Author * Speaker * Editor

Excellent storytelling, accurate historical reporting, and gritty, persevering characters

The Story behind Door to Freedom by Jana Kelley

This is one of the best sounding books I’ve heard about in a long time, and I’m excited to have the author, Jana Kelley, stop by this week and tell us a little more about her new release, Door to Freedom. First, let’s get acquainted with the book.

“It’s rough and it’s smooth. It’s dark and it’s light. It’s a masterpiece. It’s us. Here in Sudan. We are scared of it and drawn to it. There is an open door, and there is much opposition.”

In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia, who is raising her family in a Muslim country, has learned to boldly share her faith. Rania, the daughter of a wealthy Sudanese Arab, seeks to find the reason for her sister’s sudden disappearance. Mia holds some of the answers, but both women quickly discover they must each walk through their own doors to freedom—the freedom that only comes when you trust God’s sovereignty more than man-made security.

Part of New Hope® Publishers’ line of contemporary missional fiction, Door to Freedom, the sequel to Side by Side, opens the reader’s eyes to modern-day persecution and the life of Muslims in Sudan. Based on real-life events, Door to Freedom also reveals some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as for the salvation of the persecutors.

Wow, how very interesting and timely, Jana. Can you share with us what led you to write it?

Most of my life has been lived outside of the United States even though I am from Montana by birth and Texas by driver’s license. I love cross-cultural living and I love learning about other cultures. So you write about what you love, right?

My first novel about Sudan was Side by Side. When I finally finished it, I told myself that was difficult and I would never do that again! Of course, by the time it released, I realized that I had enough ideas to write a second and maybe even a third book. Readers and friends asked me what the rest of the story was, and I began to ask myself the same thing. It wasn’t long before I began writing the sequel.

Like the first novel, Door to Freedom is written about a time and place in my life that is very dear to me. My family lived in North Africa and the Middle East for over 13 years and during that time, the people from those countries, wove themselves into my heart. So when I wrote the characters and scenes from Door to Freedom, I was writing from actual memories more than imagination.

Just like anywhere else in the world, the people of Sudan are searching. Like the characters in the book, some look for secular answers (Maysoon), some look for Truth (Rania), and some try to combine both worlds (Jamal).

I tried to write a realistic character when I wrote Mia. She is an American Christian, trying to thrive in a Muslim country. That’s the story of my life. I wrote her character pretty raw and often not very lovely. Her struggles are real struggles that either I had, or my friends had.

I really enjoyed writing Door to Freedom. Because it is fiction, I had a lot of freedom to combine personalities or events in order to have themes and story-lines that made sense. Because it is realistic, I felt a bit like I was putting together a scrapbook of scenes which was great fun!

Jana Kelley is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend East Texas Baptist University. She and her husband married a month after she graduated and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. After thirteen years living in Africa and the Middle East, Jana, her husband, and their three boys, moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live. Jana has authored two novels and two devotional books. You can learn more about Jana at

Jana is giving away a copy of the novel. Follow the simple directions below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for visiting with us, Jana! It’s been great to have you.


  1. I am writing my first Christian fiction novel. I pray that God will give me the words He wants me to share with others. 🙂

    • Hi Melissa. I think it is wonderful that you are starting this adventure. I think Christian fiction can be such a powerful tool and I love hearing that others believe that too. May God grant you His wisdom as you write and His joy in the journey!

  2. Hi Liz. Thank you so much for hosting Door to Freedom on your blog!

  3. Liz, thank you for hosting Jana. It was a pleasure meeting her and learning more about this book.

  4. I like animals. I would write a happy story. Most are so sad. Not in my book it would be uplifting. Make people smile.

  5. I love books like these!

  6. Sounds like a really good one.

  7. Enjoyed the post and the book sounds like a good one.

  8. If I wrote about something I loved it would be about books and children