Welcome, Carole. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Not much. Usually there’s a trait or two of me or someone I know in each character. But at a conference once, a best-selling author told us we write the same story again and again, just in different settings with different characters. My heroines always seem to need to realize they have to find their identify in God, and learn to trust only in Him and not in people, especially not in the men in their lives, a lesson I struggle with daily. I don’t do that on purpose, but it always ends up in there somehow.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I have no idea. I’m a pretty boring person, actually.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
The idea for my first book, In the Shadow of Sinai, first came to me as I was reading in Exodus. God says to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of
and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding,
with knowledge and with all kinds of skills…” I wondered, how does a slave
learn to make all the beautiful pieces that were in the tabernacle? Did God
just say, “Poof! Now you know how to do all that!”? Sometimes he works that
way, but not very often, and it’s not very fun that way, so I made up a story
to explain it.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I like Biblical fiction, and occasionally contemporary romance.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Hide in my office and write. (Or watch chick flicks, which drives my girls nuts.)
How do you choose your characters’ names?
For my Biblical fiction, I choose names that were in use in that time period in that area of the world. I find documented proof if they are not Biblical names. For the one I’m writing now, I actually talked to a guy who is studying Gallo-Brittonic to help me with some ancient names in first-century
For my contemporary romance novellas, I just choose names I like!
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Finishing my first book. I started it well over twenty years ago. I ran into some research issues—there was no internet then, and it was really difficult to find some books in print—so I just stopped writing for about fifteen years while I concentrated on my family. I finally picked it up again and finished it in about a year.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A cat. They get to sleep a lot, and sit on laps and be petted.
What is your favorite food?
It’s a toss-up between chocolate and tacos.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
In the beginning, research. Like I said, it almost made me quit. It’s so much easier now, with the internet and the ability to find and order out-of-print books. It’s still a huge part of my writing. One of my all-time favorite books was published in 1934 and is basically a collections of the notes of the excavations of Tell Beit Mirsim—a city in
Israel. It was
explored in 1926-32 by W. F. Albrght. They discovered ten different levels of
the city, each one with its own story to tell about the inhabitants! So
fascinating to a historical fiction author! But the coolest part is that the
whole time the archaeologists are giving glory to God. About their job, the
Exodus, the city, every last part of it.
Tell us about the featured book.
The Walls of Arad is the third in the Journey to
Canaan trilogy but can be read alone. It takes place
after the forty years of wandering and is based on Numbers 21. This chapter
tells us that when the Israelites went north to bury Aaron, the king of Arad attacked and took
hostages. Arisha is a young woman who fled that Canaanite city and found
herself in the Israelite camp.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Oasis of Kadesh Barnea, Sinai Peninsula
Late 13th Century B.C.,
Late winter, 22nd day of Shevat
Late 13th Century B.C.,
Late winter, 22nd day of Shevat
“You want me to what?” Zadok stared at the white-haired woman sitting beside him, her face as serene as if she had just asked him to pass her a cup of water.
“Marry her. I want you to marry Arisha.”
He’d seen the girl around Miriam’s tent. Not often. She tended to stay inside, away from the gazes of others. “Why me?” He wiped his sweaty hands on his tunic. Marriage was not a topic he enjoyed discussing. “I’m sure there are any number of young men who would be more than happy to take her as a wife. She’s very pretty.” Her wavy, light brown hair and sad eyes floated through his mind.
“She doesn’t need those others. She needs you.” Miriam’s wide grin plumped the apples of her cheeks, giving her an endearing child-like look despite her age.
“Needs me? What do you mean she needs me?”
Her eyes twinkled. “Are you going to repeat everything I say?”
Zadok jumped to his feet. “Are you going to tell me what you are talking about?”
“Sit down.” Miriam spoke without looking up or raising her voice.
Clenching his jaw, he pulled his cloak tighter against the cool morning breeze drifting through the long, orderly rows of canvas tents. “You know what happened the last time I wanted to marry someone.”
She flipped the manna cakes in the pan over the fire in front of her tent. Apparently satisfied they were nicely browned on both sides, she put two next to a handful of dates on a plate and handed it to Zadok. “Marah was a selfish, spoiled child, and her father was no better. They couldn’t see past tomorrow and had no faith in Yahweh’s provision.” She grinned. “But you will be perfect for Arisha.”
“And why is that?”
“Arisha is from
Canaan?” He pointed
north. “That Canaan?”
Miriam raised a brow. “You know of another?”
He bristled. “And I am perfect because like her, I am not a true Israelite.”
Miriam’s eyes—the same piercing eyes she shared with her brother Moses—held his. “I watched your sabba lovingly build every piece of furniture in that Tabernacle.” Her bony fingers pointed to the structure hidden behind the animal hide curtain on the other side of the sandy walkway in front of them. “Your grandfather crafted the Ark of the Covenant, over which the very presence of Yahweh rests. And I watched his sabba Hur, along with my own brother Aaron, hold Moses’s arms up to heaven all day so we would not be slaughtered by the Amalekites. That man gave his life for
could not be more Israelite if you were Jacob himself.”
Interesting! How can readers find you on the Internet?
email: firstname.lastname@example.org: www.caroletowriss.com
Thank you, Carole, for sharing this new book with us. I will read it as soon as my copy arrives.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Walls of Arad (Journey to Canaan) (Volume 3) - Paperback
The Walls of Arad (Journey to Canaan Book 3) - Kindle
Comment Starting Questions: Have you read any biblical novels? If so, what do you like most about reading biblical novels?
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