Booktalk & More: In Love Amid the Ashes you explore the role of pain and suffering in faith and how that impacts one's relationship with God. What drew you to Solomon's story next and the very different subject matter of the Song of Songs, and what do you hope readers take away from the book?
Mesu: Solomon’s story was actually my first manuscript and started as an allegorical Bible study, but no one wanted to publish it—because I have no credentials. Which totally makes sense when you think about it. So we changed the format, making it fiction, and created more life-like characters, and wallah! Contracted in 2008, Revell requested a delay on publishing Solomon until March 2012 in order to release after Jill Smith’s Wives of King David series, which allowed me to write and publish Love Amid the Ashes during the interim. So my first book was actually published second!
I love the shadowy characters in Scripture, the ones few (if any) have written about. It’s fun to find previously obscure passages and show how they intertwine through separate books of Scripture and through ages of time. What a joy it is when readers tell me, “I had no idea that Scripture had anything to do with so-and-so!” Love it!
Studying Song of Songs totally changed my relationship with Jesus, and this book has been a part of that. I never understood how to love an invisible God. Scripture says I’m to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. But how? When I can’t see Him with my eyes, touch Him with my hands, or hear Him with my ears?
Though Love’s Sacred Song is not strictly allegorical (because the characters are not totally good or totally evil), the thread of Christ’s story runs through it, and I see the ferocious, unrelenting love of my Savior for me. I found, in the pages of Song of Songs and while writing the book, a God that I truly love with a sacred love. That’s what I pray my readers will find as well.
Booktalk & More: Why Biblical fiction? I love a well-crafted tale that breathes fresh life into the "dry bones" of a story immortalized in the pages of scripture, but others may have concerns when it comes to "embellishing" the scriptural texts. What is your perspective and what would your response be to those who share the latter view, and do you ever share any such concerns?
Mesu: (Whew! That’s a mouthful! Tee-hee) Did you know there are books out there called “biblical fiction” that would never be categorized as Christian? I began reading biblical fiction in 2001 when there were very few Christian market choices. Some of the general market titles were startling because of the total lack of regard for biblical text. That concerned me deeply! I felt it tragic that someone curious about Hannah or Solomon would form their flawed opinions from those books rather than from biblical stories based on God’s infallible truths from Scripture.
Jesus used parables to teach, stories to make a lesson more memorable. Because our western culture is so far removed from the Eastern minds that wrote the biblical text, I think it’s important to understand some of the setting, geography, and world events surrounding the circumstances of the biblical stories we see in God’s Word. The Truth becomes more memorable when it’s placed in its historical context by Christian authors who are committed to meticulous research.
When I’ve chatted with other biblical fiction authors, we all agree. Our purpose is NEVER to replace the reading of Scripture, but rather to awaken readers’ curiosity and send them back to the Bible for answers.
Booktalk & More: A major Hollywood studio has optioned Love's Sacred Song for a film. Who would you like to see play the leads of Solomon and the shepherdess Arielah?
Mesu: Did they really? Wouldn’t that be cool! This was actually a question on my cover questionnaire from Revell for Love Amid the Ashes. I always thought Harrison Ford would have made a great Job.
I’m thinking the guy they got for the Solomon cover was a good choice, eh? Yikes! Hmmmm. I, personally, think Gerard Butler is perfect for any part, but he’s a bit old for young Solomon. I saw a guy named Darren Criss—uh-huh. Yep. He looks like a fantastic young Solomon to me! And I think Minka Kelly is that natural beauty—with or without make-up—that could make a beautiful Arielah.
Booktalk & More: I'm intrigued by your casting choices -- I'll have to let you know if I come up with any other ideas! :)
Mesu: Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to share a bit with your readers! If anyone would like to keep in touch, they can visit my website @ http://www.mesuandrews.com/. Or sign up for free weekly e-devotionals @ http://www.mesuandrews.com/deep-o-tionals-2/acts-of-the-apostles/. Also, I’ve added pictures of a potential “Solomon” and “Arielah” to my Pinterest Board for Character Faces...check it out and leave a comment! Or give your own suggestions!
Mesu, thank you so much for your willingness to visit my blog and the time and thoughtfulness with which you answered each of my questions! I've thoroughly enjoyed our little chat, stop in anytime! :)