Intimate Conversation with M. Ann Ricks

M. Ann’s upbringing in Elizabeth, NJ was quite structured. She is forever grateful to her parents for their prayers and close reign over her young life. Their seemingly ever-present influence and strong inducement for her to know God, attend church and participate in every possible youth auxiliary kept her from elements that would have swallowed her whole.

Although recognizing Christ’s importance during her youth, M. Ann didn’t consider Him as her “everything”. Writing was always a “hidden” love. When she resolved to reconnect with the Master, the aspiration to write was unearthed and she became confident that it was her gift. As her need to know God on a personal level increased, her desire to write became stronger and strangely, to her surprise, a need. After receiving the needed confirmation from the Lord, she arrived at the conclusion that writing is the path that God has placed her on. She is determined to tell the world how wonderfully awesome Jesus Christ is and can be in our lives if we just allow Him to be. She is honored to be used by God to spread His message with the stories she creates with the leading of the Holy Spirit, knowing that He will provide her with the words that will draw all men to Him.

M. Ann is a graduate of Rider University and lives in Bear, Delaware with her loving husband and two handsome sons. She is also the author of The Son and has just completed her third novel, THE BLOOD DONE SIGNED MY NAME.

Awesome Wonder: The Gift of Remembrance
Awesome Wonder, is a Christian Fiction novel that takes a look at the duplicity of the “church” through the eyes of the heroine, Paige Covington as it brings to light the hypocritical stigma that has attached itself to the “church”, specifically the African American church.

Many people are looking for answers and believe they can find those answer in the church. Unfortunately, the failure of those who "talk the talk" to "walk the walk" has kept many from a true relationship with Jesus Christ. In many instances, the people that we aspire to be or hold in high regard because of their position in the church or “supposed” knowledge, disappoint, and we find that they are not the Christians that we thought they were. Unfortunately, this may result in the babes in Christ that now feel misled, to retreat from Christ with the misconception that all Christians are bogus and that Christianity is a sham. Awesome Wonder tells an honest, triumphant and relatable story of how God never stops loving his child as the Holy Spirit speaks to us to remind us of His unending and unfailing love. It confirms that the relationship between God and man is what is most important and that man should not be used as a barometer for Godliness and holiness.

Paige Covington knows there's a God and had accepted Christ as a young girl but witnessing hypocrisy and un-Christ-like behavior by the people in her church and family has caused too much pain resulting in her turning back on the love of Jesus. Memories from her youth begin invading her psyche and to make matters worse, she begins to hear a voice. The voice sounds familiar and tells her things as those memories and truths are exhumed. Hurt, confused but searching for answers, she decides that too much has happened. There have been too many disappointments and too many lies. Key people in her life have made it clear that there doesn’t seem to be any honor in being “Christ-like”. She hasn’t any idea that she is chosen as all children of God are. Will Paige allow the word that has been hidden in her heart provide the answers to all of her questions and give her the peace she so desires?

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing this book?
Awesome Wonder is a novel that I believe that I had to write because people need to know, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”Matt. 7:21-23.

Every other day we are hearing about a “fallen” man of God or “so-called” people of God spewing scripture and then living a lifestyle that is not honoring God behind closed doors. People are missing God because they haven’t seen Him in the people that are supposed to know Him. Now more than ever, true believers need to be walking epistles of the Lord Jesus Christ and live holy. It is up to us, true believers, to be the real example of the love of Jesus Christ. We can’t shout Hallelujah in church one minute and then curse someone out right after service. Many are saying that Christians are phony and fake because of what they see.

Believers and true followers of Christ have to understand their responsibility to live a life that is Christ-like. Someone who is unsaved or unfortunately on their way to hell may be depending on not what we say but how we live. We don’t want to cause anyone to fall because of our misdoings but day in and day out the curtain is being pulled back to show the ugliness of the “pretenders” of Christianity. Believers have been called to reconcile others to Christ and the only way we can do this is to live a life that is exemplary of the God in us. We can’t let traditions or religion dictate to us. The world is watching and we should be the “ people” that right the ship and point them in the direction toward Christ! Many realize that there is a void in their lives and are trying everything but God to fill it; just like Paige. The world is full of Paige Covingtons. A career, possessions or material things won’t make someone feel complete or whole. Only God can fill the void. I pray that when reading Awesome Wonder, the Holy Spirit begins to speak and the reader will dedicate or rededicate their life to Jesus Christ as that is my ultimate goal; augmenting the Kingdom of the Most High God.

BPM: Who did you write this book for? Why?
Awesome Wonder was written for the man or woman who has been hurt by “so called” Christians. I want to encourage someone through my novel, who has turned their back on Jesus because of the lack of true Godliness being exhibited by people in Christendom and in the body of Christ. That man or woman needs to know that regardless of what the world is displaying, God is in control and He does expect His people to walk, talk and behave just like Him. They need to know that there were hypocrites, liars and false prophets when Jesus walked the earth and Jesus warned us about them. If they existed over 2000 years ago, they will most assuredly exist today, even in our churches and families but we can’t let their behavior and their misrepresentation of God cause us to miss out on the truth and reality of Jesus Christ.

There are lives that are broken and people are walking around without hope, not believing that Christ is THE ANSWER because many in leadership have falsified Christ by the way they treat one another. There are lives that were eager to learn about Jesus Christ or were sold out for Christ but are now damaged, angered and even spiraling out of control because the people that they thought were the embodiment of Christ-like living have disappointed them, resulting in the disillusionment of who Christ is. People in Paige’s life seemed to be the epitome of Christianity but once she saw the truth behind the mask, she was spiritually injured like many people that I have known throughout my life.

Those wounds don’t heal easily and they begin to effect other aspect of one’s life especially when a real desire and zeal to learn more and be more like Christ is/was genuine. In Paige’s situation, it began to take a toll on her marriage, the relationship with her siblings and even her own child because at the core, something was missing. Awesome Wonder was written to tell the world that God has nothing to do with the foolishness one may see when watching the news but He is the God who is faithful. He is the God that sent His son, Jesus, to die for the world. He has nothing to do with crazy ministers that steal money from their parishioners or sleeps with the church secretary. God is LOVE and wants people to know Him in spirit and truth. Believe Jesus Christ through His word, not the world. “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

BPM: Thousands of books are published each year. What sets your book apart from other books in your genre?
It seems, “ it is, what it is” has become the statement of the year. Christians for some reason have accepted and adopted that lingo and in doing so, have allowed all matter of un-Christ like behavior to find a home in the house of God and sadly enough, into their lives. No, It is NOT ,what it is.

The world is hurting because many don’t know Jesus; not really. They think they do but really don’t. Awesome Wonder sets itself apart from other Christian fictions novels because it allows the reader to understand that many seem to think and really believe that they are Christians because they are saying and doing all of the right things; giving to the poor, visiting the sick, etc. This is done while people are watching. Who are they behind closed doors? Sadly, there is a stark contrast. Many Christians can quote every scripture in the Bible but will not demonstrate the love God to their own wife or husband or even children. It is all a show? For many, it is. No one is talking or writing about how we are losing our African American youth or youth in general. As soon as they are able, they refuse come to church because of all that they’ve witnessed when growing up in the church. They have seen the lying and backbiting. They have heard adulterous innuendo and observed unforgiveness.

Paige, is an example of the generation that has decided that Jesus was not all He was cracked up to be. Awesome Wonder, like no other novel, shines the spot light on the damage that can be done when hypocrisy is allowed to run rampant in the house of God. People are no longer being fooled by the “Sunday Saint.” Those who think they want to know Christ are being wooed by the enemy because the church and leaders in the church can’t or won’t exemplify holiness. Whether anyone believes it or wants to write about it or not, people are falling away from Christ because of the misrepresentation of Christ in the church. Traditions and arguments when not “rightly dividing the word” has caused many to walk out on God.

Awesome Wonder looks at the church, it’s leaders, family and its impact on one’s life. Awesome Wonder stands alone as it Illustrates the damage religious insincerity and unChrist-like behavior can cause while interweaving the everyday realities of life. It is a novel that is daring those who love Christ to stand up and be real. It is welcoming those who want to know Christ or reconnect to Him but have been hurt to not to look at the world but look to Him. Awesome Wonder says blatantly what no one else in the genre has said, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8.

BPM: What was the most powerful chapter or scene in the book for you?
The most powerful chapter in Awesome Wonder for me was when Paige finally receives revelation. After years of not going to church regularly, she decides to visit a friend’s church at her husband’s request. Believing she knew exactly what she would encounter because of her church history, she was initially pessimistic. To her surprise, she experiences more than she bargained for as the truth of God becomes abundantly clear to her. It’s as if the minister was waiting for her to visit so that he could speak directly to her and situation. The message communicated by the minister becomes all too personal and enlightenment commences.

The word of God is opened up to her like never before and this causes her to rethink her entire relationship with God. Had she any right to feel the way she did for so many years? Was she guilty of the same behaviors as so many others? Her issues with God become something that she must now contend with after hearing the truth. The truth begins to set her free but it would be up to her to accept the freedom. The scene is very emotional and it allows the reader to not only hear the word of God but also become a part of Paige’s psyche as she listens to what she may have already known but refused to hear from God. The Holy Spirit has been talking to many of us for years because we have accepted Christ but have fallen away. The word of God, when presented to us, has a way of making it all too clear that God has been there all time, whispering that He is just waiting for us to return to Him, our first love.

BPM: What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Firstly, one must believe in their gift and talent. In this industry, it’s easy to say “forget it” or “this is not for me”. Know that rejection is part of the process but persistence is the key and faith unlocks the door. I have learned that what God has started in me, He is obligated to finish and I will be successful. If you believe that you have something to share that will change lives, then write and believe in yourself and gift that you have been given. Understand that it isn’t the money that will satisfy you. It will be the opportunity to speak into the lives of others and make a difference.

Lastly, be cognizant of the fact that everyone doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Many are in this industry, even Christian Fiction, to make a buck; plain and simple. Surround yourself with people that you can trust and who believe in you and your passion. Most importantly, don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t…. because you can!

M. Ann Ricks contact information:
With regard to M. Ann Ricks Literary Creations, LLC links…the one that may be used is simply my website address and it is: http://www.mannricks.net/.  M. Ann Ricks’ e-mail is: godsauthor@mannricks.net  and may posted as well should anyone desire to contact me for literary dialogues, speaking engagements or simply to dialogue about my novels.

M. Ann Ricks’ novels may be purchased via the website and or at any literary establishment, i.e.: Borders, various bookstores Amazon.com and the like.

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