When you walk into a bookstore, you make a beeline for what section?
Cards. I know I’m supposed to say books, and that’s my second stop, but I LOVE cards! Birthday cards, Thinking-of-You cards, Anniversary cards—I just love reading them. Weirdo, I know.
Favorite place to write:
The Outer Banks. For the past couple of years, about five writer friends and I have taken a one-week getaway to rent a house on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. We write ALL DAY and sometimes late into the night, but we always take time to watch the sunset together. We pray for each other through the year and keep in touch about our current projects. It’s been a huge blessing in sort of a lonely profession.
Go-to writing snack or drink:
Coffee, protein bars, and smoothies. It’s what I live on.
What does your writing nook look like?
I have about 3 places in my house that I write. The one pictured is my recliner in the living room. I’m balancing a bowl of Ramen (another staple in my diet) on one leg, my Bible on the arm of the chair, and my laptop on…well, on my lap. Got my slippers on and my head in the story. Because I sometimes write for sometimes 12-14 hours a day (when on deadline), my writing spots all involve cushions and comfort. My other favorites are the back-porch swing and my recliner in the loft of our log cabin. My desk is used mainly to stack junk mail.
Something you must do or have to write:
Coffee—with sugar-free hazelnut creamer.
Favorite (doesn’t that word just make you cringe?) writer resource:
If you mean “writer resource” as in a book on the craft of writing, my new favorite is Don Maass’s The Emotional Craft of Fiction. I couldn’t have written the difficult cast of characters in Isaiah’s Legacy (King Manasseh and others) without it. If you mean resource for the biblical research, that’s MUCH easier: LOGOS Bible software. Hands down THE best investment I’ve ever made.
What book is currently on your nightstand?
Jerusalem’s Queen by Angela Hunt and Heaven by Randy Alcorn
Hard copy, e-reader, audio book:
Audiobook these days since I have so little time to read for pleasure. When I do have time, I like switching between paper and e-reader.
What was the inspiration behind Of Fire and Lions?
I’d always thought the story of Daniel would be a FANTASTIC book, but my preliminary research said he and his three friends (Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego) were likely made eunuchs when they were taken to Babylon (2 Kings 20:18). When the idea of Daniel’s story wouldn’t go away, I dug deeper into the Hebrew word used for eunuch and found out it could also mean chief official—as it did when describing Potiphar in Genesis 37:36. Daniel suddenly became the most eligible bachelor in my next novel!
Favorite part of writing Of Fire and Lions:
Re-discovering the God of miracles. Re-awakening to the awe and wonder that Daniel’s God is my God and still holds that same power!
Hardest part of writing Of Fire and Lions:
Deadlines. 2018 was an exceptionally difficult year. I allowed myself to become overcommitted, and my deadlines for OFL fell right around the time our eldest daughter was due with twins! I finished my line edits at her house the night after the babies were born! Very tough to concentrate, but the book is dedicated to those precious grand babies, and y’all will find two sets of twins in the story. LOL! I had twins on the brain that whole year!
If Of Fire and Lions was turned into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?
If any of my books NEEDS to be a movie, it’s OFL! We’ve got the three guys walking around in the fiery furnace with God (Dan. 3), Nebuchadnezzar turning into a beast (Dan. 4), and Daniel in the lions’ den (Dan. 6). Action packed! The lead role? Ryan Gosling. Strong, silent type that when he smiles…it really means something.
What is next?
Isaiah’s Legacy, the sequel to Isaiah’s Daughter releases in March 2020—the same time as a reader tour to Israel that my hubby and I are hosting! Isaiah’s Legacy continues the story of Queen Hephzibah, and in this book we meet her son, King Manasseh—the wickedest king in all of Israel/Judah’s history. Traveling to Israel around the 2020 release will give us the chance to actually see many of the locations mentioned in Isaiah’s Legacy as well as locations from my other novels. Registration for the trip begins soon after Of Fire and Lion releases. Readers can visit my website for more details.
What else would you like readers to know?
My hubby and I will soon be moving from our log cabin to an in-law suite in our younger daughter’s basement. It’s a huge life change but one that we’re all looking forward to. Our older daughter’s in-laws live in their basement, so we’re realistic about the joys and challenges. We raised our two daughters in a town surrounded by Amish farms. Our girls attended public school with Amish children whose home life included their grandparents in a “dawdi haus” built onto the main house or right beside it. We’ve always loved the concept of multi-generational living. I’ve never been interested in writing Amish fiction (since we know too many real stories), but we’re trying to implement some of that healthy simplicity that makes those stories so appealing.
About the Story:
Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She thought she’d perfected in the many years amongst the Magoi and the idol worshippers, pretending with all the others in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Now, as Daniel’s wife and a septuagenarian matriarch, Belili thinks she’s safe and she can live out her days in Babylon without fear–until the night Daniel is escorted to Belshazzar’s palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. The Persian Army invades, and Bellili’s tightly-wound secrets unfurl with the arrival of the conquering army. What will the reign of Darius mean for Daniel, a man who prays to Yahweh alone?
Ultimately, Yahweh’s sovereign hand guides Jerusalem’s captives, and the frightened Hebrew girl is transformed into a confident woman, who realizes her need of the God who conquers both fire and lions.
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