Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am so pleased to bring you Barbara Britton. Barbara is a pastor’s wife, cancer survivor, and an amazing author of Biblical fiction. And I am in awe of her – she writes her books long hand! Amazing! Barbara is giving away a paperback copy of her latest release — so read on to see how you can enter to win!
Tell us a little about yourself. Thank you for hosting me for the e-release day of Building Benjamin: Naomi’s Journey. If your readers are like me and print books are their thing, April 1st is when Naomi’s story releases in print. I’m a native Californian who lives in Wisconsin and likes the snow and the Green Bay Packers. I’m married and we have two sons. My husband is an ordained minister and our oldest son is in seminary. Our youngest son is finishing up his studies at UW-Madison. Go Badgers!
I enjoy teaching, especially the Bible. I feel blessed to have two Biblical fiction novels to share with readers. I finished my galley for my first book and sold Building Benjamin while battling breast cancer. Praise God that I am a breast cancer survivor.
Tell us about your current release. My stories are about people and events in the Bible that we don’t know much about, or they aren’t in sermons or VBS curriculum very often. Naomi’s story is inspired by Judges 19-21 when the tribe of Benjamin is almost wiped out by the other tribes of Israel due to some Sodom and Gomorrah like events. I had no idea this account was in the Bible. I had heard of Deborah, Gideon, and Samson, but nothing of this! In order for the tribe of Benjamin to survive, the remaining men need to find wives. A few hide in a vineyard and snatch girls when they come out to dance. Naomi is one of the girls kidnapped.
Love Grows Where God Grafts the Tender Shoot.
Naomi desires to dance well enough to catch the eye of a wealthy landowner. Her father needs a substantial bride price due to the deaths of her brothers at the hands of the tribe of Benjamin. But when Benjamites raid the Ephraimite feast and capture young girls, Naomi is bound and carried from her home by Eliab, a troubled shepherd who needs a wife.
As Naomi awaits rescue, she finds Eliab has a strong faith in God and a just reason for abducting her. A reason that affects all the tribes of Israel. The future of the tribe of Benjamin hangs in the balance, but if Naomi follows her heart and stays with Eliab to rebuild his lineage, she must forfeit her family and become a traitor to her tribe.
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes. I write the characters and stories that God places in my heart and in my head. I pray before I start to write so the Holy Spirit will inspire me. Even as I ponder my next book, I’ve had several Bible stories battling in my brain, and finally one shines through. If I don’t know what to write, I ask God for creativity. He always brings something to mind.
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or to be more successful? “No,” she says laughing. If I was chasing money or fame, I wouldn’t be writing Biblical fiction. I don’t know how many agents and editors told me that Biblical fiction was a hard sell and I should think about writing contemporary stories. I didn’t waiver from my path. I love writing about the Bible and theology. In Biblical fiction, God can show up in so many ways.
How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher? Wow! This is a constant fear of so many writers including me. The practical side of this question is that I am constantly learning about the craft of writing by attending conferences and workshops. I also have an amazing critique partner who hasn’t steered me wrong after four books together (Thank you, Betsy Norman). I also have beta-readers who read voraciously in Christian fiction. All of this happens before my editor sees the manuscript.
On the psychological side of this question, I pray that I can write to the best of my ability and I tell myself that I am writing this story for me—and only me. If it sells, great! If not, I have enjoyed the process and my characters.
Have you always wanted to write a book? When I was in school, all those many years ago, no one ever mentioned writing as a career path. I heard about nursing, teaching, and secretarial work, but not writing. I am the first one to say that I am surprised, humbled, shocked, and blessed to be a writer. I can’t type and I’m terrible at grammar, but God has given me a passion to create stories.
I was burned out after teaching elementary chapel one year, and I needed to write curriculum for the next school year. I prayed, “Lord, hit me with some creativity.” And He did! I came up with my chapel lessons and I had a prompting to write. Nine years later, Providence: Hannah’s Journey was released by Pelican Book Group. It was the fourth book I had written, but it was my first work of Biblical fiction.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? I champion the advice that I received in the first class I took on publishing. I encourage writers to join a professional writing organization, and to never stop learning about the craft of writing. Some of my best friends and mentors have come from professional groups.
What is your preferred method of writing? See question 6 about my typing skills. I write all my stories on notepads—the paper kind. My hunt-and-peck typing can’t keep up with the scenes playing out in my head, but my fast chicken scratch can. After I have handwritten a chapter, I type it into a computer and edit as I go along.
Thanks for sharing my story with your readers Hallee. I am pleased to say that Hannah and Naomi will have Adah join them as part of my Tribes of Israel series.
Find Barb online: Her website, Facebook, Twitter,Goodreads,
Find Barbara’s latest release online:
On Barnes & Noble:
Win a paperback copy of Building Benjamin!
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I used to read quite a bit of inspirational Bible Fiction and really enjoyed it. I’m a Hallee Bridgeman fan and am always looking for new authors of every genre. I read them all. Your book Building Benjamin: Naomi’s Story sounds really good. I’m sure I’ll enjoy reading it. I believe what you are doing, bringing characters to life in the context of the true bible story, may lead more people to pick up the good book. I wish you all the best.
Good luck with the book.
I actually really like Biblical fiction! I’m excited to see something new. Can’t wait to read it!!
we have a bit in common. I live in California and my.husband and I are Packed fans. What s season lol. Also my mom is a breast cancer survivor. I enjoy bib fiction and one of the first Christian authors I came across was lynn Austin and her chronicles of kings series.
Thanks for the interview!
(I am just now seeing the reply button! It must have been a busy week.)
Hi Sara Beth,
Go Pack Go! I’m glad you’re a Packers fan. My husband is a Bears fan, so I can’t cheer too loudly.
It amazes me how many breast cancer survivors I meet. I’m glad you’re mom is a survivor.
Thanks for joining Hallee and I today!
What an interesting concept for a Christian book. I’m interested in how you weave your storyline.
My storylines depend on how much information the Bible gives me. I didn’t have much information on who the abducted girls were, or how they fared after being taken by the Benjamites. The tribe survived, so we know women stayed with their “husbands.” In Building Benjamin, Cuzbi is thrilled to have a husband, Naomi is angry, and Jael is lukewarm ( my “Three Bears” in Judges).
The last novel I finished was set during the time of Nehemiah and there is a very detailed storyline to follow. It’s much easier to write a story if there is a plot established.
Thanks for the question.
Thanks for stopping by Hallee’s blog. I hope readers do go to the Bible and read the stories for themselves. I’ve never heard a sermon on Judges 19-21, so it was knew to me when I stumbled upon it. I enjoy wondering “what if” when I read stories or watch TV.
I’m so glad you like Biblical Fiction. Agents tell me it is difficult to sell, but so many readers tell me they enjoy it. I enjoy writing it, so I will continue to tell Bible stories.
Thanks for joining us!
Barbara, I love Biblical fiction! I enjoyed learning more about you in this wonderful interview.
Thank you, Caryl. I’m glad you’re a Biblical fiction reader. I love writing it. The process makes me deep dive into Scripture. Thanks for joining us!