How Would You Live If You Knew The Day You Would Die?

As many of you know, my sister-in-law, Nadine Brandes, has recently written her very first novel: A Time To Die. It is the first of a three book series. (Click here to read the first chapter.) The novel is dystopian- like Hunger Games or Divergent- only with a Christian theme.

In the book, the main character, Parvin Blackwater was given a clock at the time of her birth. Now, she knows the time she will die. And her time is running out. With just one year to live, Parvin makes a decision to live her remaining days with purpose. It is this decision that sets the scene for the amazing journey that ensues.

A few weeks ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to read an advanced copy. (You can buy it here now.) I absolutely loved it! It is beautifully written. And entertaining. And thought provoking. And inspirational…. And yes. I truly believe you will love it too. So I invited her to be a guest on my blog this week to give a little background on what inspired her to write this incredible book.

Without further ado, here is Nadine….

Let me introduce you to a young man named James.

James, doesn’t finish things — at least, not the things expected of a man in his mid-twenties. He’s a little too adventurous and daredevil, traipsing off to Africa to hunt and serve in needy villages.

This is a great pursuit, but he should find some way to make a living or at least get a degree to support his travels to Africa. After all, he’s a young man — an adult now — who will get married someday and he needs to be the breadwinner. After that, he’ll have his whole life to go serve in Africa.

This is the opinion I formed about James from the snippets I heard about him from others. Every chance I had to meet him would fall through because he’d ditch to be in Africa or something. My overall impression of James was that he was an unsettled, somewhat irresponsible, but good-hearted guy. Why couldn’t he just get his degree and then go to Africa?

I’ll tell you why.

Because he died at age twenty-seven. In Africa, from natural causes.

My entire view of his life changed after I found out. I realized how shallow I’d been, putting his life in the typical box of expectations. But once he was gone, I understood. James didn’t have time for lengthy college or the American dream. Something in him — inside his soul — knew  his time was short…and it needed to be spent in Africa.

You see, James was close to my age. His death shook my foundation. What if my  time was short like James’s? What if I knew  how long or little I had to live? Would I live differently?

Would you?

Through James’s death, I questioned life…and God answered me with the book, A Time to Die.

The story idea — of a world where everyone has a Clock telling them how long they have to live — plagued me as I finished up my last years of graduate school. In fact, it grew so heavy in my mind I finally abandoned homework one week and just wrote it out.

I’d always felt called to be a writer — always wanted to spend my life penning stories. But this…when this came out of my fingers, it was like nothing I’d ever written before. This was the culmination of my writing dreams, and it all started from a young man’s death. I’m reminded of a verse in Hebrews talking about Abel’s faithful and righteous sacrifice to God. The verse ends saying:

“And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.”

Through James’s faith to follow God’s call into ministry for the African people, his death spoke into my life — and I’m sure many others. Now I’ve been given a chance to live with new perspective. Hopefully my writing will inspire others to do the same. 

How might your life change if you knew how much or how little time you had left?



About Nadine:

Nadine Brandes writes stories about authentic faith, bold living, and worlds soaked in imagination. She lives in Idaho with her husband and works as a freelance editor. When she’s not writing, editing, or taste-testing a new chai, she is out pursuing adventures. A Time to Die is her first novel.

Visit Nadine on the web at:

Her Website:



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