Sunday, March 20, 2016

Interview with Mesu Andrews and giveaway!!!

Ms. Andrews is kindly offering to giveaway a copy of Miriam to one commenter. Answer the question to be included in the giveaway. Please include contact information.

Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write biblical novels because I love to study God’s Word. When I first started writing, I wrote devotionals and Bible studies, but it soon became obvious that no editor wanted to publish anything by a nobody pastor’s wife from Indiana. When I spoke at conferences and retreats, I often elaborated on the culture and characters in familiar Bible passages to bring the stories alive to audiences. After hearing a presentation, my friend suggested I write my Bible studies as novels. Being the Bible-snob I was, I dismissed her idea because no serious Bible student would read a novel to learn, right? (insert rolling-eyed smiley) I thank the Lord often for my friend’s—well, um—nagging.
She wouldn’t let it go and one day took a cheap shot. “Do you think you’re a better teacher than Jesus? Because He used parables to teach, ya know.” Everyone needs a friend like that. I’ve been studying and writing biblical novels ever since—and I love it! And readers tell me often that they learn a lot from my…parables.

How has being published changed your life?
It’s funny you asked that! My husband just asked me this morning how my life would be different if I didn’t write anymore. I told him I’d always write. Blogs, letters, journals—I have to write. It’s become a part of my DNA. If I go for a day or two without creating some sort of document (either handwritten or on my computer), I’m too grumpy to live with! But actually being published has changed my schedule of writing. Now I write at all hours of the day and night when a deadline looms. If I’m in story-creation mode, I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night to jot down a scene—sometimes on toilet paper.
After being published, I have more non-writing responsibilities too. I seldom get on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter just to play. When I read a book, it’s always biblical fiction and always to be reviewed for my newsletter. (It’s a good thing I love biblical fiction!) These aren’t bad things, just different than they used to be. I’m blessed and honored to serve God in this precious season of publishing. I’m sure I won’t always have this opportunity, so I’m enjoying this crazy, taxing, and wonderful schedule while I’m in it.

What are you reading right now?
I’m reading A.D. 33 by Ted Dekker. It’s excellent. I read A.D. 30 last summer, and the continuation of Maviah’s story is just as good as the first. Highly recommend it! I try hard to read as many of the current release biblical novels as possible to support my fellow authors and the genre in general. Honestly, I just plain love biblical novels.

What is your current work in progress?
Right now, I’m working on a short prequel to Miriam that will be offered as a free download for folks who have already pre-ordered or who order Miriam during the first week of release. It fills in details of Moses’s life between the end of The Pharaoh’s Daughter, when Moses was a young soldier of eighteen, to his fortieth year when he killed the Egyptian for beating a Hebrew slave (Exodus 2:11-12). Readers will get a little deeper insight into Moses’s birth mother, Jochebed, in this one.

Tell us about Miriam – a brief blurb:
Enter an exotic land where a cruel Pharaoh reigns, pagan priests wield black arts, and the Israelites cry out to a God they only think they know
At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites.
Miriam and her beloved family face an impossible choice: cling to familiar bondage or embrace uncharted freedom at an unimaginable cost. Even if the Hebrews survive the plagues set to turn the Nile to blood and unleash a maelstrom of frogs and locusts, can they weather the resulting fury of the Pharaoh?

Is there one particular message or “moral of the story” you hope readers walk away with?
Miriam is a book about questions. Every character, including those we think of as heroes of the faith, struggle with and question God. It’s my hope that when readers finish this book, they’ll not only accept that there are unanswerable questions about our infinite God, but they’ll also celebrate with awe a God who works beyond their finite solutions. I’ve come to realize that if I could figure God out, I wouldn’t need Him.

Answer this question to be included in the giveaway 
Is there a Miriam in your life—a spunky senior saint who loves God ferociously and has held fast to Him through good days and bad? Tell us about her here.

Tell us about your research process.
I begin by reading all pertinent passages from Scripture again and again and again. For Miriam this was a simple process since the story takes place mostly within Exodus 3-15. After feeling sure of the biblical truths and character’s personal journeys, I move to the archeological and historical resources. My hubby is the academic dean at Multnomah Biblical Seminary, so I’m blessed to have access to Multnomah’s extensive library and scholarly databases worldwide. The research librarian there, Suzanne Smith, is also very helpful in the early stages. I can give her a specific topic, time period, and location (i.e. weather patterns, 1250 BCE, Egypt’s Delta region), and she replies with a list of books as long as my right arm!
After two to four months of compiling biblical Truth and historical facts into three-ring binders and filing software, I’m ready to let the creative juices flow. I’ve become more of an outliner with each book. My first novel was strictly “seat-of-the-pants” writing, letting the story take me wherever it went, but as I’ve learned more about writing, I’ve enjoyed mapping out the story and characters with a little more forethought. Creative fiction becomes the mortar that seals together the biblical Truth and historical facts. The rough draft usually takes six to eight months from research to last chapter.

What impact did your research have on you personally?
I was fascinated by the scientific possibilities of the plagues, especially after reading one particular book: The Miracles of Exodus: A Scientist’s Discovery of the Extraordinary Natural Causes of the Biblical Stories, by Colin Humphreys. As a believer, Sir Humphreys gives plausible scientific reasons for the plagues, and I realized there was just enough natural evidence to give Pharaoh reason to harden his heart. Was it blood or red algae in the Nile? God’s people know it was blood—because the Bible says so—but those determined NOT to see God would swear it was algae. Did the second plague of frogs occur because they were driven from the river by the blood/algae, or were the inordinate number of frogs another sign of God’s overarching power?
God seems to provide just enough reason to choose unbelief—for those who are determined to harden their hearts. Conversely, for those who want to believe, He shows them exactly the same circumstance as proof of His power and presence. I realized that even stupendous miracles require a measure of faith.

Where do you like to write?
My favorite place to write is on our little mountain property. Hubby built a small shed on it last summer, but before that, I stayed in a friend’s cabin nearby our property. It’s six miles off-grid, completely isolated. No running water, but we have electricity (propane-generated), internet, and a battery-flushable toilet. What more could a girl need, right?
In order to write new storyline, I need large chunks of uninterrupted time. I can’t get that at home, so it’s off to the mountain I go! The silence is mesmerizing. I can write more on the mountain in a week than I can write at home in a month. We’re hoping to finish the inside of our little “shed” this spring so I can begin to stay there for my writing retreats and take our dog, Zeke. He’s my best buddy—and the inspiration for the dog you’ll meet in Miriam.

Author Biography for

Mesu Andrews


Mesu
          Andrews 2014--Nicole White of Nic White Photography.jpgMesu Andrews is an award-winning author and speaker who has devoted herself to passionate and intense study of Scripture. As the daughter of a Quaker and a Charismatic Protestant, Andrews’ personal testimony describes how her unusual spiritual heritage led her to initially reject God. Her life changed however, when an old high school friend shared with her the Gospel message and challenged her to begin exploring the Bible for herself. 

As her desire for God’s Word grew, so did her passion for uncovering the truths found in Scripture. Andrews began teaching at Christian women’s conferences until chronic illness made frequent travel impossible. In that season of brokenness, she began digging deeper into the Bible, which stirred her curiosity about biblical characters and their stories. Andrews’ approach to writing biblical novels is wrapped in awe for God’s Word and a deliberate and careful examination of historical details. The result is a vivid and mesmerizing retelling of some of the most treasured narratives in Scripture.

Mesu Andrews’ understanding of and love for God’s Word brings the biblical world alive for her readers. Her first novel, Love Amid the Ashes won the 2012 ECPA Book of the Year for a Debut Author. Her three subsequent novels, Love’s Sacred Song, Love in a Broken Vessel, and In the Shadow of Jezebel all released to great reader enthusiasm.

In her highly anticipated sixth novel and the follow-up to the 2015 release of The Pharaoh’s Daughter, Andrews transports readers to the end of Israel’s 430 years of slavery under Egyptian rule. Miriam: A Treasures of the Nile Novel (WaterBrook Press, March 15, 2016) centers on Israel’s prophetess and the sister of Moses as she grapples with her brother’s return and his role as God’s chosen vessel. Will Miriam continue to trust God and does He still have a place for her as Israel stands on the brink of freedom?
Andrews has enjoyed 30 years of marriage to her husband Roy, who incidentally, was the old high school friend who introduced her to the truth of Jesus Christ. They live in the Pacific Northwest and have two adult daughters.

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8 comments:

Melissa Henderson said...

Yes, I have a "Miriam" in my life, actually several of them. But, one special lady is named Barbara. She and her husband have their own health issues and life concerns. Yet, she is always uplifting our family and other families with her love of God, her caring, understanding, and nonjudgmental words. I pray that I will show God's love like Barbara shows His love. :-)

Linda Moffitt said...

Yes and No I have Miriams they are not seniors though Thanks for sharing with us and for the chance to win iamabho (at) gmail.com

Aimee Seasons said...

I have had several Miriam's in my life. One lady in particular from church stands out. And although we don't always see eye to eye, I know if I need her she would be available and I could go to her if I needed help. She has kind of been a second mom to me since my mother is far away.
I have heard alot of good things about this book. Would love to win of course.
amylsmith AT bledsoe DOT net

Caryl Kane said...

I currently have two "Miriam's" in my life! I am so grateful to the Lord for bringing them into my life!

psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

deana dick said...

I do have a Miriam in my life. She is younger than I am but I am si blessed to be part of her life. I met her through Facebook . I work with her doing blog tours and reviews for her. She is always uplifting and encouraging. We began to form a friendship as I started on her team and it has blossomed into a friendship that I treasure. We may live miles apart but we text each other most days. When one of us is having a bad day we can always count on the other to step up and send encouraging messages. I am blessed that I found her and love how she puts God first.
Deana
Jhdwayne(at)peoplepc(dot)com

Colleen said...

Mary is still going strong in her 90's. Her husband died a few years back, and she longs to be with him.
She is always happy to share a story of their life together. Married over 65 years, they had lots of opportunities to rely on The Lord.
Cxmoody at gmail dot com

Christina Miller said...

Hello from another nobody pastor's wife from Indiana! My Miriam was my best friend's mother. She truly lived by faith. Would love to have a few like her in our church!

lollipops said...

congratulations to Deana!