The Beloved Daughter – An Interview with Alana Terry

Alana Terry
Alana Terry

Kia Ora! That’s a huge kiwi welcome to Alana Terry, author of The Beloved Daughter. I first met Alana, who hails from Alaska, through ReGi McClain’s blog, where I discovered that she is not only a hugely talented writer but a super-homeschooling-Mom with an incredible sense of humour. She runs her own business and has already written a memoir about her son Silas (a miracle child indeed) and a children’s book entitled What, No Sushi.

The Beloved Daughter is her latest release, and is a christian inspirational novel set in North Korea, which placed second in the Women of Faith writing competition and has been nominated for book of the month at The Book Club Network website (you’ve still got a few days to vote for her). However if you ask her about herself, she’s much more modest – check out her bio:

When I’m not blogging and writing, it’s likely that I’m on the floor wrestling with my kids. Or playing outside with my kids. Or chauffeuring my kids. Or leading clubs and day camps for homeschoolers (including my kids). Otherwise I’m probably hanging out at church with a whole bunch of teenagers and my youth-pastor husband.

(But I’m probably not cooking or cleaning.)

(That’s my kind of person)!

Alana is also one of the WIPpeteers – regular contributors to the WIPpet Wednesday blog-hop run by K.L. Schwengel. So for sneak previews into her new projects check out her blog Lightly Salted.

Although this blog initially had an epic-fantasy focus, I’ve decided to broaden the scope. Like Kate Frost (in her guest-post earlier this week) I also read across the genres, and Alana’s book is one of those special books that I had to share with you all.

The Beloved Daughter is the story of Chung-Cha, a young girl who is sent to a North Korean prison camp for her family’s faith. It’s a heart-wrenching subject which really opened my eyes to the harsh realities faced by people all over the world.

Writing with great sensitivity and restraint, Alana weaves a beautiful tale about the grace and mercy of God, even in the most horrific trials. Although Chung-Cha’s faith is shaken, and she is mistreated awfully, this is truly a story about hope and finding a purpose in brokeness. I have to admit there was one part of the book that literally had me in tears, I was so moved. So I’m absolutely thrilled to have an opportunity to ask Alana some questions about The Beloved Daughter.

What inspired you to write The Beloved Daughter?

I’ve always been passionate about religious freedom and human rights. Since North Korea is such an offender in both fronts, I guess it just always stood out to me.

Your main character, Chung-Cha faces many terrible trials through out the story, that you portray with great sensitivity. What was the hardest part about writing Chung Cha’s story? What was the most rewarding?

The hardest part was definitely the research. I based a lot of the characters and the trials that they went through on real stories gleaned from real defectors. There were so many points during the research process that I just wanted to bury my head and shut my ears. The most rewarding was seeing the story finally come together at the end, to wrap up Chung-Cha’s story and have a final product I hoped would encourage and inspire others.

I for one, was certainly encouraged and inspired by Chung-Cha’s story – but I must admit I wasn’t really aware of the types of persecution christian believers faced in North Korea. Did you know much about it before you began your research? What was the most surprising detail you uncovered during your research?

I’ve paid close attention to stories of Christian persecution since I was teenager and read the book Jesus Freaks which highlights the stories of contemporary and historical martyrs. I was definitely disgusted by some of the things I learned, but not surprised. One story really jumped out at me though. It was the story of a woman who was forced to stand on tiptoe on a gallows for several days. The idea was that eventually she would get too tired and hang herself. Right before her strength gave way on the second or third night, lightning struck the rope and she was saved. I ended up working this story into The Beloved Daughter.

It’s probably the most “bizarre” event that happens in my novel, but it’s actually based on a true story!

I was really touched by that part of the story (that character was hugely inspirational too) – even more so now I know it’s based on true story.

As a busy Mum who homeschools and runs your own business, can you share your tips on how you balance a busy life and still find the time to write?

I definitely have to set aside time when I know I’m not going to write, or else nothing else gets accomplished! Ideally, I write during nap time and in the evenings once the kids are in bed. I often fudge, but that gives me time in the morning with my kids and time in the afternoons for our homeschool clubs. I don’t really hold myself to this schedule strictly, but it’s kind of my guideline.

Flexibility is a must when you’re a writing Mama. Honestly you are a huge inspiration!

You’ve already written a non-fiction and children’s stories, were there any notable differences writing in another genre?

Obviously, I can’t go into the heavy kinds of things I write about in The Beloved Daughter in a kids book, but even my kids historical fiction series touches on oppression (like the Japanese-American internment camps during World War Two). I like how in a kids book I can just wrap it all up with a nice bow and give everyone a happy ending. That doesn’t happen necessarily all the time in the books I write for adults. I think my kids series gives me a nice break from the heavy things I write about in books like The Beloved Daughter and its followup, which I’m working on now.

Thanks so much Alana for sharing! I would highly recommend The Beloved Daughter, and suggest you pick up a copy from Amazon or from Alana’s blog.

The Beloved Daughter
The Beloved Daughter
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10 thoughts on “The Beloved Daughter – An Interview with Alana Terry

  1. I would certainly second that, Raewyn, about highly recommending The Beloved Daughter. A great interview and Alana it was really interesting to find out more about the book and some of the stories that inspired it.

    1. Thanks Kate – I feel surrounded by really talented writers at the moment. I’m really encouraged to keep chasing my own dreams when I see what others are acheiving!

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