You’re published in the CBA, despite what you thought would be hurdles. Why do you think you are there and how do you feel about that?

I know I’m here because it’s where God put me. I didn’t think I’d get into CBA and it didn’t occur to me to try. I wrote "Murder" because a CBA publisher asked me to. I had my eye on an African American ABA publisher because I thought that was where I belonged. I love it that God was a trickster. He closed the door with the ABA publisher and sent me to CBA. I had to confront a lot of my racist and separatist tendencies. It was painful, but needful. I’m a better person because it forced me to move away from the “colored drinking fountain” to the “white’s only” drinking fountain. But the water is the same.

In our previous discussion you mentioned that like it or not, as Americans we have a history to overcome in the area of racial relationships. What do you think keeps us all from moving out of the past and into the future in this area?

It’s not easy! Who wants to think they have any racist tendencies? Who wants to go through the discomfort of wading through the murky waters of race matters in America? We worry that we will offend each other, and we still do offend. We inherited all these rules that we don’t understand. Dealing with race is a messy affair.  But we really need to. This is not what Jesus had in mind. He was notorious for surprising people and breaking the race and ethnicity rules of His day.

You once described yourself as “evangelical with a spiritual element added that is not Protestant.” What do you mean by that?

I’m by conversion Eastern Orthodox, but I’m a new convert, and still have as much of an “evangelical” mindset as ever. But at the same time, I’ve added the celebration of the Eucharist, the Divine Liturgy, and the rich traditions of the Eastern Church to my life. It’s so much deeper now, and I’ve only picked up a few grains of sand on the big shores of Tradition (with a capital T). I haven’t even begun to go into the ocean yet.

Why do you think traditional prayers are so impacting?

Few things have affected me more deeply than fixed hour prayers. Ancient prayers root me in the faith. They connect me to a communion of saints past and present. When I pray, “O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth who are everywhere and fill all things, treasury of good things, and giver of life, come and abide in us, and cleanse us from all impurities, and save our souls O Good One,” The Holy Spirit descends on the whole of us, in and outside of time. I also love to sing and chant prayers. They seem to reach my heart faster that way. Augustine said, “He who sings prays twice.” I love that.

You’re also concerned about the separation between evangelicals and those from a more liturgy-driven background.

Jesus Christ only had one Church. His. The Church split in 1057 or so, and we’ve been splitting ever since. We cut ourselves off from our history, and that’s always dangerous. We’ve protested ourselves away from each other. God can’t be pleased. I’m all about the unity of the faith. I don’t know how we’ll do it, but I pray the Holy Spirit will help us.

What’s your greatest desire for your book?

I want people to walk away after reading my book and think, “Jesus loves me. He will keep pursuing me and working in my life, drawing me to Himself, even while I’m a mess.” You know, there isn’t any place where God cannot find and rescue you. There is always grace. And it truly is amazing.

"Murder, Mayhem, and a Fine Man" was released in July. The second book in the Amanda Bell Brown mysteries, called "Death, Deceit, and Some Smooth Jazz," comes out in December. Readers can visit Burney at Read the complete interview with her at

A homeschooling mother of four, Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God's grace. Published over 300 times, she’s recently released two novels: Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal and Postmark: Christmas. Her website offers homeschooling and parenting articles, devotionals, and information about her books.  Contact Paula: