Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Interview and Giveaway with Jill Eileen Smith!

Readers, I am delighted to be introducing you again to Jill Eileen Smith! She's been a favorite author of mine for over a year now. As you'll discover from reading this, she's written several Biblical fiction books about a variety of Biblical women: three Wives of King David, and currently two Wives of the Patriarchs. Enjoy this interview...and there's a giveaway at the end as well.

Jill, welcome back to Austenitis! We did an interview a few months ago when Sarai came out, but here we are back again for the most recent book in the Wives of the Patriarchs series, Rebekah. Could you give us a quick blurb about it?

Rebekah is a story of relationships – between husband and wife and parent to child. It deals with topics of barrenness, sacrifice, favoritism, and miscommunication. Here’s the back cover copy:

Can love heal the rift between two souls?

When her beloved father dies and she is left in the care of her conniving brother Laban, Rebekah knows her life has changed forever. Though she should be married by now, it’s clear that Laban is dragging his feet, waiting for a higher bride-price to line his pockets. When she is given a chance to leave her home to marry Isaac, a cousin she has never even seen, Rebekah’s hope for the future is restored. Little does she know what a wondrous and heart-wrenching journey she is beginning.

As Rebekah experiences the joy of young love and the bitterness of misunderstanding and betrayal, her resolve will be tested. When the rift between her and Isaac grows so wide it is surely too great to be mended, can she trust the God of Isaac’s father Abraham to bridge the gap?

It was such a good book. You’ve written several (five published so far?) Biblical fiction books. Is it hard to write while sticking to the Biblical facts?

I suppose in some ways it can seem restrictive, but I actually like the restrictions. Knowing the framework of what did happen lets me explore the “how” and “why” behind the “what.” I like to try to figure people out, and the biblical account lets me get to know the character in some small way, but their actions challenge me to understand the deeper person. Who were they? Why did they make the choices they did? In figuring out those answers, I have to keep referring back to the Scripture as a whole to make sure their actions were plausible and don’t take us away from the truth of God’s Word.

And you do a great job with exploring the “how” and the “why” – I’ve really been impressed by that in each of the books I’ve read by you so far. And I’d also say that you do an amazing job sticking with Scripture for both the story and the “morals,” so to speak. Now, I’ve seen you mention in several places that Rebekah was your hardest book to write yet. Would you tell us a little about what made this one extra difficult?

If you read through Genesis, you get a good sense of Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Rachel, and Leah. But Isaac is like an afterthought, a pause, if you will, between the greater narratives of his father and son. And the only time Rebekah is mentioned is the scene of her betrothal and when God spoke to her about the twins. But a lot of years go by between those two events, with little said of them.
Who were these people? What defined them? And what led to the favoritism that later divided their household? With so little in Scripture, even in the New Testament, to give clarity, I did a lot of praying!

It’s true…I hadn’t realized how little she was in there! If Rebekah were being made into a movie, which actors would you like to take the main characters?

I can’t really answer that as far as acting ability goes because I would prefer to trust the director to make those choices. But I will tell you that Rachel Weisz was the actress I “cast” for my Idea Board. And David Strathairn is my Isaac.

Perfect. :) What is the biggest thing you’d like a reader to take away from Rebekah?
I’d like them to see Isaac as more heroic than we tend to see him just from the Genesis account. He is suggested to be a type of Christ, and if you compare their sacrifices, you just might see Isaac in a different light. Abraham obeyed God’s command, but Isaac must have allowed his father to do what he did. (Most commentators think Isaac was at least 15 at the time of his binding.) Think of Jesus’ submission to His Father and then compare Isaac’s to his. Gives a different perspective, I think. And I’d like them to see Rebekah through the eyes of one who knows the truth but is just too impatient to wait on God to bring His promise to pass. (Sounds a bit like Sarai where Hagar is concerned, doesn’t it?) I wonder what would have happened if Rebekah had waited on God to bless Jacob, rather than resorting to deceit. Their stories give us much to ponder.

You’re right, remarkably similar to Sarai. There is indeed much to ponder! So your next book, Rachel, will complete the Wives of the Patriarchs series, correct? And it also includes Leah’s story? When does Rachel come out, and can you tell us anything about what you’ll be doing after that?

Yes, Rachel is the final book in the Patriarchs series and will likely release around Feb. 1, 2014. I don’t have a firm release date yet. Yes, Leah’s story is well represented in Rachel’s story. The book is as much about the sisters as it is about Jacob and Rachel. I recently turned in to my editor the first-to-e-book novella in the Loves of King Solomon series.

Next up is to complete the first draft of Rahab, book one in the Brides of the Promised Land series. There are four books in that series – Rahab, Deborah, Ruth, and Hannah. In August, after my son’s wedding, I plan to start work on the next Solomon novella - Abishag. (There are four novellas and one compilation print book in that series.) So I am writing one full-length novel and one novella per year.

Oh wow! That new series will feature some really amazing women! I can’t wait. Moving on… Your biggest fan and supporter is…

My family. My husband, Randy, my sons, my mom, (my dad used to be), my brother and sister…I’m not sure there is only one!

I’ve always thought that question seemed hard. What’s a book you’ve recently enjoyed reading?

I’m actually reading several books at once. Fiction: I just finished Love in Disguise by Carol Cox. That was a fun read. I’m now reading Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl and To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander.

Non-fiction: Nearing Home by Billy Graham; Jesus Calling by Sarah Young; and Heaven by Randy Alcorn.

All books I’ve heard of, but I’ve only read Starflower so far. What’s a random fact about you that most people wouldn’t know?

When I was in my early teens, my dad took my mom and I (I was the only kid left at home) on a 3000-mile trip from Michigan to California and back again, making a giant loop of the states. When our kids were about the same age as I had been then, Randy and I took them on a similar trip. One of my favorite memories!

What fun. :) I’m so glad you were able to come by, Jill! It has once again been a joy to have you and awesome to learn more about you and your books! Where can fans find you on the internet?

My website and blog: http://www.jilleileensmith.com
(For Ten Things You Might Not Know About Rebekah) click here, then click the .pdf file: http://www.jilleileensmith.com/books/rebekah/behind-the-scenes/
If that doesn’t work, try this link: http://www.jilleileensmith.com/wpcontent/uploads/2013/01/Ten-Things-About-Rebekah-3.pdf  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jilleileensmith
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JillEileenSmith
Pinterest: (I have a Rebekah board you can see here: http://pinterest.com/jewordsmith/rebekah/)

Thanks again, Jill!

Oh you lucky readers...look! Jill offered to give away a copy of Rebekah! The winner will receive the book -- it'll be either signed or will come with a personalized bookplate! US residents only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jill Smith will be the featured guest on a Live interactive Video Chat Session sponsored by “Shindig” on Tuesday February 19th at 7:00 pm EST!!  It’s free to attend, and you can meet Jill and ask any questions you have for her!  Go here to RSVP and find out more details about this event. 
Join best-selling author Jill Eileen Smith as she presents ten facts and/or possibilities you might not know about the Patriarch Isaac's wife Rebekah. Do you have a question about the people in the Bible you've always wanted to ask? Jill will take questions about biblical characters, biblical fiction, and about any of her books in the Wives of the Patriarchs or Wives of King David series. So please, plan to join us!


Charity U said...

About that Rafflecopter...I'm sorry, I'm having trouble with it. Keep checking back today! I'm working on it, and if it doesn't work by tomorrow, we'll go back to the old way of doing entries...details then if need be. :) Thanks for hanging with me!

Amy C said...

I have not read anything by Jill Eileen Smith and I have not read any Biblical fiction before.

Kara said...

Have not read Jill's books yet, but this one sounds amazing :)

For Biblical fiction, I've enjoyed Liz Curtis Higgs (Mine is the Night) and Tommy Tenney (Hadassah: One Night with the King), highly recommend both of them!

Loved the interview, thanks for the giveaway, blessings!

debbie curto said...

I have read all of Jill's books and would love to have one in my own home library!

Judy said...

I've read Sarai. Oh my goodness, I could not put this book down. I plan to read everything that Jill has written. She is a new (to me) favorite author! I would love to win a copy of Rebekah

Judy B

Bookishqueen said...

I have not read any of Jill Smith's books, sorry. I like Mesu Andrew's and Tessa Afshar's Biblical fiction.


Lisa E. said...

I love Jill's Wives of King David series! I've been wanting to get started on her new series. Biblical fiction (when it's so well-researched) is my favorite genre, and she does it so well!

~Lisa E.

chaplaindebbie said...

These books look quite interesting. I will putting them on my TBR list.

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read rebekah's story

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Jasmine A. said...

I haven't read any of Jill's books yet but this series looks great! My favorite Biblical fiction series is The Genesis Trilogy by Kaci Barnett-Gramckow, it is one of my absolute favorite series!
Jasmine A.

Tammy Cuevas said...

I just finished Rebekah and loved it. I'm hoping to win a second copy for my mother. Just for the record, I love the idea of David Strathairn as Isaac!


Anonymous said...

A very good interview. I haven't read any if Jill's books yet. And, can"t think of any other i have read.
I would love to be in this drawing for this book.
Maxie mac262(at0me(dot)com

Brittany Britta said...

I would love to win, this book has a very pretty cover!

Patty said...

I don't think I've read any of Jill's books, and haven't read any biblical fiction recently. It might be a nice change of pace!


Anonymous said...

I love Jill's books....think I have read them all but this one. Thanks for this giveaway!

lorlyn63 said...

I have not read any of Jill's books yet - I do have one on my Kindle I want to read of hers, but have not gotten to it yet. I used to read Ellen Gunderson Traylor's books on biblical fiction and loved them. I would enjoy adding a new author to my library of books. Thank you for the opportunity to sign up for your giveaway and thank you for offering good Christian reading and the opportunity to get to know the authors that write them!

I love the choices Jill mentioned for her actors if it was made into a movie. I think it would be great to see it in movie form - I love movies.


Hannah America said...

I haven't read any of her books yet. I haven't read any Biblical fiction in quite a few years.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read any of Jill's books before but would love to read this one.

Katie J.

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

Definitely attracted to this book, though I have not had the pleasure of Jill's writing as yet!

This giveaway is Much appreciated..:)

any Biblical fiction to recommend?
hmmm ~ seems my library has a gap!

beckie said...

I have read all of the biblical books by Jill and I simply MUST read this one!

Betz said...

I have not had the chance to read any books by Jill, but would love to. I must look for these :)
Would love to win!
God bless!


Charity U said...

Faith, if you click the Biblical fiction tag on the left, I've reviewed a number of those books. Some were good, a few I didn't like as well. But any with an 8.5 or above are ones I definitely recommend! :) No Biblical fiction is a definite gap.

Everyone else...if you haven't read anything by Jill yet, you're SO missing out! Get your hands on one ASAP. :)

Jill Eileen Smith said...

Thank you for all of the kind words and promotion of my work, Charity! And thanks to all of you who have stopped by. I wish you could all win! Thanks for wanting to read my work.

God's blessings to all~

Jan said...

Thank you for the wonderful interview.
Jill is a new to me author. I would love to start with this book.

KayM said...

Thank you for the very interesting interview! I really enjoyed it. I have not yet read any of Jill's books, but I do enjoy Biblical fiction, so would like to read Rebekah. One series that I really loved was Angela Hunt's Legacies of the Ancient Rivers based on the life of Joseph. There are 3 books--Dreamers, Brothers and Journey.

Beth said...

I haven't read any of her books yet, but I do own The Wives of King David books & plan to read Michal in March :)

I really want to read those before I read Sarai, which I picked up as a Kindle freebie.

I recently read Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar & it was really good. Definitely recommend.


Salyna xD said...

I would love to win this book! Been wanting to read it ever sense I first heard of it.