Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Five Feature with Mesu Andrews

Happy Friday the 13th, People!! One of my favorite days of the year.

We are celebrating with a Friday Five Feature with author Mesu Andrews!! YAY!!


So, Mesu, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet you at ACFW for the first time in 2016 and then share a delightful lunch with you! Your publishing story is pretty amazing, but also your unique historical writing period.

1.       What draws you to the Biblical history genre?

Well, I actually started my journey as a speaker and Bible teacher. I was an off-the-charts extrovert and never sat still long enough to write a note, let alone a book. When I was diagnosed in 1997 with fibromyalgia, my speaking ministry slowed down, and I began journaling and writing devotionals that I emailed to family and friends. In 2002, I had a health crash that put me in bed for six months. That’s when I wrote my first novel—biblical fiction—because my first love is deep research into Scripture. I’m a library nerd that loves the ancient texts and original languages!

2.       Your journey to fiction publishing started in nonfiction, right? How did the transition go and do you still enjoy writing nonfiction?

Oooops! I guess I sort of answered some of that above, but the transition was ugly. I was determined to write something I called “Deep-o-tionals,” one-page mini-studies that were deeper than a normal devotional but short enough to get through in twenty minutes or less. Publishers didn’t want them because retailers wouldn’t know where to put them on their shelves—study or devotional? I had one of the best agents in the CBA knocking on every door, but no one was interested. I nearly gave up on publishing altogether.

Then a friend said, “Why don’t you teach with fiction?” I was a little offended. I mean, I was a SERIOUS Bible student. I’d never even read a Christian novel! She then pushed a little harder. “Do you think you’re a better teacher than Jesus? He taught with stories, you know?”
Ouch! That’s when I started learning the fiction craft. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do—and I LOVE it!

3.       Deep-o-tionals? Really? And what a wise friend to challenge you!!

As a blog for ‘newer and not-so-new- writers, we’re constantly trying to glean wisdom from other authors. What advice would you share with a new author…or one who just really needs to hear some encouragement today?

I guess my advice is, Don’t give up, but listen for God’s change in direction. If I hadn’t been listening for His change in direction, I’d still be knocking my head against the wall with Deep-o-tionals, and I wouldn’t have discovered how much I love writing fiction. He may not ask you to make as drastic of a change (from non-fiction to fiction), but He may ask you to consider contemporary instead of historical or YA instead of contemporary.

And, BTW, I still think I’ll publish Deep-o-tionals someday. I may even publish Bible studies. But it will be when God opens the door, not when I have to shove it open with a crowbar. I’m still learning to watch for His road signs and follow the path He leads me on…not the path I make for myself with a bulldozer.

4.       Wise woman!! You’ve recently moved to the mountains of North Carolina (GREAT choice ;-), what have you enjoyed about the move and what has been an unexpected challenge?

My two greatest joys in this move are being closer to our daughters and their families (love those grand babies!) and the folks at our new church. We’ve found an incredible sense of “home” already, and I’m so grateful to my Heavenly Father for that.

The challenge (and it was actually expected) has been juggling family and new church responsibilities with writing full time. While we lived in Washington State, we were empty nester “old farts,” who had no family around and only our careers and friends at church to enjoy. I could work fourteen-hour days and not feel as though I was cheating anyone. Not so with family and church family around! I’m still praying for godly wisdom to juggle all aspects of my new blessings well.

5.       Please share with us about your most recent release and anything you have in the works for the future.
My most recent release is Miriam, the second of two installments in The Treasures of the Nile series. Here’s the back cover blurb:
Buzz Line:Enter an exotic land where a cruel Pharaoh reigns, pagan priests wield black arts, and the Israelites cry out to a God they only think they know. 
Back Cover Copy:At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name Yahweh and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites.Miriam and her beloved family face an impossible choice: cling to familiar bondage or embrace uncharted freedom at an unimaginable cost. Even if the Hebrews survive the plagues set to turn the Nile to blood and unleash a maelstrom of frogs and locusts, can they weather the resulting fury of the Pharaoh?

My upcoming release, Isaiah’s Daughter, is scheduled for Fall 2017. It tells the story of Hephzibah, wife of Hezekiah—the most righteous king of Judah—and mother of Manasseh—the most wicked king of Judah. Jewish legend says she was the prophet Isaiah’s daughter, and my research has revealed some amazing things about her. I can’t wait for folks to get to know Hephzibah, my favorite name in Scripture—“God’s delight is in her.” I want to be Hephzibah every day of my life! How about you?

This sounds GREAT!! What a wonderful gift you have to bring the stories/culture of the Bible to life through fiction! Thanks so much for being a part of our Friday Five Feature, Mesu!!!

You can learn more about Mesu and her books on her website at http://www.mesuandrews.com/ 

If you missed out on the posts for this week, it's not too late to glean the wisdom and encouragement.

Julia has a beautiful post about Kissing Frantic Goodbye

And from author Cara Putman we have a helpful post about how to write More than 1 Book at One Time...WOW...feeling that right now!!

4 comments:

Amy Willoughby Burle said...

Confession: I almost didn't read this post because I don't read historical, biblical fiction. But I love this blog so much, I skimmed down it anyway and saw a pretty cool book cover and the read an amazing buzz line and back cover copy and thought--Whoa, I should be reading historical biblical fiction!!

So then I read the whole article and I am so happy I did. I love the line "I’m still learning to watch for His road signs and follow the path He leads me on…not the path I make for myself with a bulldozer."

I'm a bulldozer planner myself and in the midst currently of situation (nothing awful :-) ) that I'm trying to turn over to God with trust and peace instead of bulldozing my way through a bad plan.

So not only did I find a great new book, I got some words of wisdom and as I know another author who does read and write historical fiction, I'll be messaging her about this blog and about Mesu Andrews.

Great post!

Mesu Andrews said...

Hi Amy! I love your transparent heart! "Step away from the bulldozer," is something I hear from the Lord quite often, so I'm still right there with you, gal. I pray we can both exchange our hard-hats for knee-pads and spend a little more time in prayer. Blessings on you, sweet sister!

Dana McNeely said...

Amy, I read many genres - Historical, Women's Fiction, Mysteries, Memoirs, Adventure, and - Biblical. I've read Mesu's books for years and they are wonderful. If you give one a try, I think you will be surprised to find they're many genres rolled into one.

fictionaficionadoblog said...

I love this interview. And Pepper will tell you looking for God's road signs rather than bulldozing my own path is right where I'm at now!

Love your books and your insight, Mesu :-)