The Lotus Keeper, K. R. Dial’s new novel from Kirkdale Press, presents a harrowing picture of the child sex trade. Dial’s hero, recent law graduate Sam Toney discovers that his new firm is involved in a nefarious trafficking business. Faced with this revelation, Toney is forced to confront his priorities and what it means to be a hero.
Written as part of Dial’s ongoing ministry to rescue the victims of child prostitution, The Lotus Keeper tackles the sex trafficking epidemic. Dial led corporate intercessory prayer for the International Justice Mission, helped form the Atlanta Justice Coalition, and served as a volunteer guardian ad litem for abused and neglected kids, receiving her district’s top honor as Rookie of the Year for her courtroom advocacy of a local teenage prostitute. She wrote The Lotus Keeper after a trip to Thailand spent researching the issue of child sex trafficking—and meeting the victims face to face.
We were able to talk to author K. R. Dial about her novel and her passion for advocacy. You can read the rest of the interview on Logos Talk.
Vyrso Voice: What was your biggest challenge in using fiction to tackle such a sobering topic?
K. R. Dial: I could have written a research paper in one year about this topic. Fiction is difficult for me. I spent at least a whole year staring at a white screen and a blinking cursor, and a decade writing the book. To intertwine academic material into your characters’ lives and dialogue is not easy to do. But it’s done by writers every day. I’m just very, very slow at it.
Vyrso Voice: How difficult was it to walk the line between being overly graphic or sensationalistic and being descriptive enough to communicate the severity of this topic?
K. R. Dial: Not difficult at all. The Bible is never graphic, yet it communicates the most heinous of sins. It was my goal that no one’s stomach would turn while reading the book. No intelligent person needs a description of child prostitution to know what it is, and that it must be stopped. What I describe is an underground and covert system to bring the perpetrator to the victim, as well as the equally clandestine plan to destroy this system.
Vyrso Voice: The Lotus Keeper seems as much a story about Sam’s character arc as it is about the larger issue of human trafficking. How do you want people to identify with Sam Toney?
K. R. Dial: I would have never finished the book without Sam. I wanted to finish his story, to test him, to put him through tribulation and watch him become a man. No, not just a man; I wanted to watch him become a hero. He started his professional life only wanting to make money. I took him on a journey to wanting to make a difference. To be honest, I want people to read the book and decide it’s never too late to be somebody’s hero. I want people mired in sin to shed their shame and make a stand for righteousness. My Christ Jesus is ready to coach just such people.
Vyrso Voice: A huge challenge for a first time author is silencing (or ignoring) some of the critical inner voices: “No one’s going to take you seriously,” “You don’t know enough about this issue,” etc. Did you struggle with any of that while working on The Lotus Keeper?
K. R. Dial: My critical inner voice was persistent, loud, and almost successful. My novel is a fast-paced three-hundred page thriller and it took me a painful decade to write! My friend Don Brown is a prolific writer of longer, more complex thrillers and he produces each of his novels within a year. My inner voice thought she had beaten me. But my inner voice didn’t attack me on my knowledge of subject matter. I’m an excellent researcher, and my inner voice only goes for my vulnerability. It’s like this, “You’ll never finish,” “You’ll give up.” “This is too hard.” “Just stop now, and people will forget you’re writing a book.” I was never able to silence the voice in my head, but some real people started to raise their voices too. And I started to listen to the encouragement God was putting all around me. When Don Brown read my perpetual half-a-novel and left me a voice mail with, “We’ve got to get you published,” I cried and thought for the first time that maybe my inner voice was a liar.
Vyrso Voice: When you finally finished The Lotus Keeper, who was the first person you wanted to tell?
K. R. Dial: My husband. For over ten years he had heard me whine, complain, moan, and cry as I surrendered to my inner voice. And for all those years he said, “If no one publishes it; we will self-publish; we will get it out there; just finish it; I know you can do it.”
The book is dedicated to him. He is Sam. He is Marvin. He has the heart that is at the core of these heroic characters. I could not write about the lives of these brave men had I not been privileged to be married to a noble man for over 20 years. My husband has never physically rescued another human being, but his dedication to me and our children burns in his heart. My husband’s love for me is palpable. When I first told him I loved him, he said, “What does love mean to you?” I gave a childish, emotional answer. He said, “No. Love means that you are willing to die for that person. I would die for you. That is how I love you.” We were not Christians then. So how did he have the Gospel in his heart like that? I have never stopped pondering the enormity of his strength and wisdom.
Vyrso Voice: When people are exposed to an issue like sex trafficking, there is often a huge emotional response followed by a sense of paralysis. What would you advise to someone who really wants to get involved but has no idea where to start?
K. R. Dial: Learn, pray, and raise awareness. The International Justice Mission (IJM) holds its Global Prayer Gathering every April in Washington, DC. When I first attended, I felt like I had finally found my spiritual family. I would look around the prayer circle and think, “These people pray like me.” Desperate prayer for God to fight evil in this world. Every action that you will ever take on behalf of the victims must first be conceived in prayer. That’s God’s plan for rescue.
Don’t forget to read the rest of this amazing discussion on Logos Talk.
The Lotus Keeper is available today from Vyrso for only $4.49. Download it today!