Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Tessa Afshar!

Welcome to my first giveaway, for our Ultimate Book Bash!

Today I am delighted to have with me the wonderful author, Tessa Afshar! She wrote Pearl in the Sand, which I read, loved, and reviewed not too long ago. :) You can find my review here.

From here on, my questions are bolded and Tessa's answers are in the normal text.

Welcome, Tessa! Thanks so much for being a part of my Ultimate Book Bash Week. Would you please tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Iran and lived there for the first fourteen years of my life. I survived English boarding school for girls and have an MDIV from Yale University where I served as co-Chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. Even though I have visited four continents and been a citizen of three different countries at various times in my life, I really don’t enjoy traveling. I much prefer curling up on a sofa with a marvelous book and a good friend to share the best lines with. Throw in homemade food and a fire, and I might never leave.

Ah, a delightful thought indeed. :) What was your favorite part of Pearl in the Sand to write?

Probably the second part of the novel, dealing with Rahab and Salmone’s relationship. My most favorite scene was the one from which the book derives its name.

Yes, I loved that scene! So is it hard to write while sticking to the Biblical and historical facts?

The greatest challenge in writing a historical or biblical novel is accuracy. You need to know your subject well. Depending on the project, my research may take many months. I don’t start the writing process until the world becomes real to me—until I can smell and see and taste this other universe. At the same time, the process of research never stops while I write, because even a simple comment, when you are speaking about another world, requires knowledge I may not have. How long does a trip take on horseback; what trees are in bloom at a certain time of year, and for that matter, what trees are even in existence? The questions never cease.

What do you enjoy most about being a published author?

Letters from the fans! The readers are an endless source of delight, because they share with me a bit of their heart. I hear from a wide variety of readers: from tough construction workers to young women who have experienced sexual violation. What amazes me is that they seem to find the love of God for them in this story. I find it the most humbling and joyful experience.

What gave you the idea, or inspired you, to write Pearl in the Sand?

Pearl in the Sand is based on the story of Rahab, the Canaanite harlot who is famous for having saved Israel’s spies from death. She then went on to marry one of the leaders of Judah, and is in the lineage of Jesus. Think about that: some of the DNA of this former harlot swam in Jesus’ blood stream!
Pearl recounts the tale of a woman whose world was a mess, whose life was a mess, whose heart was a mess, but in encountering God, she found to her shock that her life was salvageable. More than that—it was valuable. She found that she was lovable. For her, much of this process happened through the love of a godly and persistent man.

A lighter question: what is your favorite time period to read about?

Great question. I love English history, so anything from the medieval period into the regency times, if it’s well-written, puts a smile on my face. But I think overall I am more interested in a good story than in the time period.

I love English history too! Let's say you could be any literary character...who would you be and why?

Oh my. That’s a tough one. I suppose I might choose Elizabeth Bennet, which isn’t very original. There will be one billion other women in line next to me. But I love her sense of humor and her ability to laugh at herself and others. I also like her self-control; I would probably complain constantly if I had her mother! And she had a pretty easy life. I mean who wants to be Jane Eyre and spend the first eighteen years of one’s life
loveless and unwanted? And probably cold as well?

What's a book you recently enjoyed reading?

To Kill a Mocking Bird, and Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.

I like Dr. Seuss. :) What were your favorite childhood books?

Daddy Long Legs and Uncle Tom’s Cabin to name two.

It is hard to narrow it down, isn't it? Thanks so much for coming, Tessa! I've had a great time getting to know you. How can my readers learn more about you or contact you?

It’s been a pleasure to hang out with you, Charity. Thanks so much for the interesting questions. If you would like to visit me on my website, the address is http://www.tessaafshar.com/ or visit me on my Facebook author page where there is always some new discussion going on: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tessa-Afshar/337761827820?ref=ts .

Thanks again for coming! Readers, make sure you check her website and Facebook out!

Giveaway now closed!

Okay, now it's just me. And we're on to the part you've all been waiting for! Tessa has graciously agreed to give away a copy of Pearl in the Sand!

Believe me, this is a book you should love reading. :) It's a wonderful story!

I'm going to open this giveaway up to anyone who wants to enter! All you have to do is answer the question that is bolded below.

Who is your favorite Biblical character, and have you ever read any fictional book about them?

After you tell me that, you can get extra entries! You don't have to leave them in seperate comments, just make sure you say each thing that you get extra entries for. :)

+2 -- Tell five friends. You can do this by emailing them (you're on your honor!) or by blogging about it. :) If you blog, please leave me a link!

+1 -- Follow this blog.

+1 -- Have my button on your blog.

+2 -- Follow The Birthday Blog.

Okay! As soon as you read this, you can start commenting. You are not required to leave an email address, but if you want to, go ahead. I'll then contact you if you win. Otherwise, you'll just have to leave it later if you're a winner, but it's your choice. This giveaway ends on Wednesday, August 31. So you have until then to enter! And this giveaway is only for people living in the United States. I'm sorry, international readers,  but that's how it is this time. :)

So, enter away!


Rebecca said...

My favorite Bible character is Ruth. I have never read any fiction stories about her. I'm not sure if there are any. There probably are and I just don't know about them. Thank you so much for the chance to win this. I greatly appreciate it. Thanks again.


Angelica said...

Hmm... favorite Bible character... Probably would be either Esther or Ruth. They're both amazing. :)

Angelica said...

I'm following this blog

Angelica said...

and I'm following the Birthday Blog (comment 1/2)

Angelica said...

and I'm following the Birthday Blog (2/2)

His Handmaiden said...

Yay! Books are my favorite =)

My favorite Biblical character is Ruth; and I've read a book called Beauty in the Fields about her. It's sort of like a "Dear America" book; it's written through the eyes of Boaz's niece or a girl like that. It's a pretty good book!

His Handmaiden said...

I'm your newest follower;)


His Handmaiden said...

I posted about it: http://www.hishandmaiden.com/2011/08/worth-it-marillas-reminder.html


His Handmaiden said...

And I follow The Birthday Blog (1/2)


His Handmaiden said...

And I follow the Birthday Blog.. (2/2)

Thank you so much for hosting! =)
In Christ,


Charity U said...

Jessie, in order to be entered, you need to answer the question. If you don't, I can't enter you. :) Thanks!

karenk said...

my favourite bible character is the mother of jesus, mary.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Jessie said...

Oops... sorry. I had commented telling you everything I did, and I didn't mean to comment 'kkk'... I guess there was a computer glitch. =(

Anyway, here's my entries:

Entry #1 -- Who is your favorite Biblical character, and have you ever read any fictional book about them? My favorite Bible character is probably King Josiah. No, I have never read any fictional books about him.

Entry #2 -- Tell five friends. I emailed some friends about this giveaway. (I emailed about 10--does that count as a second entry, one for the first 5 & another for the second 5?)

Entry #3 -- Follow this blog. I already follow Austenitis.

Entry #4 -- Have my button on your blog. I now have Austenitis's button on my blog.

Entry #5 -- Follow The Birthday Blog. I now follow The Birthday Blog.

Thank you so much for doing this giveaway! I've never read any biblical/fictional books before, and this one looks really interesting. Even if I don't win, I'll probably check it out. =D

BTW -- I don't want to publically post my email, so if I win, could you just comment? It should email me whenever someone comments on this post. Thanks again! =D


Jessie said...

forgot to post my blog on the last comment... myfathersdaughter94.blogspot.com.

Claire R said...

I really like Deborah. I've read "Deborah's Story" by Ann Burton. I'll be following from now on :)

Maria said...

I like Martha because I can identify with her getting caught up in trying to get the work done. :-) I just lately read a book about her, but I can't recall the name of it at the moment.

Angela said...

Hmm... that's a really hard question! I think that my favorite character is Ruth. I haven't read any fictional books about her, but I hope to in the future :D.

Oh, and I followed the birthday blog.

In Christ,

Beth said...

Hi, Charity! It's Beth, from Christian Fiction Devourers on Goodreads :) I'm totally loving your blog. This book has been on my to-read list for a while, so anytime I see anything about it, I get excited, hehe! Okay, sorry, now to enter the giveaway. I really like the story of Ruth as well, but I also like Jael. I've read Jael's Story by Ann Burton. She was such a brave woman.

I became a follower of Austenitis and The Birthday Blog.


Charity U said...

Rebecca, I too would think that there are stories about Rebecca...but I've never read any. I know Jill Eileen Smith (she wrote a bunch of ficion about King David's wives) is coming out with a new series about Patriarch's (sp?) wives, and since it's beginning with "Sarai" I bet there'll be a Rebecca too. :)

Angelica, glad you're entering!

His Handmaiden, books are my favorites too! Hmmm...never heard of that book. Very interesting!

Jessie, I'm glad your comment worked this time! King Josiah...nope, I've never read any fiction about him either. Yes, I'll let you have two entries for telling friends since you emailed 10. And that's fine about not posting your email. I will post the winner here on the blog, and I will email you if you win.

Claire R, I will have to look up Ann Burton, since I've seen her mentioned by several people.

Maria, I know what that's like!

Angela, it is hard! I don't know what I'd say.

Beth, so glad you came by! It was on my to-read list for a loooong time too until I won a copy. :) Jael was an amazing woman!

Thank you all for entering!

Eve said...

My favourite Biblical character would have to be Paul. I haven't read an actual historical fiction novel about him, but I have read both Kingdom's Call and Kingdom's Quest by Chuck Black, which retell his story in a whole new different way.


Eve said...

I follow your blog!

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Hi Charity! I follow via GFC. My favorite Bible character is Esther. gwen.gage@gmail.com

Alyianna said...

My favourite Biblical character...well, I really like St. Paul. And, yes, I read a book about him. I never realized that he had such an exciting life!

Alyianna said...

I am already following your blog, and I put your button on my blog. It is third on the scrolling list a little bit down on the sidebar. http://alaw-themeblog.blogspot.com/

Alyianna said...

Oh wait...could you send me an ebook version of this book if I win? Let me know at texlego1@gmail.com