Thank you everyone for the wonderful reception of HANNAH. I’m excited that it’s now available on paperback on Amazon for those who don’t have access to a bookstore that carries my books (or are Prime shoppers like me. Haha).
I once had a conversation about one of my biblical novels with one of my agents, who is Jewish, and she told me, “I think you know more about my religion and history than I do.” Even if I’ve done a lot of focused research, I always use advance readers who are historians, scholars, or members of the faith or culture I’m writing about (now called “sensitivity readers”). Not everyone wants to write a book about their ancestors or heritage. I wrote Condemn Me Not about my 10th great-grandmother. It was a passion project the spanned 4 years of starting and stopping. I recognize that there are traumas in many people’s backgrounds, and they don’t want to dig them up and write about it, even if it’s important to not forget history. This also makes me appreciate authors who work to bring stories to life for me as well, so that I can keep learning and growing.
When I wrote RUTH, I felt that yes, I needed to do my research and have the right advance readers and experts give me feedback, but ultimately it was a story of two women, one a daughter-in-law and another a mother-in-law. My mother-in-law passed away several years ago, but I was able to use her example and our relationship as a springboard into the characterization.
Back to HANNAH. I’m not Jewish or Hebrew. I've never struggled with infertility. But as a woman and a mother and a sister and daughter (all human stuff), I was able to glean the emotions that Hannah might have gone through, in addition to watching my older sister go through years of infertility and frustrations with wanting a family and not being able to have one. (She now has 6 children, so she experienced more than one miracle.)
One of my favorite reviews on Hannah is from a Jewish reader (Carol F, NetGalley), “It was interesting to read a Christian view of Hannah and Samuel. It was smooth reading and full of information. Why did I really want to read this? My Hebrew name is Chana or in English is Hannah. My father, may his memory be a blessing, is Samuel. I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.”
Thanks again, my friends, for supporting a small Christian author who is hoping to bring more interest and understanding to our sisters in the scriptures.