Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Getting to know Shannon Van Roekel

Shannon Van Roekel has brought her missions experience to her latest novel, Desert Fire. How she finds time to write as a homeschooling mother of five is beyond me :) Maybe there is insight below!

Enjoy getting to know Shannon:~

If you could have chosen your own name, what would it be?

Brook. My mom always told me that Shannon was the name of a river in Ireland and my middle name, Lea, means a meadow. She told me my name means “a refreshing brook flowing through a meadow”. So I would choose Brook. Same thing, just more to the point.

Your first pet's name?

9 Miles Long.(It was a kitten born under our mobile home up North in BC. So I thought it would be clever to name the cat after how long the mobile was. Except I was too young to get the concept--obviously!)

Your best friend's name in primary (elementary) school?


We used to pretend we were princesses who lived in her apple tree and feasted at whim on yummy green apples!

Did you have a special toy that went everywhere with you when you were young?

There was a very small, pinky-grey, well worn teddy I loved as a small child. One day on a long road trip I dropped him out the car window. My father stopped the car and went to look for him but could not find him.

If you could meet a famous person, who would it be?

CS Lewis

Or if it has to be someone current, John Piper.

If you were stranded on a desert island what one object would you want with you? (Besides your Bible of course)

A big fat journal and a pen (oops! That's two)

What's your favourite ice cream flavour?

Caramel pecan.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A bride. This never changed, my mother tells me, until I was 12.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Fiji or Tahiti

Your favourite lollies (candy)?

Sour keys

Besides God, who has influenced you the most?

CS Lewis

What's your favourite book?

The Bible. Then The Narnia series.

What part of your daily routine do you enjoy most?

Reading out loud to my two teenage homeschooling boys.

Where's the most interesting place you have been?

Florence, Italy. So much art and history. I love David.

What's your favourite movie?

Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant

Scrapbooking, drawing or cooking?


Lost, The Mentalist, 24 or Castle?

I have never seen an episode of any of them.

What's your most fervent prayer?

The Lord's Prayer

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

Besides raising five kids, I'd have to say back-packing through Europe for 3 months when I was 17.

What gift have you received that you will always treasure?

A ruby ring from my husband

What is your favourite Bible verse (or "one" of your favourites) and what does it mean to you?

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:

Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds' feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.”

-Habukkuk 3:17-19

To me this is the great antidote to life and all its ups and downs. If you make the Lord, Himself, your greatest joy, then no matter how bad it gets (or how good) you will be secure in Him.

Could you ask each of your children to share one thing they love about you?

Brandt (22 yrs)-“Your heart of compassion for those who are spiritually needy.”

Holly (20 yrs)- “You're romantic.”

Danielle (19 yrs)- "I love the way we dance together in the kitchen to rock music"

Kieran (16 yrs)-“For loving me for so long.”

Zachary (15 yrs)- “You love everybody.”

Desert Fire

Desert Fire shines a spotlight on the genocide that continues to occur in the Sudan ~ what prompted you to write about this tragedy?

A relative of mine is a field researcher in Sudan and was sending out long e-letters to everyone he knew trying to raise awareness about what was happening in Darfur. The media was not touching it at that time, so when I decided I wanted to write a book I thought it would be neat if I could write a story interesting for its own sake, but that would keep people reading through the information and harsh reality of Darfur, and, hopefully, move them to compassion and prayer for the people there.

Please describe each of your characters with one word

Julia- activist

Joel- worldly

Dave- Teddy-bear

Kelly- loving

Fred Keegan- forgiven

Peter Kuanen- comforted

Steve O'Hara- joyful

Aunt Rose- prayer-warrior

Your book highlights the reluctance of the West to get involved in Darfur ~ do you think that has changed at all?

Not at all. In fact, since the Obama administration has been in power the sanctions and restrictions on Sudan have softened, if anything.

What was your favourite scene to write?

The scene where Joel visits Aunt Rose for the first time and finds her working in her dahlia garden.

I loved writing about Steve O'Hara's joy and confidence in the goodness of God.

What do you hope readers take away from this story?

Prayer is a powerful way to bring God's light to a situation and God's light always dispels the darkness.

What is in your writing pipeline? A sneak peek, please?

The based on truth sequel to “Desert Fire” takes Julia to Asia where she discovers Christian Asians who have been enduring genocide by their government for 60 years. Amazingly, in the midst of this battle zone, she discovers ancient prophecies and fulfillments embedded in this culture and contemporary heroes of our faith who embody the courage and boldness of Joseph, Daniel and Paul.

Of course, Joel is a main player in this story, but a life-altering situation has conspired to keep them from finding true love with each other…whether they can overcome it or not is for you to find out when you read it!

Thanks so much, Shannon, for sharing. I'm looking forward to Julia's trip to Asia :)

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Desert Fire

Visit Shannon's website and blog

Buy Shannon's book at Amazon or Koorong


remnant reminscences said...

I love Desert Fire! Thanks so much for this interview! I'm so excited that Julia and Joel's story will continue! Thank you for writing on such a tough subject. Although I was somewhat aware of the horrific situation in Sudan, it really opened my eyes...

Karina said...

I love your review and your very interesting interview with the author, also a dear friend of mine :) This book is a great read! I highly recommend it too.


Ann Shorey said...

This sounds like a fascinating book. I know Shannon through a writer's group to which we both belong, and admire her focus and dedication to her subject.

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