Interview with Abigail Follows, Author of 'Hidden Song of the Himalayas'

 Aug 9, 2021

I was privileged to invite Author Abigail Follows for an interview to discuss her latest book Hidden Song of the Himalayas. Enjoy!


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What's your book about, and what inspired you to write it?

Hidden Song of the Himalayas is a memoir about the seven years my family and I spent as missionaries in North India. My husband and I were really still newlyweds when we left, and we had a baby within our first year in the field. If that sounds intense... it was! The whole seven years were intense. We faced sickness, injury, and stress. I personally wrestled with God daily, asking a lot of truly difficult questions. Not the least of which was how we could explain the gospel in a way that was relevant and meaningful to a people group very different from us.


I wanted to write this book because of God's interaction with me personally during our service. He met me where I was and used our difficulties to answer my questions. Not only that, but He proved Himself to me. He showed me that even if He brings me to the brink of everything I know, He will always be there waiting on the other side. He'll catch my fall. Particularly when He asks me to do things "I can't do." He can, and does, empower us to face harder challenges than we think we're capable of handling.

Who is your target audience, and why do you think this book will appeal to them?
First of all, people who are trying to live their lives in a way that pleases God. They might have hard questions for God; they might need a little inspiration and encouragement in their journey with God; they might not know what to do next; but ultimately, they want to be a part of God's plans.

I've really bared my heart in this story--so much so that sometimes I feel a bit overexposed now--but I'm so glad I was honest about my doubts, fears, and difficulties. Many people have written to tell me that my personal spiritual journey gave them encouragement. And seeing the way God came through, even by modern-day miracles, can give us hope to keep trying.

My second target audience would be anyone interested in missions or evangelism. I deal with a lot of practical questions on how we as Christians can be a blessing in our communities, so I think that anyone in a ministry context, or supporting someone in a ministry context, would find our story interesting.

What message do you wish to pass across to your readers with this book?
I hope my readers come away with the sense that God exists, His plans are awesome, and it's worth any cost to follow Him. I also want people to know that missions can be done in a way that is redeeming rather than demeaning.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Getting started! Since the day we left India, I felt impressed that I needed to write our story. But I couldn't even look at pictures of India that whole first year after we left. Finally, I forced myself to open up our computer and look at them--I looked at thousands in the space of just a few hours. I had a good, long cry to grieve what I left behind and celebrate my experiences and relationships in India. After that, I was finally ready to write.

As a writer, is there anything you've learned about yourself while writing this book?
I learned that I really can get up at 5:30am. :) Most of my writing was done in the early mornings, before my kids were awake. I thought that would be impossible, since I'm a total night owl. But I prayed about it, and God sent me a kitten who had the habit of waking up early and pouncing me. Thank You, Lord!

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books, and why?  
I prefer reading paperback books rather than ebooks. I find them more comfortable for my eyes, and I just enjoy the whole experience of holding a book.

What is your niche genre, and if you were to write in a different genre, what would it be?
The niche of this book is Christian memoir. I'd also be interested in writing middle-grade Christian novels. There might be something in the works for that niche soon.

What books and authors have most influenced you?
Anne Lamott is so honest and funny. I also love anything written by June Strong.

But I grew up reading as much as I could get my hands on, so I'm sure I've been influenced in small ways by all the books I've read.

Is there anything you'd like readers to know about you?
I never thought I could handle being a missionary, and briefly considered breaking up with my then-boyfriend when he said he felt God was calling him to overseas missions. God had a lot of work to do to change my heart; thankfully, He's good at that.

Do you have any more books in the works?
Yes! I am working with my friend's father to write about his experiences escaping certain death under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. He eventually found himself in a refugee camp, where he became a Christian after Jesus appeared to him in a vision. I'm really excited about the project and praying I'll be able to tell his story well.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
So far, yes. :) I try to be like Jesus and not care too much what people think. But in reality, I feel like I'm going to die if I get a bad review, and like I've been given a new car when I get a good one. After those feelings fade, however, I try to mine reviews for anything that will help make my writing better. What are people resonating with? What is helpful, and what isn't? If something helps me improve my craft, it's a blessing.

๐—ฆ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐Ÿฏ ๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜ /๐—ณ๐˜‚๐—ป ๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚:
- I'm allergic to cold (literally) but I love swimming in lakes anyway
- My husband and I like to play guitar together
- As a child, I used to cry in sympathy at the end of the song, "Ten in the Bed," when the little one was lonely.

How can readers get in touch with or follow you (website, personal blog, social media handle, Goodreads)?
www.abigailfollows.com



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Abigail Follows has lived on three continents and understood the life stories of friends in three languages. She has been a cross-cultural missionary for 11 years. Abigail lives wherever God leads with her husband, two children, and cat, Protagonist. Hidden Song of the Himalayas is her first book. To learn more, visit www.abigailfollows.com.


BIPOC Authors in Canada

July 1, 2021

Today, Canada Day, I choose to reflect on and celebrate BIPOC authors in Canada by showcasing a few amazing fiction books on my bookshelf written by them๐Ÿงก

These authors have used their works as tools to showcase their beautiful cultures, but also as voices that bring awareness to, and fight against, overwhelming issues such as systemic racism, discrimination, and loss of identity that continue to threaten the BIPOC communities, cultures, and identities in Canada.

I can't deny the love for the Canada of today that I call home, but long before it was mine, it was the rightful home of the Indigenous peoples, and our nation still has a long way to go in owning up to past mistakes, especially given the recent painful discovery of mass unmarked graves of Indigenous children at residential school sites across Canada.

It's imperative that we start doing better in righting wrongs and making concrete efforts to eradicate racism & discrimination, among other issues still deeply entrenched within the system, and I sincerely hope for a more united and equal-opportunities nation in the months and years to come๐Ÿงก

If you haven't read any of the featured books, I really recommend you do๐Ÿ”ฅ

๐Ÿ’ฅ The Book of Negros (Historical, colonialism, social issues)
๐Ÿ’ฅ The Marrow Thieves (Dystopian, social issues, Indigenous)
๐Ÿ’ฅ Frying Plantain (short stories, social issues)
๐Ÿ’ฅ The Break (Thriller, social issues, Indigenous)
๐Ÿ’ฅ Gutter Child (Dystopian, colonialism, social issues)
๐Ÿ’ฅ The Boat People (immigration, social issues)

She Came to Slay - Book Review

June 19, 2021 



Today, June 19th, we celebrate the anniversary of the freedom of the enslaved Blacks from slavery and oppression.

What better way to celebrate this day than to talk about Harriet Tubman, the American abolitionist who escaped slavery and managed to bring over 70 enslaved folks, including her parents and siblings, to Canada, on foot.

'She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman', written by Historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar, is an informative biography that details the life of Harriet Tubman in a way it's never been heard or read before, narrating her time as a slave, her escape, and her resilience to free her people.

This woman was bold, ambitious, resilient. She would let nothing stop her, not even her bouts of seizures that came on her randomly and left her unconscious for hours. These seizures began when she had a hard hit on her head that cracked her skull and left her bleeding and almost dead. She was left to die with no aid or help, and in spite of her injuries, she was still expected to continue her duties as a slave to her owner. Through all of that, she survived, pushed on, held on to her faith, and determined to get out of the evil bondage called slavery.

She managed to escape all the way to Canada, with the help of the Underground Railroad (a secret network of abolitionlists), and after settling herself, she made plans to return for her folks, for she felt her freedom meant little if the rest of her family and black folks were still enslaved. She felt she had been called by God to free her people from slavery, so she went back. Back and forth she traveled, on foot, and came back to Canada with more free black folks.

Harriet became the first woman -- black or white -- to plan and lead an armed military expedition during the civil war. She was a spy, an advocate, and a suffrage.

If activists and abolitionists like Harriet hadn't pushed back against slavery and, years later, against segregation, slavery would likely still have continued until this day, and blacks and whites would still have been brazenly separated today.

Harriet was a true inspiration, and she cannot be talked about enough. She is known as the Moses of her day, literally freeing her people from Pharaohs and advocating for their rights.

Indeed, Harriet Tubman ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ด๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜บ.

Happy Juneteenth๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ”ฅ