Bethany Kaczmarek: The Writer & her Book with bonus character spotlight

bethany-kaczmarek-LR-4-200x300The Writer

Please describe yourself in three words (ask your best friend or family if you are struggling!)

Passionate, gentle, and funny

What’s your favourite season, and why?

I love the autumn with its brisk winds and bright earthy colors—the reds and yellows especially. I am an obsessive crunchy leaf stomper. I’ll walk right at the edge of a sidewalk if it means I can hear those cracks and crunches—and I wear a perpetual smile.

What is the best part of your day?

Whatever time combines coffee and hugs.

What do you miss most about your childhood?

Singing barbershop quartet songs on road trips with my family. That’s where I fell in love with harmony.

Which TV talk show host would you like to be interviewed by? Why?

Hm…A TV interview would terrify me, so I’ll say Jimmy Fallon. Then at least I’d have fun.

You are at a fruit market – what do you reach for first?

To eat fresh or for a recipe? Fresh, I want a Pink Lady apple. The perfect blend of crisp and sweet. But if I have some time, blackberries. I’ll make a cobbler in my big cast iron skillet and share it with friends.

What was the first Christian Fiction novel you read?

The Negotiator by Dee Henderson. I loved the dynamics of her O’Malley family!

What is one author and/or book you always recommend?

Ronie Kendig, hands down. I might not always recommend the same series, but her stories have never failed to grab me and hold on.

What book character has stuck in your mind from a book you have read this year?

Jake Palmer. From The Long Journey to Jake Palmer by James L. Rubart. That’s a book that’ll change you.

The Book


Music was her driving passion and the truest expression of her faith, but three months before her wedding, twenty-year-old Kasia Bernolak can’t even pick up her guitar. Feeling like a fraud who will ruin her dad’s pastoral reputation, she can barely meet his eyes. When Kasia finds the strength to break off her engagement, she still doesn’t realize the dangerous truth: Blake Hamilton isn’t ready to say goodbye. And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her.

Alexander “Zan” Maddox has seen what a domineering man can do to an unsuspecting woman, and Zan is sick of injustice. He gave up a college baseball scholarship so he could protect his sister from her abusive husband. When he rescues Kasia from her ex-fiancé, he instinctively appoints himself her personal bodyguard. Now, all he has to do is keep from falling for her himself.

Kasia and Zan become fast friends, but true healing and justice might cost more than either of them is willing to pay.

What was the working title?

Afraid to Dance

Which character took you by surprise? 

AJ Montreuil. She hides a lot, and in one key scene, she did something that nearly derailed the whole book. I had to fight to keep her on track and promise her the chance to tell her own story.

What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?

5 am.

Which character’s name was the hardest to choose? Why?

Zan. For years, he was Joel Alexander—Zan was short for his last name. But his family called him Joel, and it got confusing. So I had to make Alexander his first name (there was never a question about his being Zan) and come up with a surname for him.

What’s something that didn’t make it into the final copy?

A white-water rafting trip. And I miss it. But there will be other books…



Brief physical description

Kasia Bernolak: petite and wispy, with thick auburn hair that falls over her shoulders in waves (when she’s not wearing it braided and tugged over her shoulder). Brown-eyed and soulful, she’s comfortable in jeans andEmma Stone tees.

Zan Maddox: tall and solid, Zan is all athlete. His messy blond hair is the color of the sandy beaches he loves, his eyes like the clear sky. Most days, you’ll find him—if he’s not wearing his baseball uniform—in board shorts and flops.


Kasia has a few more freckles, and curlier hair, and Zan’s hair needs a good sun-bleaching, but young Henry Cavill is spot on.

Strengths and weaknesses

Kasia’s got a fiery temper and convictions for fuel. When she uses that passion for good, she’s exceptional. But when those convictions are shrouded in doubt, she can rationalize a little too well.

Zan will risk just about anything to protect a woman in trouble—his sister’s been in an abusive marriage for a few years. But he takes too much responsibility on himself, tries to fix people, save them. And even though he knows he’s not man enough, he won’t quit.

Quirk (if any)

When she’s nervous or upset, Kasia can’t keep her fingers out of her hair. She also slips back into Polish—her family’s heart language.
Henry Cavill young
Your inspiration for the character

I think everyone throws a little of themselves into their main characters, especially in their debut. Kasia and college-me have a lot in common, but she’s way cooler. And way more in over her head than I was.

Zan is a mix of Stephan Salvatore and a few of my Charlestonian college friends. But the baseball bits and poetry? Those are hints of my boyfriend/husband of twenty years.

Background to the story For a few years, I volunteered in a local pregnancy resource center, mentoring young moms and counseling terrified soon-to-be mothers. But the girls who got to me the most were the ones in these dangerous relationship patterns—the ones who could make excuses for aggressive, demeaning, and controlling boyfriends quicker than they could find Elmo in a sea of ping pong balls. When I shared about my own unhealthy relationships, they could spot the red flags. It’s just easier to recognize problems in someone else. So that’s why this story needed to happen. My prayer is that other women will see a little of themselves in her and realize there’s hope. It’s okay to walk away from abuse. And love—the truest love of all—is out there. Waiting.

Thanks so much, Bethany!

Bethany Kaczmarek loves to share her own journey of healing and redemption with anyone who needs it. Back from the Polish mission field where she and her husband worked with college students for six years, their home is often filled with twenty-somethings who come over for a listening ear (though she’s willing to admit it could also be for the board games and food). Other job titles: Wielder of Red Pens, Grammar Ninja, Wiper of Tears and Milk, Indie Music Connoisseur, and Friend.

Bethany writes about places where grit meets Grace. See her website and blog at

Relz Reviewz Extras
Bethany’s Author Alert
Read the first chapter of Strains of Silence
Visit Bethany’s website
Buy at Amazon: Strains of Silence


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8 Responses to Bethany Kaczmarek: The Writer & her Book with bonus character spotlight

  1. Thanks to the interview and review, my interest is piqued. I love reading new to me authors and I look forward to reading about the topic of abuse which I don’t think is often covered realistically in Christian fiction. Of course, it’s nice to “meet” the author behind the novel.

    • Brittaney » Glad you’re intrigues, Brittaney. I agree, it’s not a topic that is covered very often and sadly, it’s all too real for so many women.

  2. Thanks Rel and Bethany. It was a fun interview and your book sounds intriguing, Bethany.

  3. This is a new author to me, and I enjoyed getting acquainted through the blog. Her book sounds very intriguing and I would love to win a copy. Thanks! 😊

  4. This looks especially good. Thanks for the interview.

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