The Hidden by Kathryn Mackel

This is a good book. It is not edge of your seat suspense... it is more kick your feet up and forget to go to bed. The plot moves in a fairly fast pace with several surprising twists. And the mystery is absorbing. I have a couple of theological questions, but I can't ask them or I'd spoil the book for you. I'd never do that!

A dark ravine. A fiery death. An unimaginable secret. Some things are best left hidden.
Grieving her son's death, psychiatrist Susan Stone returns home to Colorado to help her elderly father manage his horse-breeding business. After the botched delivery of a prized foal, Susan rides wildly into the mountains, seeking release from consuming guilt. Thrown from her horse, she tumbles into a dark ravine and makes a startling discovery--a young man, chained in the darkness.

I know this character Susan Stone. You have probably met her, too. She's grieving alone and truly stubborn about it... and has no room for God in her scientific mind. Boy, does God have a plan for her! If you like mysteries, you'll like this book.

I believe you would like Kathryn, too. She has written screenplays for Fox, Disney and Showtime. She worked on the screenwriting team for Leftbehind: The Movie as well as Frank Peretti's Hangman's Curse. She describes herself as, "a middle-aged mom in Hollywood." Her story is amazing! On her website under her bio she states:

Bottom line: The month I turned 45 I sold my first book out of the
slush pile. The editor told me it was a million-to-one shot that they bought
something out of the slush pile. Three weeks later I sold my first
screenplay—out of the Hollywood equivalent of the slush pile. The studio
exec told me that it was a million-to-one shot that they bought something
that way.

You do the math. It adds up to impossible.
Because the truth is this: only God could send a middle-aged mom to Hollywood.
And He’s kept me busy ever since. Each day is a blessing, each year another

I know it's true! It is never too late for God's plan to work in your life.

Kathryn graciously took time from her holiday to answer a couple of questions.

Gina: I have to ask… I looked, but didn’t find it on your website, how did you get the idea for The Hidden?

Kathryn: Because of my recent surgery (total hip replacement that, praise the Lord, is doing great!), I haven’t done the work to get The Hidden up on my website. My webmaster has been willing—the delay is all my fault!

I can’t be too specific as to where the idea for the book came from because I don’t want to give away the answer to who Jacob is and where he’s from. Which means I’ll have to be a bit of a tease because I got the idea from an obscure verse that appears in two of the smaller epistles of the New Testament. The same verse is key to the understanding of what is going on with Jacob but not until much later in the book.

That tease out of the way, I will say
The Hidden always involved Colorado and horses. At the time I first developed the story, I hadn’t ever been to Colorado. And I haven’t been on a horse since I was in college. Sometimes stories spring to life of their own accord, with their own locales and personalities—without an author having much to do with it!

I can say that while Rick Sanchez was always a character, the murders were a late addition. I felt I needed them to help sustain suspense while we waited for Susan to complete her unraveling and ride off into the mountains (where she finds Jacob). Sometimes authors construct plot elements to keep readers interested while we roll out the core of our stories!

Gina: I love how you weave your story with Faith and with Consequences. Could you tell us what you have learned about God while writing your books and how that has impacted your life?

Kathryn: Madeleine L’Engle once said, “The nature of Love is to create.” As a writer, I have the great privilege of tapping into that creative impulse that springs from being made in the image of God. That I can write about a God that is beyond anyone we can imagine and yet show his Love in the lives of people as sinful—and yet loved—as myself often takes my breath away. Even in my so-called “secular” books and movies, I seek God among the ruins of humanity and find joy when a character experiences the same impulse to goodness and righteousness that we can name as the heart of Christ.

Because I look for redemption every day in my writing, I’m learning more and more to look for God’s hand in all aspects of life. Sometimes my life is hard. Sometimes it’s messy. Sometimes what’s worse than a blank page is a page—or a day or a chunk of lifetime—filled with failure.

But more and more, I've learned that there’s nothing worse than turning away from that creative impulse and looking for the safe place. Like everyone else, I want to feel safe. But security is not among Christ’s provisions. (Provision is but safety is not.) Every day my life is a blank page that I’ve committed to the Lord for His authorship. If I don’t like the plot or the tone of His work in me, I need to muster the faith and courage to “read” on.

Now, gentle reader, is that not the best advice you could ever receive?

If you don't like the plot or the tone of God's work, muster the faith and courage to read on... It will be well worth it. That is a promise from God.

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