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If you could travel back to Biblical times, which portion of the Bible would you want to visit? Barbara Britton’s new novel, Jerusalem Rising, takes us back to the time of Nehemiah. This is the third in the Tribes of Israel series. (Barbara also shared Providence and Building Benjamin with us as they released.) I’m happy to have Barbara visiting today to tell us not only about the story, but a little about herself as well. Before we begin, let’s take a quick look at the story.
When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah’s unexpected visit—God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David.
Nehemiah challenges the men of Jerusalem to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Should her father who rules a half-district of Jerusalem be forgotten forever?
Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city’s wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside of the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God’s call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same rocks they hope to raise?
Welcome back, Barbara! What inspired you to write Jerusalem Rising?
I had taught the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem several times in Vacation Bible School and Sunday School, but I skipped Nehemiah 3:12, where the daughters of Shallum are mentioned as builders of the wall. Women construction workers? This is unusual to see in the Bible. I thought the daughters needed their time in the spotlight. We don’t know how many daughters Shallum had, but I gave him two—Adah and Judith.
That is unusual, but a fun little tidbit to speculate about. Who is your favorite secondary character in this story?
My favorite secondary character is Telem. I haven’t mentioned this anywhere else, but I made Telem the book of Ezra. I placed the triumphs and troubles of the book of Ezra into Telem’s life. Poor guy. Telem is tough and can handle the conflict.
He’d have to be tough! We’d love to know a little about you personally. What is your:
Favorite season? Fall. I love the colors of the trees in Wisconsin. Raking the leaves isn’t as enjoyable.
Favorite writing snack? Dark chocolate.
Favorite movie? Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder.
Favorite vacation destination? Oahu.
Favorite ice cream flavor? Mint chocolate chip.
All the chocolate. 😉 Can you give any hints about what you’re working on now?
I’m working on another Old Testament Bible story. I like to bring little-known Bible characters to light. If a reader learns one new thing about the Bible after reading my books, then I feel I have done my job. It’s amazing how the Bible is new every day.
Some people shy away from Biblical fiction, but if a story can inspire us to dig into the Bible to determine whether or not it’s accurate, we might be surprised at all we could learn! If you could offer a word of encouragement to an aspiring author, what would you say?
I call aspiring authors “pre-published” authors. Never give up on your dream. It took me nine years to get a publishing contract. I amassed over 200 rejections, but I loved writing and every time I sat down to write, I was excited about my story. Find a group of writers to commune with as you go about your writing journey. Professional organizations and writing conferences are wonderful places to meet fellow writers.
Indeed! I enjoyed meeting you this past fall at the ACFW conference. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to visit with us today, Barbara!
Your turn! Which Bible story/time would you most like to visit, if such a thing were possible?
More about Barbara:
Barbara M. Britton lives in Wisconsin and writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb brings little known Bible characters to light in her Tribes of Israel series. You can find out about Barb’s books on her website, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Jerusalem Rising Giveaway:
Barbara has generously offered to give away a copy of Jerusalem Rising (winner’s choice of paperback or e-copy). Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.