I am delighted to welcome Kathryn Cushman as my guest today. Kathryn has just published her fifth novel, Another Dawn from Bethany House. My review follows the questions.
Thanks, Edwina. It is good to be here.
1. Tell us about Another Dawn.
Another Dawn is the story of Grace Graham, a woman who tends to run when things get hard. She returns to her hometown to help her estranged father recover from surgery and, soon after arrival, her unvaccinated four-year-old son is ground-zero for a measles outbreak. Several infants, including Grace’s niece, develop severe complications. As Grace begins to come to terms with how her decisions have affected others, she must choose whether to run, or stand strong and help in any way she can.
2. How did you develop the initial story idea for Another Dawn?
My editor sent me the link to a radio story about a measles outbreak in San Diego. I’ve always found the controversy over vaccinations intriguing, so this really piqued my interest.
3. Your books tend to take an issue and show both sides. Did you have any issues that made it more difficult for you with Another Dawn?
The vaccination debate is always a tricky one. Since I spent a decade as a pharmacist, I tend to put more trust in the CDC and their recommendations than perhaps many people do. Also, when my daughter was on put on a medication that suppressed her immune system, it became much more personal, because her health depended on people around her being healthy (commonly referred to as “herd immunity”). But then, during my research, I’d go to a website or read a book by the mother of an autistic child—a child who seemed perfectly healthy before vaccinations—and it would make me pause. There are thousands of these stories. So, for me, it is still not a black and white issue.
4. Did the book involve special research?
I did a lot of research about vaccines and the studies about whether they cause autism. Also, I spent some time talking via email with parents of autistic children.
5. Almost every author puts a little of themselves into their stories—what did you put of yourself into Another Dawn?
The setting is a fictionalized version of my hometown, Lawrenceburg, TN. “Shoal Creek” (my fictional town name) has many Lawrenceburg characteristics: the Square Forty Restaurant, Rick’s BBQ, the Lady Wildcats, and using the WiFi at Krystal, among other things.
6. What is your goal in writing?
My goal is to follow God’s leading and write the story I’m given to the best of my abilities. My hope is that it becomes an interesting novel that will cause people to stop and think about something in a new way.
7. What are you currently working on?
My new project is about a family that agrees to live "Almost Amish" as part of a semi-reality TV show.
8. Name three things most people would not know about you.
1) I never read my books after they are printed. I always want to change something when I read through my work, and when it is too late to make changes I can't bear to look at it.
2) I'm pretty bad at all things domestic (but I really wish I was better!).
3) I was a pharmacist for 10 years before I "retired" to be a stay-home mom.
Thank you, Kathryn, for spending time with us today. I’ve enjoyed having you!
Thank you, Edwina!
My Review of Another Dawn
As children, my sister and I took all our vaccinations. No questions asked. When our children were little, they received all their vaccinations. No questions asked. We didn’t know any better. Since reading Another Dawn I realize there is a serious health risk for children who take vaccinations. It has been shown that the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine can cause autism in some children. With the wealth of information about this subject found in Another Dawn, it is apparent Author Kathryn Cushman researched for many hours in preparation for writing this book. But this is not a book just about vaccines and resulting illnesses. This book is about forgiveness and second chances.
Here is the blurb from the back cover:
“When life gets complicated, Grace Graham runs. She’s left romantic relationships, friendships and even her family after the death of her mother. But now her sister, Jana, is giving her one last chance: Come home and help care for their father—whom Grace still blames for her mother’s death—or never show her face in Shoal Creek, Tennessee, again.
With her son, Dylan, in tow, Grace returns home from California. But is she returning for the right reasons? And when costly decisions from her past suddenly put her son’s life and the lives of other children in town at risk, will she have the strength to stand strong and await Another Dawn?”
There was such spiritual and emotional growth in Grace, it was fascinating to watch. “Complex” doesn’t begin to describe Grace’s relationships with her father, her sister, her fiancé…well, all of her relationships. But in the end, forgiveness between Grace and the people in her life leads to healing.
And I can’t overlook Grace’s son, Dylan. What a precocious, sweet and intelligent four-year-old! You will want to “bring him home with you.”
This book is a “must-read.” You will be informed and you will enjoy the story. If you know of anyone whose child has autism that may have been caused by vaccinations, please see that they get a copy of this book. It is definitely a “must-read” for them.
Another Dawn will hit the bookstores on Tuesday, February 1.
Bethany House graciously gave me a copy of Another Dawn for the purpose of this review.