The River Caught Sunlight

THE BOOK:  The River Caught Sunlight.
Katie A. II THE AUTHOR: Katie Andraski.
ABOUT:  Katie Andraski worked for several years as a publicist in Christian publishing, The River Caught Sunlight tells a fictionalized version of what it was like for her to promote people’s whose cause she didn’t quite believe in. She obtained stories for her company in Publishers Weekly, Newsweek, US News and World Report and The Today Show. She is also the author of When the Plow Cuts, a collection of poetry. One of her poems was included in the coffee table anthology, Brushstrokes and Balladeers. She has recently written for The High Calling and is currently a contributor to WNIJ’s Perspectives feature. She has taught composition at Northern Illinois University for twenty years. Currently she lives on a farm with her husband Bruce, two horses, two dogs, seven chickens and a once feral cat that runs the show. She blogs regularly at
THE PUBLISHER: Koehler Books, Virginia Beach.
THE EDITOR: Joe Coccaro.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Sometimes a person has to leave home, even if that home is the most marvelous place she’s ever lived, even if her mother will be diagnosed with terminal cancer, and her beloved farmer, a man she’s loved for years, asks her to marry him. Janice Westfahl feels called to publicize Godspeed Books, a small evangelical publisher outside Chicago, a good thousand miles away from upstate New York. The job fits her, a woman who loves God and books. But Janice finds herself working with Jeremiah Sackfield, a radical right wing activist, who toys with revolution. Even though she is a brilliant publicist, Janice feels like she is betraying herself by promoting a cause she doesn’t believe in. Like the elder brother in the Prodigal Son story, her brother has stayed home, furious his sister has dodged the painful months of his mother’s dying, while earning their father’s favor. When her father dies, they must settle the estate with this jealousy flickering between them.
THE BACK STORY: “This book began as a report to my boss about my tour with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. During that tour, my father died. (My mother had died five months earlier.) I traveled with them or their son Frank in the years that followed and found myself writing down my adventures. Having to promote a cause I wasn’t sure about as a Christian and grieving my parents were things I needed to work out in my writing, which took approximately thirty years. I had pretty much left the novel alone when I showed the draft to a friend. She thought this part of the story needed to be told, so I returned to the material and began to shape it. I worked with editor Helga Schier who coached me in such a way that I was able to find my character’s voices and make them come alive on the page.”
River Caught IIWHY THIS TITLE: “The title River Caught Sunlight came from an essay where I remembered riding my horse across The Normans Kill when there had been a landslide preventing a gas line from being laid across our property. It is a line from the book, where the main character walks by The Normans Kill river and grieves for her mother. The Normans Kill river figures prominently, almost as a character.”
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: If you like Barbara Brown Taylor’s lyrical prose, you might enjoy the descriptions in The River Caught Sunlight. If you are curious about Frank Schaeffer’s early years as a rabble rousing firebrand you might be interested in reading this novel. If you question Evangelicalism’s part in the culture wars, you might want find insights in this book.
REVIEW COMMENTS: “It’s odd to find my darker self fictionalized. But in another life (as it were) Katie and I traveled together when she was doing publicity work for my right wing evangelical crusades. Like all good writers, Katie has plucked her story from her life. This book has a piercing insight at its heart as humane as it is damning of religion gone off the rails.” — Frank Schaeffer, author of Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God. “Katie Andraski’s writing is heartfelt and poetic, and her novel ‘The River Caught Sunlight’ is a marvelous book. Those new to TRCS will find it both easy and enjoyable to read. The story clips along at a nice pace which was refreshing, and each page is filled with rich imagery and characters that are relatable and complex at the same time. Fans of literary fiction, Christian or otherwise, should enjoy this book very much.” –Hal Fickett. “Katie Andraski is a poetic writer with a lyrically rich voice. The reader feels all the emotion of her story. Like all writers, she draws from the deep well of her personal experience. I love her heroine Janice! She is drawn so well, I wonder if Janice contains many parts and struggles of the author herself.” — Melinda Viergever Inman.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: “I wanted to write a book that helped my reader not feel so alone when doing a confusing job or needing to continue to work despite intense grief. I also want to entertain my reader by taking them to a different world and giving them a fast read.”
LOCAL OUTLETS: The River Caught Sunlight is available at Cherry Valley Barnes and Noble.
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble online and in all ebook formats. EVENTS: None. I do a regular feature on WNIJ Perspectives.
PRICE: $6.10 on Amazon, Regular price: $16.95 and $ 2.99 Kindle. Also, any special deals you might want to conjure up.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Katiewilda AT @Katiewilda

Published by


Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

6 thoughts on “The River Caught Sunlight”

  1. Katie, this is a wonderful and enticing post about your book. But what’s convinced me is not anything “about” either “The River Caught Sunlight” or you; what’s got me scurrying to my amazon account is the sample chapter. Lovely, lovely writing. Thank you for bringing it into the world.


  2. Katie,

    I’m just curious. You said this book is just a part of the original book. Was this just a small part of the original story or was it the overall main part of the story? And this may seem like a silly question, but I’m always interested in knowing, did you enjoy writing this book?

    All the best,


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