Kim Louise Clarke lives in Calgary with her husband Ian, and they have two adult children, Hannah and Philip. Kim also has three stepsons and four grandchildren. She has a Bachelor of Religious Education from Prairie College (Prairie Bible Institute). Her minor was in missions and she spent two months in Thailand on a short-term mission trip.
Prior to writing, Kim’s work experience has always been about assisting others. She has been an accountant assistant in the oil and gas industry, a stay-at-home mom assisting her children, a church administrative assistant, and an assistant manager at a seniors housing apartment. She still considers herself someone who assists, by assisting people to see God in the words she writes. That is her hope and desire.
Kim’s writing journey began in her early fifties. After reading a couple of mystery novels and deciding that she could do better, Kim began exploring the craft. This led her to join the InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and a group called Calgary Crime Writers.
The French Collection is Kim’s first published book, and it was shortlisted for the 2015 Women’s Journey of Faith Publishing Contest in partnership with Word Alive Press. She has also had several short articles published, including two essays in The Globe and Mail and two articles in InScribe’s FellowScript magazine.
Q: What is The French Collection about?
A: It is a devotional book based on the story of my vacation in Paris, where I spent six days on my own before meeting up with my daughter for another three days. Many moments during my Paris vacation stand out for me, and it is those moments that I have written my devotionals around.
Q: What led you to write a devotional about your time in Paris?
A: I enjoyed combining my interest in travel, history, and Scripture. Discovering the history of Paris using my own spiritual journey was a fun way to write about God. I hope to point the reader to Christ in a way that is interesting and not so predictable.
Q: Have the recent terrorist attacks in Paris affected your writings?
A: When Paris was enduring the terrorist attacks in November, I was involved with the final edits of my manuscript, where I wrote about walking so carefree through the Paris streets and sitting peacefully in dozens of cafés. Suddenly my yet-to-be-published book felt disturbingly outdated. As for many other people, it was unbelievably painful to watch the news coverage. The one thing I could do was pray for France and specifically for those families so terribly affected. As much as I love Paris and feel at home there, I was reminded how the world is not our true home. The only safe place is in Christ, even though this does not necessarily mean our lives will be spared here on earth.
Q: What do you hope readers will get out of your book?
A: My hope is that readers will be encouraged to see Christ in their moments. I hope they will simply enjoy the vacation story, the humour, and the history. I also hope some readers will be encouraged to venture out to places like Paris, because the world God created is a marvellous, multifaceted place and He is supreme over it all.
Q: You mentioned that you looked into writing a mystery novel. What became of that?
A: The mystery genre doesn’t seem to flow very easily for me. I keep wanting someone to tell me what happens next, even just a few hints, so that I can run madly with some fresh ideas, infusing them with wonderful words. But there is only me and a blank wall with no post-it notes on it. I still like the premise of the bits of novel I’ve worked on, but the mysterious fragmented story—a year’s work—still sleeps on the shelf. Who knows, perhaps someday! In the meantime, I’ve learned to see the writer of the mystery novel in a whole new light, and appreciate the immense amount of work that goes into crafting one.
Q: What advice would you give to a writer just starting out?
A: Jot down your ideas as soon as they come to mind, because they are fleeting, usually disappearing as quickly as they come. If this hasn’t happened to you yet, it will, so you could start practicing this for your later years. Also, associating with other writers, right from the start, is one of the best ways to grow as a writer. You can get a grasp on the things that matter to you, connect to endless resources, and of course develop great friendships.
Q: Any other thoughts?
A: This book is about going somewhere believing that God is with you. And I want to keep stepping out into the world despite the unsettledness and evil that exists. We are to live in Christ without fear—to travel about in our city, country, and world, wherever it is that God leads us. I hope people won’t barricade themselves in their houses, neighbourhoods, or “fortress” cities. I hope they will still travel the world. We are not called to stop living. We are called to be lights in a dark world, being visible with Christ’s love to all people, everywhere.
You can visit the author’s website at kimlouiseclarke.com
The French Collection will be available for purchase in February, 2016.
Kim Louise Clarke lives in Calgary with her husband. They have two adult children. Kim has a Bachelor of Religious Education Degree from Prairie Bible Institute and is a member of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship. The French Collection is her first book.