Friday, June 02, 2017

BUILDING BENJAMIN: Naomi's Journey - Barbara M Britton - One Free Book

Welcome, Barbara. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I try to think about what personality traits my characters will need to reach their goals in my story. I might have some of their traits, but my heroines are braver and bolder than I am—or the story would be boring. Since I write Christian fiction, my characters and I share a faith in God.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I love music, but I don’t sing very well, so I lip sync. My family and I performed in a lip sync competition as the Partridge family. I was Lori Partridge on keyboards.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I came to writing later in life through teaching chapel lessons. I taught kindergarten through fifth grade—all at one time—so I had to revise curriculum or write my own. I prayed for the Lord to give me creativity to craft my lesson plans and He prompted me to start writing novels. I was in my forties with children still at home, but I managed to get a few books written. As long as God keeps putting ideas in my head, I will keep writing. I enjoy bringing little-known stories in His Word to light.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Most of the books I read are written by my friends, so they are Christian fiction or sweet romances. I enjoy a happily-ever-after. I do venture into the Young Adult genre, but most of those characters do things my parents would never have allowed—and I don’t allow as a parent!  

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
It’s getting more and more difficult. I turn off social media and avoid computer screens when life gets stressful. It helps that I draft my novels on notepads. I like to walk when the weather is nice here in Wisconsin, and listen to music. My writing and weekly Bible studies keep me digging into the Word of God for refreshment. 

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I scan the Bible looking for names that my readers can pronounce. I try to avoid names that sound alike or start with the same letter.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’ve been married for 29 years and have two wonderful sons who love the Lord. None of the men in my life are perfect, but they’re forgiven and loved.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I would be our cat—the one who won the lottery. She was a stray we adopted. She isn’t very nice, but she is so cute! Everyone loves her even though she hisses at them. Go figure.

What is your favorite food?
Chocolate. I wish it was calorie-free. 
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
’m still battling my problem. Even though I have three books written and contracted (two are out), I doubt my writing ability. I believe Satan doesn’t want me to write about how amazing God is, so he plants doubt in my head. I tell myself to write the book I want to write, and if no one sees it, then that’s okay. I work on this issue with every book.

Tell us about the featured book.
I was reading through the Bible and came across crazy events in Judges that I had no idea were in the Bible. The book of Judges ends with a war between the tribes of Israel. The tribe of Benjamin is almost wiped out. Only 600 men survive, and they have no women or children. What are the men going to do? They abduct unsuspecting girls from the other tribes so the tribe of Benjamin will survive. My book follows three girls who are kidnapped from a festival by these Benjamite men. The tribe carries on and gives us the first king of Israel and the apostle Paul. Here is my blurb:

Love Grows Where God Grafts the Tender Shoot.
Naomi desires to dance well enough to catch the eye of a wealthy landowner. Her father needs a substantial bride price due to the deaths of her brothers at the hands of the tribe of Benjamin. But when Benjamites raid the Ephraimite feast and capture young girls, Naomi is bound and carried from her home by Eliab, a troubled shepherd who needs a wife.

As Naomi awaits rescue, she finds Eliab has a strong faith in God and a just reason for abducting her. A reason that affects all the tribes of Israel. The future of the tribe of Benjamin hangs in the balance, but if Naomi follows her heart and stays with Eliab to rebuild his lineage, she must forfeit her family and become a traitor to her tribe.

Please give us the first page of the book.
In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit. Judges 21:25.
Shiloh, in the land of the tribe of Ephraim
Naomi peeked from behind the tent flap. Girls emerged from scattered booths, illuminated by the flames of the bonfire. The beat of a timbrel echoed over the vineyards while tambourines tinked in thanksgiving to God for an abundant crop. Naomi’s stomach hollowed at the thought of joining in the revelry at the harvest celebration. She had never danced before at the feast in a manner to seduce a husband.

Her palms dampened. It was almost time. Time to twirl and catch the eye of a landowner. With two of her brothers slain by the Benjamites, her father needed a bride price.

Movement in the moon-shadowed vineyard caught Naomi’s attention. Had a goat gotten loose among the vines? She squinted into the darkened rows of naked stalks. No leaves shook. No trellis gave way. No bleating rang out. The smoke is deceiving me. She blinked and retreated from the open flap. Cuzbi, the merchant’s daughter, came close as if to share a secret. Naomi’s reflection widened in the gold of Cuzbi’s headband. “Do not worry,” Cuzbi whispered. “Follow me and the men will line up to give our fathers gifts.”

Naomi prayed this was not a lie. Cuzbi had danced the previous harvest, and the one before, but Cuzbi’s father had not received a single shekel.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers can find out about me and my books on my website (, or on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter @Barbara M. Britton.

Thanks for having me on your blog today. I’m curious if your readers were familiar with the ending of Judges.

Thank you, Barbara, for sharing this book with us.

Comment Question to answer: Were you familiar with the ending of Judges before this interview?

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Building Benjamin: Naomi's Journey (Tribes of Israel) - Paperback
Building Benjamin: Naomi's Journey (Tribes of Israel) - Kindle

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Carol Moncado said...

Color me intrigued!!!!

I'm from Missouri :).

Barbara M. Britton said...

Hi Carol,
Thanks for joining us. I find many Christians have no idea this story is in the Bible. I didn't realize it until a few years ago, and I've been a Christian a long time.

Have a great weekend.

Kelly Goshorn said...

Hi Barbara, This sounds like a great read! I had no idea that the tribe of Benjamin had kidnapped young woman to keep their lineage alive! How fascinating! As for the cat, we have a beautiful grey tortise-haired we adopted. She is like those women who are beautiful and they know it, never letting any of us pet her! LOL! My daughter says she has abandonment issues since she had been left outside a Target as a kitten. Good luck with your writing!

Carlene Havel said...

"Building Benjamin" sounds wonderful.

Delia Latham said...

Barbara, I love learning a little more about you each time I read an interview. Believe me, you're not the only author who struggles with doubting an ability. I do it too, with every book. When I receive a review that's less than positive, I really have to fight it. But it's just Satan toying with us. In my heart of hearts, I believe that. Believe it!

Barbara M. Britton said...

Hi Kelly,
I'm glad I'm not the only one who skipped the last chapters of Judges.
Our cat has gotten better at accepting affection over the years. I can't sit on the couch without having her climb in my lap. She might be playing King of the Hill though, and not showing me love.
Thanks for joining us!

Barbara M. Britton said...

Hi Carlene,
I'm biased, but I had found this story in the Bible interesting too.
Thanks for stopping by.
Happy weekend.

Barbara M. Britton said...

Hi Delia,
I wonder why the self-doubt hangs on. You'd think it would go away. Publishing is not for the faint of heart. As long as God gives me stories to write, I will write them. You need to keep writing too! A supportive writing community sure does help.
Thanks for joining us and for all your support.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Great interview Barbara!
Building Benjamin sounds like an excellent novel.

Good luck and God's blessings

Melanie Backus said...

I am intrigued by this book, for sure! I would love to read it. Thank you for the opportunity. Melanie Backus, TX

Barbara M. Britton said...

Thank you, Pam. I enjoy learning new things about the Bible as I research my stories.
I appreciate your support.
All the best to you.

Barbara M. Britton said...

Thank you for joining us, Melanie. You can never have too many books!
Have a great weekend.

marilyn leach said...

Barbara, your book sounds like such a fun, creative process that resounds with truth. That's a wonderful paring. I wish you the best. Cheers

Kathleen Friesen said...

Great interview and a great book! I've already read Building Benjamin, so please do not enter me in the draw. It's a fantastic story well told.

Barbara M. Britton said...

Hi Marilyn,
You hit the nail on the head. My creative process (and those of all Christian fiction authors)is fun and filled with truth. The Bible teaches me something new all the time.
Thanks for stopping by!

Barbara M. Britton said...

Thank you for your kind words, Kathleen. You are so sweet to stop by during your release week. Congratulations!

Peggy Rychwa said...

Hi Barbara, Peggy from Arizona. You and I share something in common in that we like to sing, but can't, and so we write. I never lip-synced to the Partridge Family, but would have loved to see you do it!

Barbara M. Britton said...

Hi Peggy,
We are getting a blast of your Arizona weather here in Wisconsin--finally! Yes, I love to sing, but can't tell if I'm on key. I was even kicked out of glee club in high school. The teacher told my mom there was no hope for me. Maybe? With a little training?
Oh well, I lip sync pretty well.

Thanks for joining us!

Elly said...

I've been looking forward to this book!
Elly -Indiana-

Barbara M. Britton said...

Thank you, Elly. I hope you enjoy Naomi and Eliab's story.
Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me.

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Barbara and Lena, thank you so much for this interview. Barbara, I love the way you find nuggets of gold hidden away in Bible stories that may seem obscure to most people but are really treasure troves of truth, inspiration, and beauty. I look forward to reading your story.

Many blessings as you write for King Jesus!


Barbara M. Britton said...

Hi MaryAnn,
Thank you for your inspiring words. It amazes me how many people in the Bible had important roles and we don't know much about them. I love to write their stories.
Thanks for joining us. Blessings to you, too.

Mary said...

Loved this story, and found it to be such a blessing! Best wishes to you, Barbara.

Mary said...

Loved this story, and found it to be such a blessing! Best wishes to you, Barbara.

Connie said...

No, this fact didn't sink in! That is one reason that I enjoy Biblical fiction. I find myself going to my Bible to check facts and re-read the Bible version.
Thanks for sharing!
Connie from KY

Barbara M. Britton said...

Thank you, Mary. I'm glad you enjoyed Naomi and Eliab's story. My critique partner made me work really hard to wrap up all the themes in the epilogue.
Thanks for your encouragement.

Barbara M. Britton said...

I'm so glad you go back to the Bible, Connie. I hope all my readers will re-read the Bible story and learn new things.
I'm glad you stopped by.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway SC.

SavingsInSeconds said...

Many years ago as a teen, I memorized the book of Judges for a Bible Bowl competition. I didn't realize the significance of that part of the story!!
Dianna in TN

Barbara M. Britton said...

Hi Sharon,
Thanks for joining us all the way from South Carolina.
Have a great week.

Barbara M. Britton said...

Hi Dianna,
I remember studying King Saul and noting that he was from the smallest tribe--the tribe of Benjamin. I thought because Benjamin was the youngest brother, he must have the smallest tribe, but that wasn't right. The tribe of Benjamin was the smallest because they almost got wiped out at the end of Judges. I had no idea (until now). The apostle Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin, so I'm glad the tribe survived.
Thanks for commenting. I'm impressed with your Bible Bowl memorization. Way to go!