We are pleased to introduce Chris Karuhije, the author of We Were Royal Refugees which won the 2017 Free Publishing Contest’s Non-Fiction category. The book is now available for pre-order! We asked Chris to share a little bit about himself, his book, and his writing process
Q: Why did you decide to write this book?
A: There are a few reasons, but one of the most important ones was that I wanted to pass on the lineage of faith to my twin daughters, London and Kyleigh. My father was martyred twenty-one years before they were born, and my mother just a few months before we knew we were pregnant. Being monoamniotic twins, it was an extremely sensitive pregnancy and at first they were only given a fifty percent survival rate. When they were born, we came within five minutes of losing at least one of them, but God intervened. So I wanted them to understand that not only do they have a great purpose on Earth, but that the same God who saved them has also been at work in their grandparents’ and parents’ lives before them.
Q: Why did you settle on the title We Were Royal Refugees?
A: A few weeks before my mother passed away, she had an interesting conversation with my younger brother, Ben. That conversation became the reason for the title, as well as the entire foundation of the book. Ben was thanking her that amidst everything she’d done for us in bringing us out of the chaos and carnage of Rwanda, she and my father never made us feel that we were less than anyone else. Even in the middle of so much prejudice, slander, and violence, we always felt like we were royalty. To that, my mother replied, “That is what I have always wanted.”
I love this verse from Acts: I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. (Acts 10:34–35, NIV). Whether you’re from Canada or Africa, whether you’re black or white, refugee or resident, God shows no favouritism and gives each of us access to His goodness, grace, and power. So regardless of our status, we are still children of God. Therefore, we are royalty.
Q: What aspect of the writing did you find most challenging?
A: Besides the regular challenges that authors, especially first-time authors, face (mental fatigue, discouragement, fear of failure) was the extensive research into the darkness of the Rwandan genocide. Although the end result is grace and inspiration, We Were Royal Refugees has chapters that are violent and uncomfortable to read because of the nature of the content. There were times when I wept over my laptop, partly out of compassion for what my people went through and partly out of gratitude for what my family did not go through. I remember expressing to my Instagram followers how hard it was to include much of what I placed in the book, and their support and encouragement meant a lot to me.
Q: What advice do you have for first-time authors?
A: The biggest thing for me was learning to hear the voice of God and be led by His Spirit. The enemy will wage war on your heart and mind in the hopes of causing you to procrastinate or quit altogether. I found it a huge advantage to remind myself of where and when God spoke to me about writing. I also discovered that God prepares you for the massive undertakings He gives you. So learn to write down what He says to you, and meditate on any verse that encourages you. The sword of the Spirit truly is the Word of God, and when you place it in your mouth and speak it against the onslaught of negativity that comes your way, you will find yourself getting stronger, smarter, and more inspired.
Q: What upcoming projects are you working on?
A: With two young daughters, and another child on the way, I’ve been looking into children’s books and how to gently and lovingly translate the wonderful thoughts, songs, and poems found in Psalms and Proverbs into words suitable for toddlers and young children. And because we walked through it, my wife and I have also discussed a project to encourage parents with children born in the NICU, in walking by faith and believing for the impossible in the midst of fear and uncertainty.
Pre-order your copy of We Were Royal Refugees here
Chris Karuhije is a former refugee who miraculously escaped the 1994 Rwanda genocide. His story of survival, purpose, and forgiveness is both intense and inspiring and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
He and his wife, Kristy, are parents of twin girls, London Kate and Kyleigh Anne, who were born three and a half months premature but miraculously survived. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he serves on the pastoral team for Coastal Church.
Chris can be reached through his website at www.christopherkaruhije.com