Friday, October 12, 2012

Kim Tews - Tears Water the Seeds of Hope - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
I believe that when our hearts are broken over the suffering and injustice we witness, we are compelled to take action to incite change. The title is referenced several times within the book’s true accounts of the heartbreaking situations we encounter. The following quote from the book illustrates the meaning of the title.

“We missed Randy as we huddled behind the building with a sense of heartbroken helplessness. But then it occurred to me that, had God not brought us to this horrible scene of human suffering, He could not have convicted us to serve Him in this place. The tears we cried would soon water the seeds of hope that would change the future for children like Elias.”

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My hope is that the reader will come to believe that ordinary people can make a difference. The book describes the need in the world as God’s relay race on which we each have different but important batons to carry. The power of the cumulative effect of all who carry batons is cause for hope. The following is a quote from Chapter 3 where we reflect on our limitations as we choose two villages to receive drinking water systems, leaving other deserving villages to wait for future sponsors.

“The feeling of joy we felt was diminished by this dilemma, which would become a struggle for us for the rest of our lives. How does one decide to help some and not others when the lives and health of so many are at risk…?

…It would soon become imperative that we continually remind ourselves that God does not expect any of us to heal the entire world. He knows our limitations better than we do and only lays before us those tasks which He deems us capable of carrying out. He then helps and guides us, equipping us with the courage, resources and faith to make a difference for those within our reach.”

3. How much of the book is realistic?
Although we often found ourselves in disbelief over the situations we encountered and the adventure we were living, every story is told exactly as it played out in real life.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
The hardest part about writing the book was reliving the emotionally challenging moments and the feelings of inadequacy in the face of the tremendous need. It was also difficult being honest about questioning my faith. I wanted the book to be uplifting and fun to read so I included humorous situations and many stories of inspiring victories. Those were the most fun to write.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part about writing the book was reliving the emotionally challenging moments and the feelings of inadequacy in the face of the tremendous need. It was also difficult being honest about questioning my faith. I wanted the book to be uplifting and fun to read so I included humorous situations and many stories of inspiring victories. Those were the most fun to write.

6. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have never really been interested in writing. We have accumulated twelve years of stories and adventures that, when told, leave people laughing and crying and declaring that we have lived a novel. I just decided to write it all down one day.

7. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I enjoyed Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin because the story is written on a personal level and includes details of Mortenson’s life and personality not related to his mission to build schools. This enables the reader to relate to him as a person and understand that those with a mission to change the world are not necessarily superheroes, but rather, passionate souls, often ill-equipped and under-resourced, but determined to become a champion for their cause. I have written Tears Water the Seeds of Hope in the same style in order to illustrate that we all have quirks and inadequacies and that is what makes us human and often hilarious.

“Prior to leaving home, we had been advised to bring a mosquito net, which was our saving grace. The cement block walls of the room were covered with black grime, and cockroaches scurried busily around the floor’s perimeter. Spiders, army ants and mosquitoes would also be our roommates that night. The mattress was filthy and the pillows reeked of mold. We prayed for peace and fortitude and a coma-like sleep with the knowledge that, although we were creeped out to the max, we were basically safe. The next morning we awoke to find a buzzing creature the size of a golf ball circling our mosquito net tent. We both lay frozen, afraid to leave the safety of the mesh barrier for fear of being stung by this potentially poisonous hovercraft. But we knew we could not cower there all day, since Carol and a much- needed breakfast were waiting. I am not permitted to disclose which of us eventually had the courage to emerge from the tent and shoo the creature out the door.” 

8. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would wish I could meet each one personally and express my gratitude for his or her interest in the book. I hope that through the book readers will get to know Randy and me as ordinary people and be encouraged to believe in themselves and follow their dreams. Through the stories it will become evident that each of us has the power to change the world.

About the Book

The setting sun painted a backdrop of cotton candy pink clouds over the roadside bar and grill where we would soon hear our favorite acoustic guitar duo sing Jimmy Buffet songs. It was an idyllic Wisconsin summer night late in June of 2005. Under normal circumstances, I would have enjoyed the warm breeze and the glow of the festive colored tiki lights on the outdoor deck with the sense of carefree recreation that midwestern families enjoy when school is out and the days are longer. Randy shook his head, smiling as our two daughters took turns throwing harmless jabs at one another, each laughing hysterically at her own jokes. I felt as if I were watching the scene from a distance, fighting back tears as my mind returned to the children I had seen two days earlier in a squalid hospital in drought and famine-stricken eastern Guatemala—a scene that would change me forever and wreck me once and for all for the relentless pursuit of the American Dream. I was haunted by the forlorn faces of two children whose hopeless situation had laid the framework for the rest of my life.

The severely starved two-year-old boy was scarcely more than skin and bones. Hair was a luxury his body could not afford, as the nutrients available to him were barely enough to keep his vital organs functioning. His face was sunken and pale, the outline of his ribs and spine clearly visible through his thin layer of skin. He had been carried by his barefooted ten-year-old sister from El Volcancito, their remote mountain village several miles away, into the small town of Jocotan, in hopes that his life could be saved. The mother of the children was bedridden with a debilitating illness for which she could not afford treatment. My heart broke as much for the boy, barely hanging on and suffering miserably, as for the young girl, exhausted and saddled with the crushing responsibility of keeping her baby brother alive.

A frail little girl sat weeping on a tattered bench at the entrance to the facility, her body emaciated and her abdomen severely bloated, revealing the presence of parasites within her weak, trembling frame. She had been brought to the hospital for nutritional rehabilitation, and because she was four years old, and her mother had two smaller children to care for at home, she had been left alone. Lidia could not have understood why she had been left behind by her family in this unfamiliar place. She had been sitting on the bench since early morning waiting for them to return. In her hand she clutched what was probably her only toy, a comfort and reminder of home. The lump in my throat returned each time I recalled opening her tiny hand to find that she held a black plastic vulture.

Randy and I were married in May of 1993. During our early years together, we were blessed with two beautiful daughters and were pursuing careers in real estate, climbing the ranks among our colleagues in terms of sales volume. We purchased an enormous house on four acres, and although it was only four years old, we completely remodeled it to suit our tastes. With luxury vehicles and an ever-increasing income, we were living the American Dream. There was much to be thankful for, but something was missing.

Genre: Memoir-Narrative Nonfiction
Pages: 240
Release Date: September 10, 2012
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

About the Author

Kim Tews was raised in Madison, Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in Economics. She and husband, Randy, pursued careers in real estate before beginning mission work together in Ecuador, South America in 2001. In 2005 they established the 501 (c) 3 non-profit Outreach for World Hope to save the lives of starving children in eastern Guatemala. The couple lives in Verona, Wisconsin with their three children, traveling back and forth to Guatemala frequently to facilitate the ongoing programs of Outreach for World Hope.

Links to connect with Kim:
Web site

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  1. Thank you for posting my author interview. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to connect with your readers. I appreciate your participation in my book tour!
    Kim Tews

  2. You're very welcome, Kim! I'm glad I was able to connect with Lori and participate in your tour. And thanks Teena as well for stopping by.