Tuesday, March 31, 2015

THE PHARAOH'S DAUGHTER - Mesu Andrews - One Free Book

Bio: Mesu 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 fifth novel, Andrews transports readers to the fertile and often turbulent world of ancient Egypt. The Pharaoh’s Daughter is an intimate and richly complex portrayal of the woman who drew Moses out of the water and claimed him as her own. Its elaborate detail will leave readers transfixed; its pace will no doubt leave them breathless. Andrews says, “I love to write about the shadowy women of God’s Word, those whom Scripture leaves nameless but who’ve made such an impact on the heroes of our faith.”

Andrews has enjoyed 30 years of marriage to her husband Roy, who incidentally, was the old high school friend who rescued her with the transforming truth of Jesus Christ. They live in the Pacific Northwest and have two adult daughters.

Welcome back, Mesu. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
Oh, Lena, you’re asking me to do something I seldom do—dream. The Pharaoh’s Daughter is the first of two books in The Treasures of the Nile series. Miriam (working title) is the second book in the series, and I’ve just finished that rough draft. These books are the first continuation series I’ve done and the last of my contracted books, so I’m not sure what comes next. I’d love to pick up where Miriam leaves off (after the exodus and crossing the Red Sea) and follow the Israelites to Sinai and into Canaan…but we’ll see what the Lord has in store!

Tell us a little about your family.
My sweet hubby, Roy, is the academic dean at Multnomah Biblical Seminary, and we’re both big Indianapolis Colts fans. We’ve known each other since third grade—though we didn’t start dating until we were sophomores in college. He’s the reason I know Jesus personally, the one who led me to Christ (after we’d been dating for about six weeks. (We’re a testimony that dating evangelism can work. Tee-hee.) We have two married daughters and six grandbabies, who live entirely too far away, so we’re racking up frequent flier miles! I sorely miss my Rotti-pitbull, who died of cancer about a year ago, and I hope to get another four-legged friend this summer.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Absolutely! I had never read a biblical novel (any novel—except as required reading in high school) until I attended my first writer’s conference. I was a non-fiction gal, hoping to write and publish Bible studies and devotionals, using fiction as a tool like Jesus’s parables. In one of my conference critiques, the editor told me to write one or the other—fiction or non-fiction—and if I was going to write biblical novels, I should start with The Red Tent. It was one of very few biblical novels available in 2001 since few had been published in the Christian market, so I read LOTS of general market biblicals—and was horrified at what was done to God’s Word. Now, I read almost exclusively biblical novels in the CBA market and promote as many other authors in this genre as I can. It’s my prayer that readers won’t need to read a general market biblical novel to gain insights into God’s Word. It makes more sense to read authors who are guided by the same Holy Spirit that inspired the text of Scripture.

That is so true. What are you working on right now?
I’m working on Miriam, the second book of The Treasures of the Nile series (Waterbrook/Multnomah). It has been such a fun challenge. When I first pitched the project to my editor, she laughed and said, “Even I’m bored. How are you going to make Miriam—an eighty-six year-old single prophetess—exciting?” Well! I assure you…ten plagues and the confirmed-bachelor Eleazar (who meets a lovely harem slave) spice up the plot with enough romance and spiritual lessons to keep us on our toes. The research into the plagues has been fascinating, and the realization that the Israelites—including Miriam—didn’t truly KNOW Yahweh until He began revealing Himself through the plagues has been a wonderful personal journey for me. I think that’s what I love most about writing biblical novels. I learn as much or more than the characters in our familiar Bible stories.

What outside interests do you have?
I love the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. My husband and I had lived in the cornfields and flat lands of Indiana our whole lives until he accepted a teaching position at Multnomah University in 2007. A few years later, the Lord plopped an amazing gift into our laps—a small mountain property in the foothills. At age forty-seven, I camped in a tent for the first time in my life. Granted, I had a battery bank to power a mini-refrigerator, laptop, and a box fan, but hubby and I cooked over a fire and let the beauty of the Pacific Northwest seep into our bones. I’m hooked. We hope to someday build a cabin, but for now we’re enjoying the quiet beauty of our little patch of NW foothills.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
The settings for my books are largely determined by Scripture; however, oftentimes archeologists disagree on key sites. As I read several resources on the geographical area in question, patterns form, and the setting for the story emerges as I study the historical accounts. For instance, in The Pharaoh’s Daughter, the excavated city of Avaris is believed to have been the biblical city of Rameses. Recent archeological evidence offers rough layouts for that city dating back to 1500-1200 BC. Using those rough drawings, I added a little imagination to situate the slave villages of the Hebrews to create the area our Bibles refer to as Goshen—sort of a pauper’s community on the outskirts of the larger Egyptian metropolis. Is my setting exactly as it was during biblical times? Probably not, but it simulates the culture, the climate, and the geography of the time—and hopefully transports the reader into ancient Egypt. That’s the most important thing.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
I think the Sunday school answer is “Jesus,” right? Wouldn’t we all love to see Him, touch Him, hear Him, etc.? Someday that will happen…but if I must choose someone other than Jesus, it would be one of two women—either Eve or Mary (mother of Jesus). Each of them knew God intimately in their human experience. They walked with Him, talked with Him, loved Him with a physical presence that I can only dream of in eternity. What would it have been like to “walk with God in the cool of the Garden” as Eve did—before she was marred by sin? What would it have been like to wipe a tear from Jesus’s eye when He skinned His knee, to comfort the One who would one day comfort all humankind? These women experienced God as no other human beings ever did, and I can’t wait to hear of their experience.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
I wish I had known the importance of each word in a story. A single word can set a mood, convey deeper meaning, or send a reader’s heart racing. Word choice is an art that the best authors hone with forethought and care. Some of my harshest reviews resulted from my careless choice of a single word or phraseology. God’s Word warns us that the power of the tongue can kill or destroy, and I’ve seen the power of a single word do the same.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
As I said, I learn the lessons of my characters, and right now I’m writing the rough draft of Miriam. One of the characters was trudging and complaining through the wilderness after crossing the Red Sea. Then he looked at the pillar of cloud ahead of him and felt convicted, thinking, if I insist on viewing the holy as common, I’m doomed to a life of hopelessness.

This lesson hit me between the eyes. God’s presence indwells me through His Holy Spirit, so I experience little miracles everyday simply because of His constant Presence—whether I acknowledge those miracles or not. If I insist on viewing those holy encounters as common, I’m doomed to hopelessness. If, on the other hand, I recognize the holy in my daily existence, even the flight of a sparrow can offer hope on a difficult day.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Write something meaningful everyday. Whether it’s for a blog post or in a prayer journal, write something that demands clarity and the process of a beginning, middle, and end. Don’t let it become mechanical. Let it flow from the heart as the Holy Spirit gives you the words. Write it immediately after your quiet time with the Lord. When I stopped writing for publication, I got published. I began working on craft and gave up hope of EVER getting published—that’s when the doors opened. MY desire was to publish Bible studies and devotionals. God’s desire was that I write novels. When I let go of my agenda, He gave me the thing I never knew I wanted. Now, I love writing fiction and can’t imagine writing anything else! His ways are not our ways. They’re infinitely better.

Tell us about the featured book.
Anippe has grown up in the shadows of Egypt’s good god Pharaoh, aware that Anubis, god of the afterlife, may take her or her siblings at any moment. She watched him snatch her mother and infant brother during childbirth, a moment which awakens in her a terrible dread of ever bearing a child. Now she is to be become the bride of Sebak, a kind but quick-tempered Captain of Pharaoh Tut’s army. In order to provide Sebak the heir he deserves and yet protect herself from the underworld gods, Anippe must launch a series of deceptions, even involving the Hebrew midwives—women ordered by Tut to drown the sons of their own people in the Nile.

When she finds a baby floating in a basket on the great river, Anippe believes Egypt’s gods have answered her pleas, entrenching her more deeply in deception and placing her and her son Mehy, whom handmaiden Miriam calls Moses, in mortal danger.

As bloodshed and savage politics shift the balance of power in Egypt, the gods reveal their fickle natures and Anippe wonders if her son, a boy of Hebrew blood, could one day become king. Or does the god of her Hebrew servants, the one they call El Shaddai, have a different plan—for them all?

Please give us the first page of the book.
The royal linen closet is a dark hiding place, but I’m a big girl—almost five Inundations old—so I’m trying not to be afraid.

I wonder…is it dark in the underworld? Was my Ummi Kiya afraid when she and the baby inside her crossed over this morning?

The priest ordered me and my little sister to the birthing chamber. Ankhe is only three. She wouldn’t go.

The priest was angry, so he came to our chamber and grabbed Ankhe’s hand. “You must see the beauty of Tawaret—goddess of childbirth!”

Instead, we saw Ummi Kiya’s blood poured out on the straw under her birthing stool. Her light-brown skin was white as milk. The midwives pulled out a baby boy, but he was as gray as granite.

The angry priest wasn’t angry anymore. He knelt before Ankhe and me. “Anubis, god of the underworld, has stolen their breath. I’m sorry.”

I ran from the birthing chamber, screaming, before Anubis could steal my breath too.

I’ve been hiding a long time because Anubis might still be hunting. He knows my name, Meryetaten-tasherit. It’s hard to understand, but I’m called a decoy—named after Queen Nefertiti’s daughter Meryetaten to confuse Anubis should he prowl the palace grounds. If I stay in this linen wardrobe all day and night, perhaps the dark god will take the Great Wife’s daughter instead.

Nefertiti, the Great Wife, hates me because Abbi Akhenaten loved my mother. Ummi Kiya was his Beloved Wife, and she gave him a son—my brother, Tutankhamun.

Intriguing. How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Mesu, for sharing your life and this new book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Pharaoh's Daughter - Christianbook.com
The Pharaoh's Daughter: A Treasures of the Nile Novel - Amazon
The Pharaoh's Daughter: A Treasures of the Nile Novel - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

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Caryl Kane said...

Thank you for the fantastic interview with Mesu Andrews. She is a new-to-me author. Biblical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I would love to read THE PHARAOH'S DAUGHTER.

Caryl in TEXAS

Mesu Andrews said...

Hi Caryl!
It's always nice to meet new readers. Lena asks the best questions, doesn't she? Blessings on your week!

grapenutquilter said...

First met Mesu at Camp Mack in Milford, Indiana at a church retreat. Got hooked on her devotions and now her books.

Melanie Backus said...

Would love to read Mesu's book! Thank you for a great interview.

Melanie Backus, TX

Shelley Kirkpatrick said...

I have loved Mesu Andrews other books and this was a great interview! Thank you for sharing with us!

Shelley from Ohio

In the midst of her said...

Greetings all the way from NJ. This is joy thanking you for a great interview and a chance to win a wonderful book!

Lisa Cassarino said...

Thank you, Mesu, for sharing your God given gift of writing biblical novels that stay true to biblical history. I've read the 1st 4 of your novels and look forward to read your newest one, The Pharoah's Daughter.

Lisa Cassarino said...

Thank you, Mesu, for sharing your God given gift of writing biblical novels that stay true to biblical history. I've read the 1st 4 of your novels and look forward to read your newest one, The Pharoah's Daughter.

Stephanie Jenkins said...

Thank you for the giveaway. Greetings from Ohio.

KayM said...

I love the interview, especially where Mesu was telling about God's presence in us. Thank you for offering a copy of The Pharaoh's Daughter.

Anonymous said...

Yes!Yes!Yes! Can't wait for this! Enter me!!!!
J.C. -Indiana-

Trixi said...

The Pharaoh's Daughter sounds like a fascinating read! I really like authors who can speculate what biblical characters were thinking, feeling, how they live day by day! Mesu, I love how you shared about your extensive research in this interview! You really take the time to try to be authentic to scripture & put your own fictional thoughts into it. It would be fascinating to delve into biblical research...the traditions, life-styles, foods, architecture, etc! I bet you could lose yourself in it! So fun :-) Enjoyed the excerpt of the book, I know I would love this story. Never really thought about the Pharaoh's daughter. What a journey you could take through your book! Thanks for sharing today. It was great to meet you, happy researching & blessings on your next book!
Trixi on the Oregon Coast

P.S. If you read this, what part of the Pacific Northwest do you live? I can say "Hi Neighbor" :-)

megandaline said...

The Pharaoh's Daughter is a great read, and my favorite of Mesu Andrew's books. Thanks for the chance to win a copy to share with friends!

Britney Adams said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful interview and giveaway. I would love to read The Pharaoh's Daughter!

Britney Adams, TX

kam110476 said...

Hi Mesu & Lena! Ohmygosh! I feel like a total fangirl right now! I've only read the first three books in your Treasures series so far but I own all your books except Pharaoh's Daughter and I love your writing - including your blog! I get so emotional just remembering certain scenes in the books! I'm sure This one will be no different!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Sherry Cockerham said...

This will be an awesome read. I am new to Mesu books but love the exerpt I read. This will be a must read. Thank you for the opportunity.

Mary Preston said...

This is a must read for me. Ticks all the boxes.

Mary P


EJ said...

Thank you for the great interview with Mesu Andrews. I love reading her books - they make the scriptures come alive. Elaine in Iowa

Deanna Stevens said...

You have my attention! I'd love to read this.. thanks for a chance to win a copy. Dee S from Nebr.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in this awesome giveaway!!
Conway, SC.

Sheila Deeth said...

My copy is sitting on my desk, and I'm eagerly looking forward to reading and reviewing it. Thank you for this great interview.

Mesu Andrews said...

Oh my, "grapenutquilter," that was a long time ago! I'd love to know your name (email me!).

Thanks Melanie, Shelley, and Joy for saying "HI!" Lisa, I'm thrilled you've read my other four books! How fun! Hope you get to read this one too. ;)

Hello to Stephanie from OH and J.C. from IN (my home state! Woot!). And thanks, KayM, for sharing how the interview touched your heart. You're a blessing. ;)

Mesu Andrews said...

Trixi, I spent the weekend doing a ladies retreat at Cannon Beach, but I live in Vancouver, WA. Howdy, neighbor! ;)

Thanks for stopping by Britney! Megan and Kristen, you two are such encouragers! I wish I could carry you around in my pocket for those "writer's block" days. ;)

Nice to "meet" you here, Sherry. I love Lena's blog because I often get to meet new folks.

Mesu Andrews said...

Hi Mary! I love my Aussie readers!

Elaine, thanks so much for your encouragement. I'm thrilled that my books send you back to God's Word!

Glad to get your attention, Dee! Thanks for stopping by, Sharon. ;)

Sheila, thanks for agreeing to review the book. Let me know when your review goes live! Blessings!

Bookishqueen said...

I have been excited to read this for a while now!

Rebekah TN

Mesu Andrews said...

Oooh, I hope you get the chance to read it, Rebekah! Keep in touch. ;)

Abigail Richmond said...

I love biblical fiction. Please enter me!

Blanch, NC

Melissa M. said...

I'd like to read this! I've never read a book by Mesu Andrews, and it sounds fascinating.

-Melissa M. in TN

Mesu Andrews said...

You know, Abigail, you'd think I'd get tired of biblical fiction (since it's all I write), but it's all I read. I LOVE IT TOO!!!

Hi, Melissa! Nice to "meet" you here! Blessings! ;)

BJM said...

The introduction is gripping. I would love to read the rest of this novel.

rubynreba said...

The Pharaoh's Daughter sounds very good! Enjoyed the interview.
Beth from IA

Sierra Faith said...

I love Biblical Fiction books!!!!


Lisa Cassarino said...

Lisa cassarino, Tom a River, NJ

Deanna Stevens said...

I'd love to read The Pharaoh's Daughter, Lovely cover !
Dee from NE

Mesu Andrews said...

Thanks for your encouragement on the intro, BJM!

Glad you enjoyed the interview, Beth.

Sierra, I was an Indiana girl all my life (until 2007)--maybe there's something in the water that makes us love biblical fiction. ;)

Thanks for stopping by, Lisa, and I love the cover, too, Dee. Waterbrook did a FABULOUS job!

Anonymous said...

Love to win Mesu's book!Shelia from Mississippi

sm said...

This book sounds wonderful; I like how you have developed the character who snatched Moses from the bulrushes in his basket. sm CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Bonnie Roof said...

I loved the interview, Mesu and Lena - thank you!!

I love biblical fiction, haven't read any of Mesu's novels and would love to read "The Pharaoh's Daughter" - thanks for the giveaway opportunity!!

Bonnie in Kentucky

Mesu Andrews said...

Thanks for stopping by, Sheila!

SM from CA already has some of the drama from the story--did you hear it, "the character who SNATCHED Moses from the bulrushes." Great word! You should write fiction! ;)

Nice to "meet" you here, Bonnie. Always fun to meet new readers!