Leslie L. McKee is an award-winning author, editor, and chronic pain warrior, using her writing to encourage others. Last month, I featured Leslie’s devotional journal, Hope Amid the Pain. Today, Leslie is joining us here on the blog!
Meet Leslie L. McKee
A chronic pain warrior for more than twenty years, Leslie L. McKee is familiar with the peaks and valleys associated with living with a chronic illness. She has felt God come alongside her through His Word and remind her that the battle is His and she’s not alone. Leslie has had devotionals published in Ellie Claire/Worthy Publishing compilation books, and she’s also published flash fiction stories. For fun, Leslie enjoys playing piano, crocheting, putting together jigsaw puzzles, and finding joy with her pet turtle Speedy and Baby Yoda.
I am so excited to have you here today, and I know readers are going to love getting to know you better!
Q) Can you tell us more about Speedy the turtle and your love for Baby Yoda?
A) My turtle Speedy is my baby! He just celebrated his 20th “gotcha day.” He’s a red-eared slider, and he truly encourages me every single day (and makes me scratch my head and chuckle, wondering what he thinks he’s doing, at least once a day!). For Baby Yoda … Who doesn’t love him? He’s totally adorable. I have multiple stuffed ones, as well as figurines, and even a sticker in my car and on my computer. In short, he and Speedy make me smile.
Q) Please describe yourself in 3 words.
A) Loved by God.
Q) How do you select what books to read? In your mind, what makes a book a 5-star read?
A) I have quite an eclectic taste in books. I read “clean read” fiction books of just about every genre, and I also enjoy a variety of nonfiction genres.
I have been a reviewer for close to twenty-five years. I started out doing that for a magazine, so my ratings still somewhat follow those guidelines. As a result, I have only given out a select number of 5-star reviews over the years. I view them as books that just about every reader could enjoy or benefit from reading.
Q) Describe your writing in 5 words (or less).
A) Hope-filled, encouraging, and relatable.
Q) Will you please tell readers about your devotional journal, Hope Amid the Pain?
A) Hope Amid the Pain is the 2023 Ames Award Winner in Devotional – Grief/Suffering and First Place BookFest Award Winner in Self-Help – Inspiration.
Why me? Is God punishing me? Is my faith not strong enough for God to heal me? How can I achieve my dreams? What’s my purpose?
If you’re someone living with a chronic illness or chronic pain, these are just a few of the questions you’ve likely asked on more than one occasion. You may feel overlooked or even resentful. You try to stay positive, but some days it’s hard. It’s natural to feel this way and grieve, but it’s still possible to have a hope-filled life. God has a purpose for the pain.
Christians aren’t immune from pain and illness, but we don’t have to go through it alone. Jesus promised that He would “never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV).
Millions of women suffering from chronic pain and illness want the reassurance they’re not alone. The devotions in HOPE Amid the Pain are written by a chronic pain warrior with over twenty-five years’ experience and will point the reader to hope and encouragement. It’s possible to Hang On to Positive Expectations (HOPE) even amid the pain.
Bible App Plans
Q) On your website, you offer links to YouVersion Bible app plans for Hope Amid the Pain. What readers are these plans best suited for?
A) Like the book, these are perfect for anyone living with chronic pain or illness. I’ve had many people reach out to me after finding the Bible plans on YouVersion. I have one that contains verses from Psalms, one with verses from Philippians, and one that’s a mix of verses from other books of the Bible. All of the plans are a slight adaptation of those that can be found in Hope Amid the Pain.
More About Leslie’s Writing
Q) In addition to writing devotionals, you also write flash fiction. I personally enjoyed your piece in Havok’s Animal Kingdom anthology! Will you tell readers what you like most about writing flash fiction?
A) Oh, thanks so much! It was fun doing that story, and I think it’s my favorite one. I’ve written about five flash fiction stories thus far. Honestly, doing so is quite outside my comfort zone, but I asked God for direction, if I was supposed to be writing them, and He gave me the inspiration for each one. Most of my stories, including the one in the Animal Kingdom anthology, have featured my turtle Speedy 😊 As I’ve mostly written devotions (and prior to that, I wrote poetry and reviews), flash fiction is kind of the next step, since I don’t feel I’m ready for a full-length novel at this time.
Q) Can you tell us about your future writing projects?
A) I have a number of ideas, but due to life’s circumstances over the past few months, my own projects have been put aside. However, I do have ideas for a children’s book pertaining to chronic pain and illness, as well as a couple devotional book ideas.
Q) Will you please tell us about your Hope Amid the Pain Facebook women’s support group? Who can join and how will the community benefit them?
A) It’s a private Facebook group for women who live with chronic pain and/or illness. It’s a place where they can get encouragement, prayers, etc., and it’s a safe place for them to interact with others who truly “get it.” Many people found the Facebook group after reading the YouVersion Bible app plans or my book.
Faith and Writing
Q) Though much of your writing consists of devotionals, how does your faith intersect with what you write and share with readers?
A) My faith is what keeps me going, as well as what gets me out of bed each day. I don’t know where I’d be without the reminder that God loves me and has a wonderful plan for me…even amid my pain.
Q) How has your journey with chronic pain shaped your faith and vice versa?
A) My chronic pain journey has reminded me that I certainly can’t get through life, or even the day, without the Lord by my side!
Q) What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
A) I have a number of verses that are important to me and the journey I’m on, including: Romans 8:37 (the key verse for Hope Amid the Pain), Philippians 4:6, and Philippians 4:13.
More From Leslie L. McKee
Q) If you had a theme song for your life, what would it be and why?
A) The song would probably vary daily, from “Keep the Faith” to “Walk by Faith” to “Fight Song” to “Overcomer.”
Q) If you could vacation anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you travel to and why?
A) It’d be tough to pick just one, but I’d love to visit the UK and Australia. I’d also love to go anywhere I could see giant tortoises or sea turtles 😊
Advice for Authors
Q) What advice can you share with other authors?
A) Write what you feel God is telling you to write! With my book, I had some people in the publishing industry tell me that I should make it more general and not share so much of my personal story. I admit I was hesitant to be open and transparent about the struggles and realities of living with chronic pain and illness, yet it was what I felt God telling me to do. And I’m glad I listened.
Some of the things readers mention when they contact me is how much they appreciate me being open and honest because they know that I truly understand what they’re going through. That’s exactly what I hoped for when writing Hope Amid the Pain. I know how much it means to me when I find someone who “gets it,” and I thought others would feel the same way. Thus far, it’s been apparent that they do.
Q) Thank you, Leslie, for joining us today! Is there anything else you would like to add?
A) Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Kayla. I enjoyed speaking with you, and I appreciate you letting your readers know about Hope Amid the Pain, which will be celebrating its second birthday on October 26, 2023!
Connect with Leslie L. McKee
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