wardens in a three-prison complex of 2500 medium security male inmates and was integral in starting the first dog-inmate program in the MDOC.

I’ve been divorced for many years and still keep in contact with my three step-children—I’m Nana to ten! Family is super important. I have two sisters, one nephew, three nieces, and am a Great-Auntie to too many to keep track of. Cool trivia: Three years ago, I also gained a brother through Ancestry DNA. Bill and his wife live in Minnesota and we keep in regular contact. Talk about the most awesome thing ever!

My writing career began in 2009 with a writing community called FaithWriters and I regularly took part in their weekly writing challenge. High-ranking finishes led to publication in the 2015 & 2017 FaithWriters anthologies. Over the years, I have been a columnist for a local entertainment publication, been published in Dog Life Magazine, and written three full- length manuscripts during NaNoWriMo. One of these-Photo Finish-is my next project—stay tuned!

I live a quiet, reserved life that I adore. My days are spent creating literary magic, hanging with friends and family, and pursuing my pickleball obsession. (YouTube it if you’re not familiar—such fun.)

What do people notice about me?

Hmm… maybe that I’m short? 5’2” of sixty-year-old awesome.

Tell us about your book—title and back cover blurb.

My fantasy novel, “Journey to ChiYah” (Hebrew for restoration,) was released July 1. Journey is a conglomeration of my life experiences, hybrid facts, and plain old fiction. I’ve always struggled with emotional issues, and God has untangled much over the years. When I began attending a new church where we learned about restoration, my healing accelerated, as did my creative juices. Everyone would see me scribbling furiously during sermons, taking notes, and journaling as God worked me through the healing process that intertwined with Jade’s story, and soon Journey To ChiYah took shape. Life got in the way for a while and it took me several years to finish the first draft, but after I retired, I knew it was go-time.

The message of Journey to ChiYah is that God can heal and restore us from our past if we cooperate during the process. It’s often a bumpy ride, but as we persevere, He is faithful and true to restore us to His original, best intent, then send us on assignment to share with the world.

From the back cover:

Jade Pepperdine has a problem: Her life is crumbling beneath the weight of the past, events of the present, and fears for her future. Things need to change, but she doesn’t know where to start. Answers come in the form of an unexpected opportunity when Jade finds herself stuck in a mythical land. She meets Mayor Dudley, who insinuates she is emotionally broken and in need of repair… a fact she’d just as soon ignore. He offers to help her get home if she is willing to face her issues through a process of restoration. Frightened and skeptical yet out of options, Jade grudgingly agrees. And soon figures out that change is a journey, not a destination. Come along on the adventure of a lifetime, and maybe you’ll find someone you never knew you lost: Yourself.

Share one thing that you found difficult or challenging about writing this book.

The challenge of writing Journey was that God downloaded the story during a major emotional healing in my life. Many of the events, scenarios, and emotional subjects are directly from my own experiences. Some are verbatim, others began as one thing but transformed into something else. It was a delicate balance to put together the story while tapping into my own issues.

Ask the blog reader a quirky question or two. I hope readers will comment--and enter to win an e-copy of your book!

Journey to ChiYah is full of family dynamics, childhood events, and memories from the past. In one incident, Jade recalls when her big brother locked her in a tool shed infested with spiders—funny now, not so much then. (Fortunately, this didn’t really happen to me.)

What’s something you recall-good or bad-from childhood you’re not likely to forget? For me, it’s playing with the neighborhood kids way out in the middle of the horse pasture and… you’ve already guessed, right? I peed my pants (hey, I was only five, and the house was really far away) and how my sisters never let me forget it. (Unfortunately, this one is true. Such humiliation.)

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Thank you for joining us, Kimberly--your book sounds fascinating!

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