Today I am interviewing Elizabeth Forkey, author of the YA Christian thriller novel, Immaculate, second book and of the Infectious series.
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DJ: Hey Elizabeth! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Elizabeth Forkey: Thanks for having me! I’m a wife and mom of two sweet girls (one of them is fifteen so she’s sweet on and off) and I wear a lot of other hats as well. I’m a sugar artist and chocolate sculptor, a painter, and a nanny to the sweetest baby ever. I help lead worship at my church, and I help lead a Sunday school class. I also occasionally do some chainsaw carving…
DJ: What is Immaculate about? What can readers of the series expect in the latest installment? Anything new? Any surprises?
EF: IMMACULA†E is the second installment of Ivy’s story. Ivy has gotten herself into a lot of trouble and is in way over her head. There are some very big surprises that I won’t give away, but as always, Ivy’s story is an adventure that is guided by God’s gracious hand. As far away as she sometimes feels and as big as her trials get (she’s in some very deep doo-doo in IMMACULA†E), God is always right next to her, leading and protecting. IMMACULA†E is a Young Adult love story, and Tim and Matt are both incredible guys (for the longest time I wasn’t sure myself who she’d end up with), but ultimately the underlying theme of Ivy’s life and love is her relationship with her Creator. That’s the real love story.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters ? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
EF: Ivy’s a mess. That’s her best quality. She’s just so real. She isn’t a flawless beauty queen and she doesn’t always make good choices. She fails. She’s faithless. She’s impatient and gets herself out of God’s timing and plan. BUT life isn’t about our faithfulness. It’s about God’s faithfulness. No matter how many times Ivy messes up or has a crappy attitude or gets herself in terrible straits, God is there to walk her back out again. And Ivy loves Him. That’s her best and finest quality. She loves God. She loves when He comes to her rescue and she’s willing to admit she screwed up. She’s about as genuine as it gets.
Matt has some really big surprises for you in this book that you don’t want to miss. He’s hot, he’s funny, he’s mysterious, and he’s going to knock your socks off with some big stuff in IMMACULA†E.
Tim grows a lot in this book too. He isn’t at all the nerdy kid we met at the beginning of INFEC†IOUS. He’s the underlying rock in this book and he’s got a lot of mysteries of his own.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Immaculate?
EF: IMMACULA†E has been the easiest book in the series for me. It flew onto the pages. There is a lot of world building in this book. We see how they live on the outside and learn a lot about the culture of people that Ivy calls Zombies…. even though they aren’t really zombies. Ivy’s life is permanently changed in this book and there is no going back.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
EF: So many big things happen right at the end. Devastating things. Ivy’s crushed and the reader will be too. I think they’ll be wondering “How can this be fixed? Is Ivy going to be okay?” It’s a cliffhanger ending, but don’t worry! Book three, IMMANEN†, is almost finished. And I can assure you Ivy has a lot more love and adventure coming her way.
DJ: For readers that have not yet started the Infectious series, but are interested, what is the Infectious series about? Why should they check it out?
EF: I wrote INFEC†IOUS because I was sooooo tired of normal Christian fiction. We aren’t Amish! We aren’t prairie settlers! We want to read about real people in real, tough “today” situations and see how God is handling real emotions and real sins. We don’t live in the old days where everyone went to church except for the town drunk and we need to see our big God in action in our kind of world.
DJ: What were some of your influences for the Infectious series?
EF: My books are Twilight meets Left Behind meets The Walking Dead 🙂 How ’bout that for a combo!
DJ: What is the world of the Infectious series like?
EF: Great question. Ivy is living in Earth’s last days. The last seven years before God comes to judge and reign. It’s the darkest and most desperate of days that Earth has ever seen. Most people are covered in a terrible, leprosy-like disease and Pravda (the worldwide organization of scientists and doctors) is scrambling for a cure. Food is scare and people are doing the unthinkable like paying women to abort their babies for food and precious stem cells. Told you it was dark. In the Middle East the mystery of the Antichrist is brewing. God is pouring out curses on mankind, making our Mother Earth a less and less hospitable place. But there are pockets of light in the darkness and hope springs eternal.
DJ: What was your goal when you began writing the Infectious series? Is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across to readers when the story is finally told?
EF: Well, as I mentioned, my first goal was to write something that today’s girl would relate to and enjoy, thereby (hopefully) reviving the Christian fiction genre. My second goal as grown with the story. I’d say my biggest goal is that by the end of Ivy’s story, you will long to see Jesus face to face. That Heaven will sound like Heaven to you. That the cares and delights of this world will fade in comparison to the world that God has promised is coming for those who love Him.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes Immaculate that you can share with us?
EF: Here’s a few of my favorites 🙂
“I count the time by two kinds of dark. I feel like we’re in a cave. It is dark when I’m awake, and the cave smothers me with boredom and too much time to think. We have flashlights and a few lanterns, but we use them sparingly. When I’m sleeping, nightmares chase me through Toccoa’s burning streets. Masked faces grab at me and wrestle my friends away. We’ve been in the cave for five sessions of second guessing and hating myself and six heart-racing runs through zombie filled nightmares. So, 5 days and 6 nights.”
“Using precious batteries to light Aunty’s Bible, I search the old pages for something. I don’t know what really. Am I hoping to find a verse where God says, “Thou shalt stay in the cave until it is safe; and I will heal Thomas; and Matt will find life; and Tim will come back; and Harmony won’t hate you; and keep up the good work with Rosa?” Because as much as I look there isn’t anything that sounds at all like that.”
“God’s word is powerful. It goes out like a boomerang to touch people and then returns back to God. The Bible says that God’s word has never gone out to touch someone and returned without doing its job. It is power, and it is healing. It works on me again, like it has so many times before. The precious words weave through my wounds like a surgeon’s needle and thread. Painfully poking and stabbing at flesh, but then drawing together and curing. Tim’s faith-filled speech lays the balm on my infection. It isn’t all better, but the Doctor has tended to it; and, therefore, it must eventually heal.”
“It’s been ages since we’ve had a moment together. Matt’s arm around me, his closeness, does what it always does to me. Excitement and life break through the stone wall of depression in my heart and pour shivery anticipation over my chilly skin. I feel the blush on my cheeks, and I’m embarrassed at how flustered I always get whenever he’s near.”
Here’s one of my favorite excerpts:
Ivy, it’s cute that you don’t see yourself for what you really are, but I do.”
“And what am I Matt?” I don’t like being called a what.
“Ivy, Pravda is right. You probably are the cure to this whole thing.”
“What are you saying? You promised me you hated Pravda! Now you’re agreeing with them?”
Panic erupts in my empty stomach. Is he considering turning me in?
“I’m not going to let them have you,” he says with gentle firmness, “but they’re right. You are evolved somehow. The next step in evolution. You have power to give life to someone! They found it in your blood and they want what you have!”
“Oh my gosh, Matt. I don’t have crazy super powers. I’m not the missing link! God does stuff like that all the time. He’s the Giver of Life. Haven’t you ever read a Bible? God used His people to heal the sick all the time. I’m not the first follower of God to see Him bring someone back to life. This isn’t new! And the sad thing is, I think He did it for you. He showed Himself to you in one of the biggest ways He ever does, and you think I’m Lois Lane.”
“Lois Lane didn’t have super powers, Ivy. Superman did.”
Ok, one more excerpt!
The picturesque trail is etched between budding trees on one side and tall bushes that hide the babbling creek on the other. It’s so much more beautiful in the Spring. When I was here last, this magical place awed me. Now, covered in a canopy as vivid green as Matt’s eyes, it takes my breath away. Overgrown Azalea shrubs lining the path are covered in burgundy buds and the daffodils are showing their lemon-colored petals on the hillside. The soft sound of water grows louder as we walk, and I smile in anticipation of what we are about to see. I glance back at Tim, and he looks more puzzled than expectant. He’ll love it when he sees it, I know he will.
I skip towards the last bend in the trail, my soul readying a song for the sight of the huge waterfall, pregnant with the recent rain. Its cottony white cascades plunging downward and yet looking like wisps of cloud—weightless. I love this place. It might be my favorite place on earth. But, as we turn the corner, I stop in shock. In utter disbelief. Tim stumbles into me from behind. The waterfall soars high above the budding tree branches at the end of the little canyon. But the water is blood red. Bloody water gushes over the orange and gray cliffs.
“What happened?” I ask Tim. “Why is it red?”
Did some terrible slaughter happen above the falls, filling the water with the liquid life of fallen people?
“It’s another judgment,” Tim says in my ear, staring up at the gory sight. “The disease was the first. Now God has turned the water to blood.”
“Real blood?” I ask astounded and repulsed.
I remember them telling us that this would come. I remember studying it at the U.R. But seeing it, it’s terrible. God shouldn’t have done it. It feels evil—and so unlike Him. I guess it felt that way with the disease at first. It took time to see that the disease was God’s mercy, His revelation of how broken we were and how much we need Him. I can’t imagine how any good can come of this new curse. God’s punishments are huge and unrelenting. Terrifying. I am so used to the God who is my friend and the Lover of my soul, I forget He is so scary sometimes.
“I don’t think it’s real blood, but I’d have to test it to be sure. I think it’s just contaminated somehow. Some bacteria or something. This is going to make life a lot harder,” Tim says with sad foreboding.
“What will we drink?”
I didn’t need another insurmountable challenge in my life. I already have a full tank of troubles.
DJ: Now that Immaculate is released, what is next for you?
EF: I’m working on IMMANEN†! Then, after this series, I have a few more fun stories in mind 🙂
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Immaculate and the Infectious series that we haven’t talked about yet?
EF: How ’bout some quotes from reviewers?
This one’s from a legit book reviewer:
“INFEC†IOUS is absolutely, unarguably, and unapologetically a Christian book. There’s no getting away from it. HOWEVER. It’s also one that can appeal to just about anyone. Whether you’re a seasoned Christian, a new believer, or a skeptic I honestly believe (as long as you enjoy a good paranormal/end of times story) that you’ll find something you like in this one. It’s fiction. It’s really well-written fiction.
INFEC†IOUS is engaging, interesting, creative, and just all around well done. Elizabeth does a great job reaching so many different levels and that’s really impressive to me. There were so many things in this book that I could relate to, and so many more that I thought would be great for older teens and young adults.
Here’s a review from a non-Christian reader I’ve never met:
“I received a call from a friend saying her cousin had a book published for the kindle. I am a very avid reader but I typically read romance novels. When I read the preview for this book I realized it would be heavily laced with religious content. I’m not religious and I don’t really have any interest in the topic when it comes to my reading preferences; but I figured ehhh why not give it a shot. So so glad I did!! The story was really great! It was very suspenseful and honestly quite thrilling!! I loved the characters and I really found myself rooting for Matt to come to Jesus!! I was pretty skeptical at the beginning but I’m definitely getting book 2. Can’t wait to see what happens next!!!!
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?
EF: I guess I’d add that INFEC†IOUS and IMMACULA†E have been widely received. I’ve had grandma’s, mom’s, young adults and teens (guys too!) – both Christian and non-Christian – all write to me about how much they’re enjoying the series. I hope your readers will give it a try!
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
EF: THANKS FOR HAVING ME!!!!!
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*** Immaculate is published by Entrada Publishingand is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
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When the world is hunting you, where can you hide?
“I see three things. First, all the masked faces that have turned to focus on me. Second, Tim is backing slowly away from me—abandoning me. Desperation pounds in my ears. Then, I see Rosa’s small form laying still–too still–on the ground behind the spandex-suited men. A sob tears from my throat. If she is dead, I’m going to kill them. Every last one of them. ”
On the run, Ivy faces humanity’s dark side. Her bubble wasn’t just popped, it was doused with gasoline and burned to the ground. Aunty is gone; and, though Ivy’s friends are still with her, she’s never been more on her own. Pravda thinks Ivy’s blood can heal the world. Can Ivy count on anyone to stay the same, or will Pravda’s relentless misconceptions strip away everything she has always believed?
So not cool enough to have someone else write a bio for me so this is first person…. just like my books INFEC†IOUS and IMMACULA†E. I write books that mean something. I want my books to encourage you AND entertain you. Becoming a writer has been challenging, frought with lessons, and slow as molasses, but it has also been rewarding, magical, and enlightening. Every day I am a little more sure that writing is my thing. IMMANEN† is coming soon!!
P.S. If you read my book and leave a review, it will literally be the highlight of my entire day. Sometimes I jump up and down and kiss whomever I happen to be standing next to. You hold that power in your hands. Wield it how you will…. 🙂