The Inside Scoop!
and her Biblical novel
On This Foundation
I grew up in… a library! My mother was the librarian in the small New York State town where we lived and so my sisters and I spent hours helping her with all her tasks. The library was also the best place to hang out because it was right in the middle of town.
I was inspired to write my first published novel by… the Biblical story of King Hezekiah. I read his exciting story when I was in high school and I never forgot his example of faith. When I decided to try my hand at writing fiction, it was the first story that came to mind.
The books that have most influenced my life are… the Bible, first and foremost. Second are author Chaim Potok’s novels—The Chosen, My Name is Asher Lev, The Gift of Asher Lev, and so on. Not only is his writing superb, but he inspired me to want to write fiction from a Christian worldview the same way that he wrote from an Orthodox Jewish worldview.
My biggest challenge when writing is…getting the story that I “see” in my head down on paper so that readers can “see” it, too.
One of my favourite authors is… Why? Rosamunde Pilcher. She is not only a remarkable storyteller, but she creates characters that are so real I feel as if I know them.
If I wasn’t a writer, I would be… terribly bored! Writing is the ideal outlet for my over-active imagination.
The superhero talent I would love to have is… the ability to fly like Superman. I’d like to be able to get places fast.
When news reaches him that Jerusalem’s wall is shattered and its gates burned with fire, a distraught Nehemiah seeks God’s guidance in fasting and prayer. Granted an unexpected leave from his duty as cupbearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes, Nehemiah sets out for Jerusalem to rebuild the city wall–never anticipating all the dangers that await him on his arrival.
The leaders of the surrounding nations become his fierce enemies, plotting to assassinate him and stop the wall’s reconstruction forever. A drought, meanwhile, has left the country impoverished, with many families resorting to selling their children as bondservants just to keep from starving.
Capturing the rebuilding of the wall through the eyes of a number of characters, On This Foundation is the powerful conclusion to The Restoration Chronicles. This exploration of faith in the midst of oppression offers hope that, in spite of appearances, the gracious hand of God is upon those who believe.
My latest novel can be described by these 5 adjectives… Biblical, suspenseful, surprising, insightful, spiritual
My main character is… Nehemiah. He is athletically built with the posture and bearing of a career soldier. He is handsome, with dark hair and eyes and a beard. He has great faith in God and is an outstanding and inspiring leader. His natural self-assurance and determination to complete his God-given task can make him seem arrogant and unbending. His career as a security expert makes him alert, wary and suspicious.
My main character resembles… the actor Liev Schreiber.
A previously unknown fact about this novel is… it portrays women in a very surprising role. Not many people know that, according to the Bible, women helped to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
My story’s spiritual theme is… Having faith and trust in God to fight our battles and accomplish the work He has given us to do.
While writing this novel I was challenged by… Nehemiah’s reliance on both prayer and action. It’s an inspiring combination and makes him a very strong leader.
The title was chosen by… a collaboration between me and my publisher, Bethany House.
As an author, the hardest scenes for me to write are… The scenes that take place in locations that I’ve never visited. In those cases, I have to rely on photographs, but they don’t convey a sense of smell or culture or atmosphere. That’s why I try to travel to the locations where my novels take place whenever possible.
The story I’m currently working on is… a family saga about a woman who immigrates to America in the 1840s from the Netherlands and settles in the wilderness of western Michigan.
You may not know this about me, but I… am very quiet and shy and don’t like to be in the limelight.
If I could be a character in any novel, I would want to be… the hero, the leading man, like Jean Valjean in Victor Hugo’s novel “Les Miserables.”