Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Interview with Leslie McKee about her NEW devotional book

Today is a special day for my guest Leslie McKee. It's the release date for her NEW devotional book! Let's wish her a "Happy BOOK Birthday!"

In celebration of this special day, I've invited Leslie to talk with you about her devotional book via this author interview feature (below). She's also agreed to give away one copy of her book to the winner of the giveaway contest (details are at the end of this blog post). Enjoy!

Interview with Leslie McKee about her devotional book (Hope Amid the Pain: Hanging On to Positive Expectations When Battling Chronic Pain and Illness)

Alexis: What inspired you to write this book?

Leslie: Friends told me for years how I should share my story because of how it could encourage others. I resisted because I didn't want others to view me differently because of my chronic pain/illness. However, a few years ago, I felt a nudge from the Lord. I tried to ignore it, but it didn't work. In fact, it became a bit more insistent. I, reluctantly at first, began jotting down some notes and verses that were meaningful to me and helpful on the flare-up days. That later turned into the devotions in this book.

Alexis: What was the inspiration behind your book title? How did you come up with this acronym for HOPE (Hang On to Positive Expectations)?

Leslie: Years ago, before I started writing the book, my pastor did a sermon on HOPE, and it’s something that has always stuck with me, especially on the days when I’m having a flare-up. I needed something to grab on to, to remind me that God still has a plan. This little acronym has helped me through many days, and I hope it can help others as well.

Alexis: Is this your first devotional book that you’ve written? Will there be more? Why or why not?

Hope Amid the Pain is my first solo book. I have had my devotions published many other places, including three devotional compilations with Worthy/Ellie Claire, literary journals, and blogs. I do hope there will be future books. I have a few ideas, and I’ve even started working on what may become a 365-day devotional journal. It’s still a work in progress.

What main message are you hoping to convey to your readers?

Leslie: My book is a 60-day devotional journal that will remind women it is possible to hang on to positive expectations and cling to the hope that can only be found in the Lord ... even while living with chronic pain and illness.

Alexis: What was the most challenging part of writing this book? And the easiest? Explain.

Easiest: Choosing Bible verses that encourage me and lift me up on the difficult days. Most Challenging: Being willing to share my story with others—strangers, as well as those close to me, as I’ve rarely opened up about my chronic pain and illness.

Alexis: In what ways do you hope this devotional will help people who suffer from chronic illnesses and/or chronic pain?

Leslie: In addition to Scripture verses that I hope encourage them and remind them they’re not alone, I also include helpful hacks and tips, information I wish I’d been told when I was newly diagnosed, details on two things I find helpful (journaling and square breathing), and a list of resources where the reader can find information and support.

Alexis: In what ways did your faith in God impact your writing of this book?

Leslie: I’ve been a Christ follower since I was quite young. If I didn’t have Him in my life, I don’t know where I’d be, but I’m certain it wouldn’t be where I am now. There have been many days along the way where a part of me has wanted to throw in the towel, but then a song comes on the radio, or I read an encouraging verse, etc., and it reminds me that I’m not alone. The Lord is with me. I’ve survived 100% of the situations I’ve encountered thus far. He hasn’t left me yet, and I know He’ll continue to see me through each moment, including the painful ones.

Alexis: Who is your target audience for this message? Why?

Leslie: When writing the book, the audience I had in mind was women battling chronic pain and illness, ages 30–60, who want to know that they are not alone in their daily struggles. A believer or a woman who is a seeker or spiritually curious. However, I believe the devotions would apply to women in any geographic location, though some references may be a bit unfamiliar to non-Christians or those outside the USA. For a secondary audience: Caretakers, spouses, or family members of women battling chronic pain and illness. Also women of all ages struggling with a physical hardship or life loss.

Alexis: How do you think this book will reach readers who are Christians and who are not of the faith?

We all want to know that we are seen, that we are heard, that we are not alone, and that we belong. I pray my book reminds women that God sees them. He hears them. He knows their pain. He is with them, and He loves them.

Would you describe yourself as a “chronic pain warrior”? Why or why not? Share your story.

Definitely, though I haven’t always seen myself this way. My view of myself in this regard changed a bit after a friend told me how she viewed me as an overcomer. To me, a chronic pain warrior is someone who is always in pain, though they look fine on the outside. But despite that painful truth, they keep going. Their pain fluctuates, and it’s not a life they would’ve chosen, but they’re more than their pain. While the battle may not always be a literal one, it’s still there, in part, every single day. It may take longer to do a task, even simple, basic ones, but they don’t give up. Progress is progress, no matter how slow the pace may be. And that truth is represented by the turtle on the cover of my book, who demonstrates the slow and steady pace a chronic pain warrior goes through every day. I’ve learned over the years that while this was never in my plans for my life, it was always in God’s plan. And He has one for me, pain and all. And I’m stronger through it because He’s right there with me, every painful moment along the way.

Alexis: What Bible verse keeps you going when you want to give up?

I have a number of verses (including the sixty used in my book). The key one for me is Romans 8:37 (NIV): “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” 

Alexis: If you could sell your book in one sentence, what would you say?

Hope Amid the Pain will remind women living with chronic pain and illness that hope can always be found in Jesus, and He has a purpose for their life, even amid the pain.

Thanks for the interview! Do you have any closing comments?

Leslie: Thanks for having me, Alexis. I appreciate the opportunity to share about my book with your readers. I hope you all have a wonderful, blessed upcoming holiday season.

Author Bio:

Leslie is an editor, author, and reviewer, but editing, writing, and reviewing are not merely jobs—they are her passions.

Leslie is an avid reader with an eye for detail.

She has been a chronic pain warrior for more than twenty years, so she 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 is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and The Christian PEN. She has had devotionals published in Ellie Claire/Worthy Publishing compilation books. She’s also published flash fiction stories.

In her spare time, Leslie enjoys reading, playing piano, crocheting, spending time with family and friends (and her turtle!), and rooting for the NY Giants.

Blurb for Leslie’s devotional book:

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 will point them to hope and encouragement. It’s possible to Hang On to Positive Expectations (HOPE) even amid the pain.

Buy Leslie’s book on Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Kobo ~ Booktopia

Connect with Leslie:

Website: https://leslielmckee.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leslielmckee

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leslielmckee/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeslieLMcKee

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7300724.Leslie_L_McKee

Amazon Author page: https://amzn.to/3aXGTkU

Enter this book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN an e-copy (for Kindle) of this book by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me today, Alexis!

  2. I love that you’ve chosen to open up and put your hopeful story of chronic pain and illness in print. Many will be encouraged to turn to the Lord for strength in struggle by reading this devotional!

    1. Thanks, Mary. It took a bit of a nudge from the Lord get me to share it, but I do hope that it will encourage others to turn to the Lord.


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