Kira M. Dewey is a sophomore at Palm Beach Atlantic University, studying English and Creative Writing. Author of fantasy novel ELITES: The Island of Darkness, Dewey loves reading, writing, musical theater, going to Disney and spending time with her four dogs. She is a summer 2022 Ernest C. Hynds Jr. Intern at Good Faith Media.

1. What story, verse or passage from your faith tradition’s sacred texts has significantly influenced / shaped your life?

Though my favorite books of the Bible have changed over the years, I consistently turn to Proverbs for comfort and advice.

As a student who wants to know the answer to everything and be completely in charge of my own life, God has used Proverbs 9:10 to both encourage me in my faith walk and keep my feet planted humbly on the ground: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

This verse is a beautiful reminder that if I want to know and achieve great things, God must be my first priority. Devoting myself to Him is the first step in deepening my knowledge of everything else.

2. Who are three people (other than your family) who have shaped your life and worldview? And why?

There are so many people in my life who have blessed me with their wisdom and shaped how I see the world. But to narrow it down to three, the first would be Jenny L. Cote. Author of the historical fiction series Epic Order of the Seven, Mrs. Cote is my writing mentor and the one who guided me through the writing, editing and publishing process. A Christian author on fire for “HIStory,” her books have inspired me and countless other readers to stand in awe of God’s hand throughout both the Bible and American history. She showed me how my passion for writing can be a way for me to worship God and encouraged me to write for His glory.

The second person would be Joel Hunter, former pastor at Northland: A Church Distributed in Longwood, Florida. Hunter taught me through his gentle yet provocative sermons the importance of loving others. His passionate heart and love for the Islamic and LGBTQIA+ communities have shown me just how rare it is for a Christian to speak in love about those with whom they disagree. His sermons were so convicting that his congregation divided, but the reaction only served to further touch my heart. What remains in me even after his time as pastor is a firm belief in being willing to love and serve our neighbors – especially those with whom we disagree. Furthermore, not all Christians share the same orthodoxy, and that changes neither their love for Jesus nor their salvation.

The final person who has shaped my life and worldview is my voice teacher Heather Charles. Not only did she hone my singing talent during my years in musical theater, but her outlook on life significantly shaped mine. Ms. Charles taught me that singing is not just breath support and vocal cords. Singing is a skill that requires discipline, confidence, and fearlessness – but most of all, a positive outlook on life. I had a voice lesson scheduled the day after my first breakup, and after asking if I was up for singing, Miss Heather asked me if I wanted to sing a song of despair or hope. I chose hope. I will never forget her response: “That’s what I love about you. You always choose to see the bright side of things. Never let that light go away.” She said it like it was a compliment to me – but I really learned it from her.

3. List three of your “desert island” books, movies or TV shows.

Limiting the answer to three is perhaps the most painful exercise that can be given to a writer and English major. Aside from the obvious answer of the Bible, my “desert island” books would be C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter.

Screwtape is the perfect blend of fantasy and devotional, short enough to read quickly but insightful enough that I will learn something new each time I read. Spiritual warfare is a topic which fascinates me, but of such books including Paradise Lost and This Present Darkness, Screwtape remains my favorite book of all time.

As a fantasy writer, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are staples in my favorite genre. One being a series and the other a trilogy, this is also a loophole for me to list more books. Regardless, the masterful worldbuilding and heartwarming characters in both series make them classics and some of my favorite books to this day.

4. What is one of the most critical issues people are facing today?

One issue I have seen our world face that weighs heavily on my heart is our division both outside and within the church. Debates over gun laws, abortion and LGBTQIA+ rights are all hot-button topics in our society which merit careful conversation and thought, but modern Christians have forgotten how to maintain civil discourse.

Especially when differing in opinion, the body of Christ has forgotten that God calls us to love others, and attacking each other over differences in opinion only serves to destroy the church from the outside and within. Though we are called to “live in the world, but not of it” Christians in particular have fallen into the worldly belief that we, as fallible human beings, are always right, and to differ in opinion is an insult meriting the destruction of relationships.

5. What are a few of your hobbies?

As an English major and a writer, reading and writing are two of my favorite pastimes. However, throughout middle and high school, I was an avid participant in musical theater. Alongside tap dance lessons and classical vocal coaching, I performed on stage, my favorite roles being the Cat in the Hat in Seussical the Musical and Morticia Addams in The Addams Family Musical. Theater is what I miss most as a college student, and I look forward to the opportunity to one day return to the stage.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, I developed a love for gardening, particularly for growing succulents and orchids. Now I am the plant mom of my dorm room, and whatever succulents cannot grow in the room, I care for in PBAU’s community garden.

Just like writing, theater and gardening are about bringing things to life – whether characters in a script or saplings waiting to bloom. The joy creation brings is a beautiful way for me to worship the ultimate Creator and fulfil my calling to be more like God.

6. If you could freeze your life into an already-lived 10 seconds, what would they be?

I will never forget my final bow after my last performance in The Addams Family Musical. That day was my 18th birthday, and my last performance in my community theater’s family theater program. After the rest of my cast had taken their bows, I stepped forward to take my senior bow. I could see my family in the audience, my mother’s face streaked with tears of bittersweet pride and joy.

The curtain closed on my childhood self for the last time – and I remember being completely blinded by the embraces of the entire cast. Friends I had known since middle school were crowded around me, pushing through each other to reach me and crying off their makeup shamelessly.

I was too overwhelmed to cry, feeling the love of five years enveloping me in an all-consuming embrace. I was leaving for college – but I knew I would never forget my first home away from home.

7. Our tagline at Good Faith Media is, “There’s more to tell.” What’s your “more to tell”?

As a writer, telling stories is my calling – and so many stories are screaming in my head, begging to be written. There are worlds which have not been created, heroes who have not set out on their quests, and villains who have not been vanquished or brought back into the light. They sit stewing in my head until they are released, then burst like a firehose from my head to my hands as I try to type but cannot write fast enough to let it all escape. God has given me a gift for writing- the least I can do is use my gift to glorify and worship Him, and not stop sharing my stories until I have told them all.

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