Please welcome fellow DeWard author and friend, CAROLE TOWRISS! I'm excited to introduce Carole to all of you as she is celebrating her debut novel's release IN THE SHADOW OF SINAI.
Here is my review of her wonderful novel:
A STORY EPIC IN NATURE
I was there! I felt like I was right there in the palace of ancient Egypt. Carole Towriss brought the Bible to life. Amazing how an author can make me wonder what's going to happen next, even though I know what's going to happen. After all, it's a Bible story. But told from the unique perspective of Bezalel, a Hebrew Egyptian slave, I couldn't help but wonder what was going to happen to him and Ramses' lovely concubine, Meri.
Bezalel's name means "in the shadow of God." He thinks it's a negative place to be, but it's a good place because that's where he's safe. A great spiritual lesson, and something we all need to realize when we don't want to submit to God. His shadow is our protection!
The Shadow of Sinai is a definite page-turner.
Back Cover Blurb Bezalel is a Hebrew slave to Ramses II. An artisan of the highest order, Ramses has kept him in the palace even when all other Israelites have been banned. Bezalel blames El Shaddai for isolating him from his people.
When Moses and Aaron appear one summer, and El Shaddai shakes Egypt to its core, Bezalel must reexamine his anger. Over the course of the next year, Bezalel’s life becomes intertwined with those of an Egyptian child-slave, the captain of the guard, and especially a beautiful, young concubine.
When spring arrives, all of them escape with the young nation of Israel. But that’s only the beginning…
LET'S GET TO KNOW CAROLE:
Carole, what are 5 things you love?
Ummm … my
husband and four kids? J
hot bath and a book
Are there things you put off doing
because you dread them?
absolutely dread making phone calls. I would rather email or do it online I
just hate making appointments or doing tasks by phone.
spiritual themes you like to write about?
message of Sinai is the sovereignty
of God. Bezalel has to learn to accept what God has done in his life, good and
bad, and there are some pretty bad things. But the trials in our lives often
have a purpose, even when we can’t see it. Bezalel’s grandfather tells him, “You
can trust God, or be blown about like a leaf in the wind.”
inspired you to write this story?
I was reading the Bible - I think I was
in church - in Exodus 31. "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'See, I have
chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have
filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with
knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in
gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage
in all kinds of crafts.' And I thought, 'Now how would a slave know how to do
all that?' God could have just poof, given him all that knowledge, but that's
no fun, and generally not how God works. So I made up a story.
Tell us about the journey to getting this
It’s pretty unusual, and I’m not sure you realize how much
you had to do with getting Sinai
published, Sandi. At at least three points you played a major role.
I was in an online critique group with
you. You told me my main character was boring, and no one would care about him,
that I needed to add a flaw. I did, and you finally proclaimed it worthy! That’s
about when you first got sick. I had to rewrite most of the manuscript, but it
flowed easily from there. I completed it in February 2011.
went to a conference that April and an agent asked for the full manuscript. I
sent it, but then I never heard from her again. I’d finished it, but not all of
it had gone through my crit groups.
While I waited and polished, I entered several contests. Most were romance
contests, as they are most popular. I always got dinged because my story is not
a romance and does not follow the very strict rules. But I learned even
more—it’s a great and inexpensive way to get good feedback. I won second place twice and first place
Eight months later, when the manuscript completed the crit rounds and I was
happy with it, I tried the agent once more, then I heard a small, traditional
press—your publisher—was looking for Biblical fiction. He asked for the full an
hour later. Three months later he offered me a contract. He told me later that
you gave him the final nudge and said he should publish it. Six months after
that I had a book in my hands! With my name on it! That’s the advantage of
working with a smaller press.
Do you have anything else coming out?
almost finished with the sequel, which I hope will be published next fall. It’s
called By the Waters of Kadesh,
it’s the story of the spies in Canaan. I also have a short story, “Thirty
Minutes or Less,” in an anthology by OakTara called I Choose You,
What does the act of writing mean to you?
about the only thing I do that is just for me, just mine. It’s something I feel
I was meant to do, I have to do. I think every writer feels like God wants them
to write, like God gave them the story. I feel the same way.
do you do the research for your books? How does the research differ between historical or contemporary?
it’s a Bible story, I start there. For facts about the land or history, I use
books, the internet. If it’s on the internet, I make sure I find it in three or
four places, or quoted in a book or very reputable place before I use it. I try
to find tidbits about plants or animals or things like that to add some
What do you love about writing?
Seeing where it
goes! Sometimes the characters take me in a completely unexpected direction! In
this book, one charater was supposed to disappear after chapter one. She ended
up being a main character. She’s even in book two!
How do you develop the plot of your
The basic plot is the Bible story. From there, I try to immerse the
characters into the story, and show what’s going on from their points of view,
what’s happening in their lives. As a general rule, what happens to the group
in the book comes from the Bible, what happens to an individual comes from my
Places for readers to
learn more about you?
Carole, thank you so much for joining us on my blog. It was great to have you here and to learn how my earlier critiques encouraged you, whew (so glad they didn't have the opposite effect). For those who wish to win a copy of Carole's awesome book, leave a comment with your email like so sandirog at gmail dot com.
Best of luck to the winner!