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'Praying with the Enemy:' An Interview with Author Steven T. Collis

Steven T. Collis’ novel, Praying with the Enemy, is based on the true story of an American POW during the Korean War and a North Korean soldier who become unlikely allies during a daring escape to freedom. The novel is a captivating story of bravery, determination, and unwavering faith. Collis has delivered a moving and inspiring story that will be impossible to put down.

To learn more about the story behind the story, read A Good Book To End The Day’s interview with the author below.

Tell us a little about yourself and your journey to becoming an author.

I was in fifth grade and fell in love with reading a number of fantasy series, so I went to my English teacher and proudly announced I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. That dream never left me. It took me many years to finally get published through the traditional route, but I could never stop writing. It is an impulse I simply can’t ignore.

What inspired you to write Praying with the Enemy?

I found the story twenty years ago in the basement of a university library, and it has been in the back of my mind ever since. I began the earnest writing of it two years ago after I pitched the idea to my editors, and they fell in love with it. It’s just an incredible story that deserves to have a bigger audience.

What were the challenges in bringing this book to life?

I needed to interview and connect with all of the major characters in the book who were still alive, all during the middle of the pandemic. Some were in their 90s and given their age, we needed to be careful with their health. Others lived in Korea and were difficult to connect with, especially given travel restrictions. But we made it work!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned about yourself while writing this book?

How much I enjoy writing about loving relationships and connections.

What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.

What do we learn about how the North Korean regime treated religious groups as soon as it came into power?

I was fascinated to learn that the Communist regime saw any form of religious belief as a threat to its existence because devotion to any cause other than the Party could not be tolerated. So one of the first things it did was oppress any form of a religious group.

What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

Use of language, pacing, understanding all of your plots and subplots (which include character development) and how to ensure every scene and beat informs them, thorough research, and character transformation.

Do you have any other projects in the works at this time?

I have three other books I’m developing. One involves two people who escaped an oppressive regime. Another involves the true story of how someone thwarted an attempted assassination. The third relates to how people can have better civil discourse. I’m not sure which one will be my next book!

How can readers keep in touch with you?

The best way to keep in contact with me is through my website.

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