Author Spotlight

Definition of spotlight:  something that illuminates brilliantly.

It’s always a privilege to shine a spotlight on an author!

About the Book

Book: Freerunner

Author: Kathy Cassel

Genre: YA

Release date: March, 2022

Set against the backdrop of the sport of freerunning, Kia must decide whether she will continue running or face her past abuser in order to save another child.

Night is Kia’s favorite time, when she freeruns to outdistance the memories of abuse she suffered as a young child. But when former reality television star Terrence Jones arrives at their school as the new head track coach, things begin to change in unpredictable ways. Kia tries out for the team to fit in, but just as she’s gaining a new sense of normal, her abuser steps back into her life. Not only that, but being on the track team causes even more turmoil. Why does the assistant coach, Cassandra Clark, dislike Terrence Jones so much, and even more troubling, why does Coach Clark dislike her so much? As the pieces of the puzzle begin to come together, Kia realizes she has to choose between running from her past or saving a child from the same sort of abuse she suffered. But will she have the courage to do so?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Kathy Cassel is author of more a dozen fiction and non-fiction titles for preteens and teens, including 2021 Selah Award finalist Freerunner and the iParenting award winner Christian Girls Guide series. Kathy has lived on three different continents with her USAF husband, has eight children, five adopted from Haiti and the United States, and six grandchildren. To better relate to her characters, she enjoys learning their skills such as whitewater rafting, scuba diving, and riding a motorcycle, but draws the line at sky diving.

Interview with Kathy

It’s always a privilege to have an author join me, and for my reader’s to get to know them better. I hope you enjoy this interview!

Why did you decide to write fiction?

I love YA books, but most of the books I was checking out from
the library had themes of depression, suicide, death and so on. I
quickly realized the books didn’t offer any real answers or hope,
and I felt a strong call to switch from devotion books to fiction
that would reach teens with the message that there is a God,
and he has a plan for them. If they walk away from the story
with that hope, then I’ve succeeded in planting a seed of faith.

How do you come up with your plots?

I start a story in my head long before I start it on paper. A
character will come to mind and she’ll be dealing with an issue.
Then I try to set it in an interesting place or give her an
interesting hobby. Slowly the story will unfold, and I’ll start
getting it down on paper. Last week I was delivering packages
on my route, and I saw a young, thin, very tan girl straddling a
privacy fence. Her thoughts looked very far away and right away
my imagination kicked in giving her a story.

Do you ever name your characters after people you know?

No. But I love naming characters. I’ll look at what was popular
the year they would have been born, and sometimes I’ll name
minor characters from that. But more commonly I’ll hear my kids
mention a friend’s name that is a bit unusual or I’ll see one in a
yearbook and it sticks.

How do you research for your stories?

It depends on the story. For Freerunner I watched hours of
how to videos for different freerunning moves. For my most
recent YA book A Thousand Lies, I pulled up NYC subways
maps, Google maps, Greyhound schedules, Youth Hostels, and
anything else that might make the book more authentic.

Okay, serious question here. What’s your favorite kind of ice cream?

My daughters and I all loved Bubble Gum, and they discontinued
it. Life hasn’t been the same since. One of my daughters is
trying all the Little Debbie ice cream flavors based on the snack,
but I’ll pass.

What is your favorite vacation spot?

New York City with my kids. There are so many different kinds of
things to do that it’s a different experience every time.

Vacations can cause stories. Do real life stories get turned into fiction plots?

No, but I do want my stories to be so realistic that people feel
they are real stories.

Do you have an interesting writing quirk?

I really get involved with my characters. In order to better relate
to some of my characters in different projects I’m working on, I
have done things such as whitewater rafting, certifying in scuba
diving, and getting my motorcycle endorsement. I draw the line
at sky diving.

Have you ever read a book that made you cry?

I have been known to sit here with tears running down my face
while I create my own stories. My kids have learned to ignore all
emotional outburst during my writing time.

What is your funniest typo?

I haven’t had any real typos, but I’ve sent some very interesting
voice messages. Have to love how our phones interpret our
words, right?

Kathy, thank you so much for spending time with us today. Reader’s, let’s support our authors. Grab a copy of Kathy’s book today.

More from Kathy

For many years I wrote devotion books for preteens and early teens. I tried to make the devotions both fun and interesting. I wanted preteens and early teens to see that the Bible is relevant to them today. But I realized that the readers I most wanted to reach weren’t likely to pick up the Bible or a daily devotion book. But they might read a story. These are the teens who are hurting inside. Those who have been abused, neglected, bullied, abandoned, or who  face challenges. Those who may have lost hope and who need healing. Those who need to realize that God still has a plan for them no matter what has happened.

So I turned to writing faith-based, issue-based young adult books. It hasn’t been easy. There are a multitude of issue based books in the general market, but these can be graphic and offer little hope or healing, yet they are snatched off the shelves and are some of the most popular books. Mine are not graphic and mention God throughout the book. They are not likely to reach library shelves. So the challenge is to get them into the hands of the readers who most need them.

Freeerunner is about a 15-year-old girl who is sexually molested/abused (I never give details so readers can interpret what happened based on their own knowledge and experiences) by a family member when she is only six. She doesn’t get help. No one talks about it. So when the abuser walks back into her life now that she’s 15, she has a lot of unresolved feelings. For adults reading this book, the story may trigger negative feelings or bring up a painful past. But don’t let that turn you away from the book because it may be a powerful resource for those experiencing what Kia did. For teens, the book gives them a character they can relate to. The story lets them know they are not alone and don’t need to suffer in isolation. Like Kia they may find the courage to finally speak out and get help. And they may come to realize that God has an amazing plan for them no matter their past.

So for some the book may simply be an entertaining sports story, while for others it can be a springboard to talk about their own problems. I am hoping this book will become a resource for parents, counselors, pastors, youth leaders, Sunday School teachers, and librarians to share with teen readers.

And above all, I hope the story is a source of hope and healing to those who need it.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 4

Through the Fire Blogs, September 5 (Author Interview)

Naked and Unashamed, September 6

For Him and My Family, September 7

Splashes of Joy, September 8 (Author Interview)

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 9

Inklings and notions, September 10

Spoken from the Heart, September 11 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, September 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 12

Vicky Sluiter, September 13 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 14

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 15

Blogging With Carol, September 16


To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Books-A-Million Gift Card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

19 Responses to Author Spotlight

  1. melissapettersen says:

    My husband and I met through a mutual friend though we hadn’t actually “met” until a year & a half later. He was in the Marine Corp in North Carolina & I lived in Maryland. I was talking to one of my best friends in a chat room one evening. She was able to get in one at work when she was bored. I’d hop on to keep her company. My husband was on to talk to his friend who was stationed in Okinawa. My friend introduced us & we started talking. That turned into letters & phone calls. Eventually we finally met & we married after he finished Bible college in Oregon. He was in the reserves at the time. He now is in the USAF full time & we will be married 20 years in June. I’m sure this is hard to follow. It’s hard writing it all out. 😂😂😂


  2. Ronda says:

    So, my RA took pictures of us on move-in day and had them posted with what room we were in as a way for us to become familiar with the faces in our dorm and so we could make friends…….. now looking back maybe that wasn’t really a great idea 🥴. However, one night there was a knock on the door & to my surprise a cute guy wanting to know if I wanted to hang out because he had seen my picture on the board in the hall. Luckily he wasn’t a Joe Glodberg type 😆 neither of us were looking for anything serious BUT we’ve been together ever since & married 15 years this June ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stephenia H. McGee says:

    Thank you for sharing about The Secrets of Emberwild


  4. Eva Millien says:

    Great spotlight on the author, Vicky, thank for sharing it with me! Ashley, Re-Created for Faith sounds like a wonderful read, thanks for sharing it with me! Have a fantastic day


  5. Marisela Zuniga says:

    writing at a beach in Hawaii sounds amazing! Great interview


  6. slehan says:

    Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 


  7. Beatrice LaRocca says:

    Thank you for sharing the author spotlight and book details, Re-Created for Faith sounds like an excellent read and I am looking forward to it


  8. Marisela Zuniga says:

    Light of mine sounds very good, great interview


  9. MsRedK says:

    Thank you for sharing your interview with Christy, that was fun! I’ve read the book and really loved it!
    Cindi Knowles


  10. slehan says:

    My niece would like this book.
    Thanks for the contest.


  11. Marisela Zuniga says:

    That’s interesting about you writing better after getting your nails done!


  12. Debbie P says:

    This sounds like a great story.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s