If you didn’t get a chance to read the review of Love’s Sacred Song and my interview with Mesu Andrews, you can find it HERE.
Now, let me share more of Mesu’s heart:
2. Can you tell us a little about your research process?
My first step is to read the Scriptural text repeatedly, even daily if possible. If the story pulls details from multiple books of Scripture (as Love’s Sacred Song did from 2 Samuel, Kings and Chronicles), I use the Narrated, Chronological Bible (http://amzn.to/z6tUJl) to read the account harmonized into a single retelling.
If I have questions that can’t be answered by Scripture (cultural setting, geography, sociological data), I’m off to Multnomah University’s library. The Lord has been gracious and placed my husband in a position of either student or professor since 2000. Both roles have given me access to graduate-level databases and research librarians who have been generous with their time and talents. I go in with a list of questions, and the research librarian at Multnomah returns with a list of books (or sometimes an actual STACK of books) that keeps me busy reading, copying, and filing for weeks.
To synthesize all the information, I use good, old-fashioned 3-ring binders; and I’ve recently begun using Microsoft OneNote. There’s a great website, gettyimages.com, where I find pictures of people I imagine as my characters. I grab a face from there and stare at it as I write a scene. Authors are creepy, ya know.
3. What special challenges and joys do you find when writing about biblical characters?
The challenge is the same as the joy. It’s believability. In order for a novel to be compelling, the story must be believable. It’s a challenge because though God’s Word is true; it’s unbelievable much of the time. Let’s face it—God is unbelievable! He deals in the miraculous!
And that’s what makes it a joy! It’s a challenge to write a novel that readers won’t set aside as “contrived.” But it’s a tremendous joy and privilege to write a novel that magnifies the wonder of God.
4. How have you, personally, been moved/changed because of your study of biblical people and their stories?
Have you heard the phrase, “The teacher always learns more than the students?” I think the same applies to authors of novels.
When I wrote Love Amid the Ashes, I was forced to revisit my own feelings of anger at God when I was diagnosed with two chronic illnesses. When Job railed at God, Mesu was railing at God. The lessons Noghala taught, were boiled down from what I learned. The books are an extension of my walk with my Savior.
The same is true for Love’s Sacred Song. When Solomon tries to do the right thing but fails in his own efforts, that’s my failure talking. When the shepherdess offers her pure and holy love, but Solomon prefers the bright lights and big city—that’s Mesu refusing to set aside quiet time for Jesus. And when the Beloved describes her love as strong, unyielding, blazing, and mighty—that’s the kind of love that held Jesus on the cross for me…and for you. Yes, writing biblical fiction changes me.
5. Are your plans to stay within the genre of biblical fiction, and continue these books? (Yes, please?!) : )
Absolutely! So far, Revell agrees with me! They’ve contracted two more.
Love in a Broken Vessel is scheduled to release March 2013, telling the story of Hosea and Gomer—Can Hosea’s faith overpower Gomer’s unfaithfulness?
Love’s Saving Light is scheduled to release March 2014, telling the story of Queen Athaliah and Baby Joash—Even Jezebel’s daughter can’t snuff out the last king on David’s throne.
Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to share a bit with your readers! If anyone would like to keep in touch, they can visit my website @ http://www.mesuandrews.com/. Or sign up for free weekly e-devotionals @ http://www.mesuandrews.com/deep-o-tionals-2/acts-of-the-apostles/. Also, I’ve added pictures of a potential “Solomon” and “Arielah” to my Pinterest Board for Character Faces…check it out and leave a comment! Or give your own suggestions!
Thank you for letting me share my friend and her book with you!