Have you ever had what you thought would be a casual conversation with someone you just met over a meal? And that conversation turned into a passionate “cry” of the heart that ended up being a peek into the future for that person? That’s what happened when this month’s featured Author Highlight award-winning author, Jill Eileen Smith and I spoke way back in the late 1990s at an American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference.
What was the topic of discussion? The Bible and why Biblical fiction was so important–why getting to know Jewish people from history was important to us today. Why we had to see past the “iconic” status of characters into the hearts and lives of real people was important to our understanding of living out GOD’s word. To understand within historical context and Hebrew culture. Both of us wondered when the time would be right.
For Jill, the set time for her passion to be published was in 2009, with the Wives of King David series. Since then she’s barely taken a breath as book after book has come from her heart into our hands.
Now Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling and award-winning author not only the biblical fiction series The Wives of King David, but also The Wives of the Patriarchs, and Daughters of the Promised Land, as well as The Heart of a King, Star of Persia: Esther’s Story, and
Miriam’s Song. She is also the author of the nonfiction books When Life Doesn’t
Match Your Dreams and She Walked Before Us. Her
research into the lives of biblical
women has taken her from the Bible
to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how
women lived in Old Testament times. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.
That’s just the tip of iceberg of the wonderful author and person Jill is. Let’s get to know her even more!
What was your inspiration for writing in general—why did you choose writing?
I don’t think I chose writing. God created me with a writer’s heart and mind, and through the years He led me to write fiction. I kind of came at writing the hard way when I buried His gift for eight years. Once He told me in so many ways to dig up this gift, I never looked back.
I remember you and I talking about how difficult the rejections were. Neither of us could understand why Biblical fiction wasn’t “in style.” There are thousands and thousands of readers who are glad you “dug up this gift” — including me.
How has Christian fiction or nonfiction impacted you personally?
I learn from everything I read. I tend to gravitate toward nonfiction, especially when I’m in those tough circumstances of life. But fiction carries with it an escape valve and allows me to relax, get some serious down time, and teaches me in a way nonfiction never could. So they both impact me in different ways.
Yes! Fiction has a way of speaking without preaching. We journey with our characters and — hopefully — learn as they do.
How has being published been a fulfillment of your dreams?
I can’t say I have always dreamed of being published. Once I dove into writing again and began an epic-length novel on King David, the desire to publish surfaced. But it was 20 long years before I landed a contract. I am grateful for the opportunity publishing has given to me, but it is not the fulfillment of my biggest dreams. Those are yet to be and worth more than anything in this world I could hope for.
Do you have any unusual research habits for your books?
I wouldn’t call them habits. I guess each book has the potential to take me to different types of research. Normally, I gather my information from Scripture and outside sources, but once I made a recipe from a Bible cookbook for Esther’s feast. I’d never made duck before and trust me, I won’t ever follow that recipe again! My husband made an ancient clay lamp for me just to see what it would look like. I hunt for strange things like how to climb a palm tree or how a hunter might use every single part of an animal so that nothing is wasted. And for my next WIP, I hope to visit the Ark Experience to get an idea of what Noah and his wife and family lived through.
Going to the Ark Experience sounds like fun! We’ll be looking forward to that book!
Which of your characters has really stretched you as a writer?
Rebekah, Deborah, Miriam, and Eve, my current WIP [Work In Progress]. They were my most difficult characters because there is so little written about them in Scripture.
We’re certainly glad you pressed through to write about these women.
What is the story behind The Prince and the Prodigal?
I wanted to tell the story of Joseph and Judah for a long time, but the timing wasn’t right back when I first had the desire. I’ve always been fascinated by Judah’s story in Genesis 38. Why was his story stuck in the center of Joseph’s larger one? Exploring each man’s character was challenging and one of my easier books to write.
I loved how you connected their stories. So unique.
If you’re interested in the BOOK REVIEW video click here.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on Eve’s story, which I have to turn in by the middle of March. Hers is far different than anything I’ve done to date as she has no one on earth who shares her beginnings. It has been fun to imagine Eden, but outside of Eden the story has been my most challenging.
The March’s Author Highlight Giveaway!
NOTE: WANT TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING THIS INCREDIBLE GIVEAWAY?
Check out my YouTube Author Highlight interview with Karen. Because, in the video interview she will answer different questions, and you don’t want to miss one very exciting little known fact about Karen and learn more about the SPECIAL SURPRISE. By Liking and Commenting on the video episode, you will have one more entry. Sharing the video, another entry. Subscribe, and you have TWO entries for a chance to win.
The Deadline is March 10th!
That means, my friends, if you comment and subscribe -– or are already a subscriber -– to my blog, then watch the video and LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT on the VIDEO, then Subscribe to my YouTube Channel, your name will be entered SIX TIMES!
Be sure to tell your friends! See you there!
Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed getting to know my friend Jill and her amazing books.
Next month’s Author Highlight is the bestselling and award-winning author, Kelli Stuart!
Thanks for stopping by! God bless and KEEP READING!