Welcome back, Tessa. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write biblical fiction. The Bible is the greatest book ever written. Something about the stories it contains has managed to grab the human heart for thousands of years. More often than not, God chooses deeply flawed men and women through whom He fulfills His purposes. That’s why so many of us can relate to them! A broken woman who rises above her circumstances to persevere, to cling to God, and to ultimately overcome is an inescapably powerful character to read about. I relate to her brokenness and am inspired by her victory.
In my experience, all of us struggle with various kinds of insecurities. We doubt ourselves. We doubt God. But in God’s hands, the fissures that run through the very fabric of our being can turn into glory. Biblical fiction captures this miraculous transformation. It allows for all these variables to come together while at the same time remaining entertaining, exciting, and gripping.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
That is too hard to choose! The day my husband and I looked at each other, star-struck, and knew our lives would never be the same again. The day I signed my first book contract. The day I won the Christy award. The first time my husband told me he loved me, and all the times after. This morning when I woke up and the sun was shining and I found that the lilies of the valley had poked through the dirt.
I’m a lot like you. I find joy in most days. How has being published changed your life?
I get to live in a whole different world without getting on a single train, plane, or automobile. I have conversations with people who don’t exist, travel in time, kill bad people, keep readers awake way past their bedtime, and no one arrests me or sends me to an insane asylum. It’s a pretty good deal, really.
What are you reading right now?
The Boys in the Boat, which tells the story of nine working-class American boys in the depth of the Depression who went on to win the 1936 Olympics eight-oar rowing race in Berlin. Absolutely breath-taking, inspiring, and impeccably researched.
What is your current work in progress?
I am working on the story of
Lydia, the seller of purple cloth
mentioned in the book of Acts. I think we underestimate her importance in the
Bible, not to mention her significance for the world in general. Not only is
she the first convert in Europe, but she also
established the first European church in her home. Strong, loyal, and
courageous, she is a successful businesswoman in a world dominated by men. I
find her captivating.
What would be your dream vacation?
To have one? If you want me to be more specific, then I would love to visit a sunny island nestled against a deep blue ocean, with nothing to do but eat, read, swim, and walk on the beach with my hubby. On the other hand, I wouldn’t say no to a vacation in
Italy. Or a tour of the churches
mentioned in the book of Acts. Or a few weeks walking about Israel. As you
see, I’m not picky.
I understand. It’s been a while since James and I went on vacation. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love cooking. Lately, I’ve been trying some healthier recipes. But I find you can’t give up everything. You need some naughty ingredients to make the food taste good. So I am trying to practice moderation rather than annihilation! We try to eat a low fat, low salt, low gluten, and low sugar diet.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Time. Biblical fiction requires hours of study and research before you can even start to tell your story. The research is time-consuming. Writing is time-consuming. Some days, it is tempting to feel overcome by all the demands of this work. But for me, writing is not a hobby. It’s not even a job. It is a call. I believe I was created to do this. The Bible says that God created us in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us (Ephesians 2:10). I believe, in my life, part of that work is writing. So what shall I say when things become hard or seem untenable? Shall I walk away from God’s purpose? Shall I ditch my destiny just because it’s hard? If writing is a call in your life, you must persevere.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
We can drive ourselves crazy with depressing statistics, discouraging circumstances, and impossible odds. However, there is a truth that we sometimes misplace: God is strong. He is able. He is an ever-present help in trouble. He can cover our gaps and our shortcomings. He is the best agent, the best marketer, the best editor you can find; after all, He too is a writer. Our destiny is in the palm of His hands, and though we may be buffeted by the winds of adversity and the wiles of our enemy, God is far more powerful than both.
Persevere. Dream big. Hone your craft. Love the characters you choose. Be emotionally honest. Write because you love telling stories, not because you want to be recognized or admired or to make money.
Tell us about the featured book.
We are all daughters and sons. No one escapes this reality. Our souls are marked by this truth. What our fathers and mothers thought of us, spoke into us, poured into us still resides in the deepest parts of our souls and gives us our sense of worth. These realities also produce our deepest wounds, wounds that continue to affect the course of our lives. By claiming us as His sons and daughters, God heals the wounds we may have sustained from our fathers and mothers, and multiplies the blessings we have received from them. He transforms our brokenness into His wholeness.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
On my website at Tessaafshar.com
Or on Facebook at Tessa Afshar author page
Thank you, Tessa, for sharing this new book with us. My readers have enjoyed spending cyber time with you, tool.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Land of Silence - Christianbook.com (best print price)
Land of Silence - Amazon
Land of Silence - Kindle
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