I’d like to welcome Mesu Andrews to Reviews By Molly! She’s stopping by during her Revell Books Blog Tour for the release of her newest novel, Love’s Sacred Song. I absolutely adore her work and she’s here today to answer a few questions for us. Welcome, Mesu!
Tell us about Mesu Andrews and the story behind Love’s Sacred Song.
I started writing in hopes of publishing a Bible study to accompany the retreat/conference topic I taught on Song of Solomon. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s I traveled quite a bit, speaking to (mostly) women’s groups, teaching an allegorical form of the Solomon story. Women would come to me after the talks and ask for a study guide, so I began seeking publication. No go. I was a non-credentialed pastor’s wife with a small platform.
In 2002, my health took a severe dive, and I spent six months in bed. THAT’S when my writing career really began. When there was nothing to do except peck away at my laptop, I was forced to sit still and write. Tough for an extrovert. Because I still deal with chronic illness issues, I continue to keep a limited speaking schedule, but my love for writing has soared. Now, I do it because I can’t NOT do it! It fills me with a deep and abiding sense of purpose that I believe is God-given.
When I switched my focus from non-fiction/Bible study to biblical novels, the doors seemed to open rather quickly. After about a year of revising the initial novel rough draft, I met my editor at Mt. Hermon’s writers’ conference in 2008 and was signed by Revell later that fall. However, let me point out…that was seven years after my initial efforts at getting the story published. The publishing road is seldom a short one.
How did you choose the genre you write in and where do your ideas come from?
I think I choose to write biblical fiction because I’m still a Bible teacher at heart. I love to study God’s Word, and biblical fiction gives me a fabulous excuse to dig in deep! I get to learn the history, the settings, the culture of Israel and surrounding nations in various time periods. Because my husband is a college professor, I have access to graduate-level research materials, and his colleagues are very helpful.
My ideas? I spend lots of time praying and reading the Scriptural accounts before I form the kernel of a plot to pitch to my editor. She takes my ideas to several committees, and they ultimately decide what sounds marketable and what doesn’t. I must confess, the plot changed 180-degrees on the Job story and about 90-degrees on book #3. But they’re very patient with me and seem to enjoy the tangled web I weave! Ha! I’m what they call a “seat-of-the-pants” writer—a pantser. I sort of have an idea of where the plot is going (because Scripture gives me the skeleton), but I tend to let the historical data and my imagination take the story wherever it wants to go. Writers are weird. LOL.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
I would love to have my devotionals published. I’ve been writing them weekly for about ten years now, and I have quite a backlog! They’re simple little thoughts with personal prayers beneath small sections of Scripture. They call for a little deeper thought than your typical devotional, but they’re not quite a Bible study. I work through an entire Book of the Bible with a group of subscribers, and we correspond back and forth. It’s loads of fun. I’m not sure yet if we’ll go eBook or tradebook, but it’s something I’m hoping to look at soon. It’s a good thing God’s got it under control and not me!
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
My toughest criticism came from another author, who reviewed my book as one of Revell’s gift-book reviewers. So, if you’re reading this interview and think these bloggers get paid to say they love the book…NOPE! The thing that made it so tough was that I realized she was right-on. She pointed out specific weak areas in my writing, even gave examples from the book. Yikes! After swallowing my heart—that had totally jumped into my throat—I prayed, and prayed, and prayed. Then I emailed her personally…and thanked her. Her critique rang in my ears the whole time I was writing book #3, let me tell you! I think it will make me a better writer, even if it was a difficult thing to read.
What has been the best compliment?
This one is easy. The best compliment is ALWAYS: “I enjoyed your book because it sent me back to the Bible to read the story—and I got so much more out of it when I read it this time.” That’s what I hope for as I give biblical characters hair color and eye color. That’s what I pray will happen when I describe the city of Shunem and Jerusalem’s wall. Biblical fiction is NEVER meant to replace the reading of God’s Word. It’s intended as a parable, a story to give God’s truths context in which a reader can more readily remember the lessons they learn and recall the faithful people of God recorded in history.
Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to share a bit with your readers! If you’d like to know what’s coming next, Revell has contracted me for two more biblical fiction:
- Love in a Broken Vessel is scheduled to release March 2013, telling the story of Hosea and Gomer—Can Hosea’s faith overpower Gomer’s unfaithfulness?
- Love’s Saving Light is scheduled to release March 2014, telling the story of Queen Athaliah and Baby Joash—Will Jezebel’s daughter snuff out the last king on David’s throne.
If you’re interested in signing up for the free e-devotionals (sent out on Mondays), you can visit my website: https://www.mesuandrews.com/ . I love to connect with readers on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest too! You can check out my “Character Faces” Pinterest Board to comment on my celeb nominations of a potential Solomon and Arielah!
About The Author:
Mesu Andrews is the author of Love Amid the Ashes and is an active speaker who has devoted herself to passionate and intense study of Scripture. Harnessing her deep understanding and love for God’s Word, Andrews brings the biblical world vividly alive for her readers. She lives in Washington.
***Stay tuned Saturday for my review of her newest release! It’s FABULOUS!!!!***