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’m thrilled to have Shoshanna Gabriel as my guest! I first met Shoshanna at a conference a few years ago. She was wearing a Star of David with a cross necklace. I immediately cornered her and said, “Are you Jewish?” (Nothing like a crazy woman in your face!) My husband’s best friend is a Jewish Christian and Gregg and I are Messianic Christians — which means we worship and observe feasts like Messianic Jews — we just weren’t born Jewish. Since then, whenever we’re at the same conference, we get together for fellowship. I love her testimony and I love that she’s my guest today! Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her latest release Second Chances for Trampled Hearts!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Thanks for having me! I’ve written three small-town Christian romance novels so far as Shoshanna Gabriel. Before that, I wrote about thirty books as Shoshanna Evers. I changed my name when I found Jesus and decided to stop writing secular romance with graphic love scenes.
I grew up in New York and was born and raised Jewish. Converting to Christianity as an adult was one of the most difficult decisions I ever made, because it required going against my family’s wishes and everything I’d learned growing up. They still aren’t happy about it, to say the least. But once I learned the truth about Jesus, I couldn’t unlearn it. There’s just too much evidence that Jesus IS the Messiah I had been seeking as a Jew.
Tell us about your current release. Allie Crawford buys half-ownership of the cowboy’s diner in the small mountain town of Bear Creek Saddle, Idaho. It’s all she can afford, and it’s about as far from Miami as she can get. Will it be far enough?
“Big Bad Bill” inherited the town’s infamous old diner from his great-uncle, who insisted it stay in the family. Bill knows cattle, not the restaurant business—so he’ll foot the bill to get it going again, and let the woman champing at the bit for her own restaurant handle running it.
Then Allie needs his help with renovations, and Bill finds he can’t stay away, after all.
Neither expects the friendship that blooms between them. But even beautiful evergreen trees and soaring mountain peaks can’t soothe the pain of betrayal and loss.
Faith may be the only thing big enough to heal their trampled hearts, and give them both a second chance at love…
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes, I’d like to think I would still write my books even if they only ended up benefiting one person on their spiritual journey. Every life matters, and if God chose my book as a way to speak to someone through my story or characters, I’d be very grateful and humbled by that. I feel called to write these books, and I’d probably be writing them even if no one ever read them at all.
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? I used to feel a lot of pressure, when I was writing sexy books for the secular market as Shoshanna Evers, to deliver what I’d become known for. My readers had certain expectations for my books, and my livelihood depended on me not letting my readers down. There was a period of time where I knew Jesus was my Savior, but also didn’t want to let go of my success as an author to change paths and write for His glory.
It took a couple years before it became too uncomfortable to continue my career as I had in the past. I realized I wanted to write books with a faith element, and to completely change direction with my stories. When I did finally “come out” as a Christian, I lost my agent, speaking gigs, and a six book contract nearly overnight. I had torpedoed my career with one blog post. But then I was free. Free to write whatever I wanted, free to change my name and to start fresh.
What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done? I never thought, as a Jew, that I’d ever become a Christian! I had a lot of misconceptions about Christians and Christianity, and had never even read the New Testament until I was in my thirties. Growing up in Westchester, New York, I also never envisioned myself living out in the country in rural north Idaho, but here I am, enjoying the simple life with my husband, our children, and our animals. My life is much better than I could ever have planned it to be, thank God. He has always had better things in mind for me than I had in mind for myself!
Here is where you can find Shoshanna online:
Shoshanna is giving away an ebook copy of her book Second Chances for Trampled Hearts to 3 readers! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway
Oh, wow!! I have to say I’m impressed!! God is awesome!!! How wonderful that you are now a Messianic Jew!!!! Your book sounds really good!!! I’ve just liked your author facebook page so I can follow! I, for one, think it’s wonderful that you are writing the books you now are, as now I can read them. I read Christian fiction almost exclusively, as I will read sweet/clean. However, I just added sweet/clean in this year, and I though they make for a good read, I really miss the faith element in them, so I may be totally going back to Christian fiction, myself.
wow I applaud this. I applaud your bravery. It takes a whole lot of courage to do what you did. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. This is very inspiring. There are authors who are writing Christian fiction that find it ‘ok’ to populate their books with inappropriate sexual content, justifying it for one reason or another. (premarital, or extramarital) I ran into a pastor’s wife even. It baffles me. Hearing your story encourages me. Thank you for having the courage to take a stand even though it was difficult.
A great testimony and sounds like a great book too!
I agree with Trudy and Sara Beth. I am curious about the book. Why is Bill known as Big and Bad?
Bill has the nickname “Big Bad Bill” because his size is intimidating, for one, and he’s shut himself off from everyone in town, pushing people away who try to be friendly with him. In the years since his wife died, he’s gotten rougher around the edges, and would rather be seen as rude or mean than have to spend time with anyone. Bill doesn’t do smiles and small talk, and it’s given him a reputation as someone not to mess with.
Love Shoshanna’s books! I can’t wait for more stories!
What an uplifting and enlightening interview! I have to admit, I have read Shoshana’s books (both version) and will happily state I prefer the Christian ones. They feed a need. I don’t require graphic scenes (I have a vivid imagination), but rather a book that leaves me with the sense of fulfilment and peace.
Thank you, Mary, that means a lot to me!
Thank you so much for the kind words, and for reading!