Kathi Macias and Susan Wales are California girls with a passion for telling stories, so it seemed like fate when they connected to write co-write this stunning inspirational historical novel about “lost love, torn loyalties…and a dangerous faith.” Now the authors share a look behind the scenes at the making of Valeria's Cross.
Susan: A southerner by birth, I consider myself a great storyteller and an incurable romantic, but as a writer, editing always presents a challenge for me. When I met Kathi, a renowned writer/editor, in several writer/speaker groups, and she suggested that we collaborate on a book, it sounded like a match made in heaven! I was intrigued when she invited me to lunch to chat about project possibilities.
Kathi: Like Susan, I am an avid storyteller. When I realized how much we had in common, I began considering ideas that might lay a foundation for a mutual book. One day, as I was re-reading Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, the story of the Theban Legion, 6600 valiant Christian warriors who fought under the pagan Emperor Diocletian in third-century Rome, jumped out at me. When Diocletian, the greatest Christian persecutor who has ever lived, commanded the Thebans to sacrifice to pagan gods, all 6600 went to their death rather than deny Christ. I couldn’t believe their story hadn’t already been told in novel or movie, but I was excited to think that perhaps Susan and I could be the ones to tell it.
Susan: As Kathi began to share her vision for the Thebans’ story, I stopped her. “Guess where I’ve just been⎯Diocletian’s palace in Split, Croatia, and other places pertinent to the story!” At that moment, we both felt that God had ordained us to tell this story. Since nothing was recorded about the personal life of the young Theban leader, Mauritius, I told Kathi, “We’ll have to fabricate a romantic interest for him.” Then I recalled that Diocletian’s wife, Prisca, and daughter, Valeria, were reputedly devout Christians. “Valeria?” I suggested.
Kathi: I loved Susan’s idea but pointed out that Valeria lived in Turkey and Mauritius in Egypt. “How do you propose to bring the young lovers together?”
Susan: A perfect example of what a great editor Kathi is! I assured her I would find a way. A few days later I discovered that Diocletian also had a palace in Elephantine that was just across the Nile from the Thebans. Tweaking a few facts and dates, we were off and running on Valeria’s Cross.
Kathi: Research has never been my passion, though I’ve learned to do it out of necessity. Susan, however, loves it—and does it marvelously well. She carried the lion’s share of the research for this project, as well as the basic story development, while I served as “finesse writer” because of my extensive writing and editing experience. The result was a smooth partnership and a book that we are both humbled and proud to have co-authored.
You can pick up your own copy of Macias and Wales' Inspirational historical romance, Valeria’s Cross, in stores now.