Tuesday, April 08, 2014

THE QUEEN'S HANDMAID - Tracy L Higley - One Free Book, Plus more

Bio: Tracy L. Higley started her first novel at age eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. She has authored many novels, including Garden of Madness and So Shines the Night. Tracy is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Ancient History and has traveled through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Italy, researching her novels and falling into adventures. 

Welcome back, Tracy. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I’m excited to be writing novels set in ancient times, but outside traditional biblical fiction. By focusing on pagan cultures and characters, I hope to give readers a window into the ancient world through their eyes. So many of us are very knowledgeable about biblical history, and specifically the history of the nation of Israel. But we don’t always have clear connection points, tying those Old Testament stories with the rest of “World History” we learned years ago. Were the pyramids built when Joseph was in Egypt? What did the Jewish people think about Julius Caesar? How did displaced Jews worship in Greece before the time of Christ? I love having the opportunity to open up the rest of the ancient world for readers, but from a biblical worldview. And my goal with every book I write is to transport readers to that world. While they are on this journey with me, I hope to teach a little bit of history, entertain with a great suspense plot, and also provoke thought about the deeper issues addressed in the book, including what the gospel means for every person, in every time.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
That’s a tough question! There are so many points of joy along the journey, including marriage and the births of my children, and the moments of personal success like having books published.

How has being published changed your life?
Certainly it is validation that I have some skill with the written word, which is very nice. But more than anything, I would say it’s given me an even greater drive and desire to improve, to find creative and effective ways to share truth with people, to listen to what it is God wants to say through me. That desire grows with the readership.

What are you reading right now?
I’m currently reading a children’s book, The Land of Stories, because my 11 year old just finished it and wanted me to read it, too! On my read-next list: Second Birth by Jack Althouse.

What is your current work in progress?
I’m currently working on a trilogy of novellas, tracing the journey of the magi from their Persian origins, across the desert on an epic quest. It won’t be your typical Christmas story by any means!

Sounds interesting. I'd love to feature it on my blog. What would be your dream vacation?
My dream vacation would combine research/learning with leisure, and I’ve actually already taken several of these while researching my books. I’ve traveled to Greece, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Jordan, and Italy in the past few years, digging up research and having a great time.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
It’s actually the settings that fascinate me most, and are the place where I begin. I’m working my way through the ancient world, exploring each culture in turn, and the settings are choosing me!

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I’d love to sit over coffee and talk books and myth and history with Stephen Lawhead.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Besides writing, I also run an internet retail company, selling craft and hobby supplies online. I enjoy working on the marketing, promotion, and analysis of the company, finding ways to improve. I also love the opera, and try to get to the Met’s HD broadcast in our local IMAX theater every month.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I think the toughest part most days is getting started. There are so many things, good things, to distract or suck up the time. And because writing is hard, I tend to stall, trying to avoid the effort that it takes. Some days I don’t overcome this obstacle! But mostly, it’s the deadlines that drive me to “just do it.”

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Learn, learn, learn! There are a multitude of opportunities out there, from books to conferences to other writers, that can help you learn about the craft of writing. You may have been born with talent, but you have to learn how to use it well. Work hard at learning, put the knowledge into practice by writing, and you will make progress.

Tell us about the featured book.
The Queen’s Handmaid is just out! From the servant halls of Cleopatra’s Egyptian palace to the courts of Herod the Great, Lydia will serve two queens to see prophecy fulfilled.

Orphaned at birth, Lydia was raised as a servant in Cleopatra's palace, working hard to please while keeping everyone at arm's length. She's been rejected and left with a broken heart too many times in her short life.

But then her dying mentor entrusts her with secret writings of the prophet Daniel and charges her to deliver this vital information to those watching for the promised King of Israel. Lydia must leave the nearest thing she’s had to family and flee to Jerusalem. Once in the Holy City, she attaches herself to the newly appointed king, Herod the Great, as handmaid to Queen Mariamme.

Trapped among the scheming women of Herod’s political family—his sister, his wife, and their mothers—and forced to serve in the palace to protect her treasure, Lydia must deliver the scrolls before dark forces warring against the truth destroy all hope of the coming Messiah.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Alexandria, Egypt
January, 39 BC
Lydia detached herself from the surge of chaos in the palace kitchens and slipped along the shadowed corridor, to a door in the south wall where a few coins would finally find their way into her palm. If she was not caught.

The shouts had come thirty minutes earlier. The Idumean governor of the north-country province of Israel was navigating his ship into the royal port. Slaves assigned to watch the darkening harbor scuttled back to the palace.

In the kitchens, Banafrit was barking commands at her frantic staff, her voice a whip-crack over slaves and servants alike who scurried to do her bidding. But Lydia’s presence was neither needed nor expected there, and her secret errand would not wait. She risked a beating, or worse, but it was not the first time.

From somewhere in the cavernous palace came a haunting melody plucked on lyre strings, but the gray walls of the darkened corridor tunneled away from the sound to the south wall. Lydia sped forward on sure feet, sandals scuffing the stone floors. She could navigate these halls in darkness, and often did, to be alone with her thoughts.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Please visit me at www.TracyHigley.com!  I’ve filled this site chock-full with my travel journals to the locations of my books, plus videos and photos, lots of information on what’s fact and fiction in my books, and much more.  My website also has links to my Facebook Page. I hope you’ll visit!

Tracy L. Higley is celebrating the release of The Queen's Handmaid with a fun giveaway.

Retailers + Resources gave it this glowing review: "Rich in historic detail, Higley’s vivid writing brings to life the plots and intrigues that swirled through the ancient world as alliances were built and broken on the calculated schemes of power-mad monarchs." 

  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Queen's Handmaid by Tracy L. Higley
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 19th. Winner will be announced April 21st on Tracy's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Tracy's blog on April 21st to see if you won.

Thank you, Tracy, for sharing this new book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Queen's Handmaid - Christianbook.com
The Queen's Handmaid - Amazon
The Queen's Handmaid - 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.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Diana Gardner said...

Portsmouth, VA

Anonymous said...

Yay! I was wanting to read this book! My sister has many other books by Tracy L. Higley too.
J.C. -Indiana-

KayM said...

I love ancient history, so I'm sure I'd enjoy The Queen's Handmaid.

Cathy said...

Love Tracy's books. Thanks for the giveaway!

Cathy from BC Canada

Tracy Higley said...

Thanks so much for the interview, Lena! I appreciate getting the chance to meet your readers!

Melanie Backus said...

Sounds great! Thank you for the giveaway.

Melanie Backus, TX

Mary Preston said...

This sounds amazing.

Mary P


Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond Bryant

kam110476 said...

I love historical fiction but I have fallen in love with biblical fiction in the last year! It makes digging into the Word so much more colorful! I'd love to add The Queen's Handmaid to my collection!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Jean said...

This sounds like a book I would love!

Jean K
West Palm Beach, FL

Kelly Blackwell @ Heres My Take On It said...

I love the way this story is laid out. I love how Lydia overcomes the damage that rejection can cause. It sounds like an exciting ride.

Thank you for the interview.

Prescott, Arizona

Britney Adams said...

I enjoyed Tracy's interview and would love to win a copy of THE QUEEN'S HANDMAID! Thank you!

Britney Adams, TX

Courtney Clark said...

I'd love to win!
Courtney from Arkansas