Surrender’s Strength Blog Tour: Author Interview

It’s book release week! Surrender’s Strength (Truth from Taerna #3) launches on July 19. A new Christian kingdom adventure novel by Erika Matthews is a clean Christian novel with lifelike characters, a plot that keeps you turning pages, deep Biblical messages, and totally family friendly content.

You can learn more about the book and one of the characters here.


Erika Mathews is an author and editor who lives in the farm country of Minnesota with her husband and children. She’s a homeschool graduate with a Bachelor’s in Communications, a Master’s in Biblical Ministries, and a passion for sharing Jesus Christ and His truth. When she’s not working with books, she enjoys reading, outdoor activities, piano and violin, organizing, and using the Oxford comma. You can connect with Erika at









1. What first inspired or gave you the “spark” to write? Is there a particular author whose books or writing style inspired you?

I have been writing stories and poems since I was five years old, so I don’t remember what first gave me the “spark.” I have always loved books: reading them, writing them, and editing them, so I suppose that writing stemmed as a natural outflow of my love for reading that dominated my childhood. When I was ten, a friend and I decided to each individually write books with characters with the same last name—and my resulting story eventually turned into a middle grade novel.

My style with the Truth from Taerna series was inspired by three main sources: (1) Jessica Greyson’s kingdom adventure fiction, which introduced me to the genre that’s set in a fictional world without any fantasy elements; (2) Jaye L. Knight’s Ilyon Chronicles, which showed me how excellent characters, an exciting plot, and a strong Biblical message could intertwine powerfully with a great writing style; and (3) vintage fiction in general, from which I borrow some elements of style, an unapologetic Biblical message, and delightful vocabulary and flavor.

2. What made you decide to write this particular genre?

I write kingdom adventure fiction for three main reasons: 

(3) It requires a specific type of preparation. Kingdom fiction offers the flexibility of creating one’s own setting unconfined by limits of history or the extensive alternate system of fantasy/sci-fi. Though I do hope to write historical fiction someday, kingdom fiction provided the best fit for me at the time I began it. 

(2) It fits my target audience. Because some readers prefer to stay away from magic and/or non-realistic elements in fiction, I prefer to keep my books free from these elements in order to provide an adventure story that this audience (as well as others) can be comfortable with. 

(1) It offers unique flexibility specific to the goals of my series. I began my Truth From Taerna series when God laid it on my heart to communicate through fiction specific spiritual truths often downplayed today. My desire is to demonstrate how the real, powerful, lifechanging truths of God’s kingdom (the spiritual realm hidden from our physical senses) could play out in a fictional setting. This genre gave me the flexibility to develop a precise setting to best convey these truths in a manner separate from contemporary life yet easily cross-applied to it.

3. Every writer has a message(s) they want to impart to their readers. What is/are yours?

My writing philosophy is simple: life on earth is short and if our purpose is confined to this earth, everything our lives stand for will quickly pass away. My desire is to invest my life in something that will have eternal impact. As a Christian, Christ is my life—for me to live is Christ. Everything is all about Him; His desire is that He be known intimately. He’s given me a passion for communicating His truth through writing and speaking. My hope and prayer is that God’s kingdom on this earth will be advanced through my books and that those who read will be encouraged, challenged, or inspired to a deeper knowing of Him.

This series specifically is born from a heart to communicate the truths of God’s kingdom—the spiritual realm hidden from our physical senses—in an engaging story format. Each book focuses on an aspect of spiritual truth that today’s church often downplays. My desire is to demonstrate how the powerful, life-changing truths of God’s kingdom could play out in a fictional setting. My goal is that God will use this series to reveal His kingdom to you as the reader.

My reason for writing Christian fiction can be summed up in C.S. Lewis’ words: “By knowing Me here for a little, you may know Me better there.” My prayer is that by spending time seeing and knowing God within my books, you may know and experience Him more intimately in your daily life.

4. What has God taught you through the writing/publishing process? 

Over and over, He has shown me more depths of how much I need Him. This is what Laelara learns in Surrender’s Strength: I am nothing. I need Him desperately. Without Him I can do nothing. This book specifically gave me a lot of trouble. I had to repeatedly look to God to have Him write the next part of the book, or let me know where the plot was going, or tweak a scene that didn’t sit right with my spirit.

5. What advice do you have for beginner writers?

Three interconnected pieces of advice come to mind: 

(3) write a lot. Practice writing whenever you can, whether you feel like your work is a masterpiece or garbage. The more you write, the more your skills improve. 

(2) read a lot. Read books in your genre. Read books outside of your genre. Read books by authors you want to emulate. Notice how they write, what words they choose, how they structure their sentences, how they describe things, how they handle narration. Notice everything. You’ll learn so much about writing by reading quality books. 

(1) Pray and meditate on God’s Word day and night. Let God write the book through you. As you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, all these things shall be added unto you.

6. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott. It seems to get overlooked among Alcott’s more popular works, but this book is brilliance itself. Engaging characters, awesome relationships, charming old-fashioned tone, cheery family life, deep spiritual themes and messages, an interesting plot: this book is a treasure.

7. What inspired this series/book?

I wrote Promise’s Prayer (Truth from Taerna #1) because I wanted to do three things: communicate the crucial nature of prayer in a believer’s life; challenge myself to write an interesting adventure story without any magic, romance, or violence;and tackle the cliché “saving the world” from a Biblical perspective. (Also, I wanted to write a novel in 30 days or less!) 

A year later, I began writing a different novel with nothing more than the vague idea of writing about the power of spoken words in the spiritual realm. After three or four false starts, the idea sprang to mind: why not set this theme in the Taerna world with those characters? The main character’s sister would be perfect for that plot! And so Victory’s Voice was born. But then, all the siblings of the other main character in Promise’s Prayer also demanded their own stories…so within a very short time, I’d matched them all to spiritual themes and book titles, and the rest is history:  

Surrender’s Strength: identity, surrender, dependence 

Sustainer’s Smile: God’s sustaining hand, joy in trials, pro-life

Memory’s Mind: meditation on God’s Word

Romance’s Rest: covenant, relationship, true love

My prayer for Surrender’s Strength is that it challenges you to enter into your closet, shut your door, and throw yourself anew upon your Creator. Seek His face with every breath. My hope is that the world may marvel at strength disguised as weakness and power disguised as humility in the lives of believers across the globe through utter oneness with Jesus Christ.


Click here to read the first chapter for free!

Join the Bookstagram challenge on Instagram, or catch up on past posts.

Join the cover reveal for Sustainer’s Smile (Truth from Taerna #4) on July 21 – and be the first to see the cover!


Visit the Tour Kick-off Post on Erika’s blog.

July 15: Madi’s Musings

Release Announcement, Character Spotlight

July 16: Madi’s Musings

Author Interview

July 19: Read Review Rejoice:

Book Excerpt 

July 20: Old Fashioned Book Love:

Book Review


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