Hello readers! Today we are happy to welcome Tessa Afshar, author of Pearl In The Sand, to Book Ponderings!
First off, would you mind telling us a bit about yourself and something about you that might surprise your readers?
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.
What inspired you to write Pearl In The Sand and why did you choose Rahab's story?
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!
My fascination with Rahab actually started in Italy. During a visit to Florence, I noticed that Ponte Vecchio—the famed bridge straddling the Arno River for almost seven hundred years—had tiny shops built right into its walls. Walking over this bridge reminded me of the story of Rahab. The Bible tells us that she lived in the bowels of a wall too. Her house was built right into the defensive walls of Jericho. I wondered what it was like to live in a wall as I crossed Ponte Vecchio. Then I realized that we all know a little something about that. Most of us have to contend with walls in the interior places of our souls. Walls built on foundations of pride, fear, rejection, loss; walls that keep others at bay and shield us from drawing close enough to get hurt again. Suddenly I was hooked. I wanted to write about walls, about living in them, about pulling them down. I wanted to write about Rahab.
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.
Has your faith influenced your writings?
It’s impossible for me to separate my faith from my writing. I see the world through the lens of Christ. Since I write novels in the Old Testament era, I can never actually name Jesus, but He is there in every plot line, nonetheless.
We know what you mean there!
Did you base any of your characters on people you really know?
I try to avoid basing a character on any single individual I know.
Which book that you've written was your favorite to write?
I’m only midway through writing my second novel. But I imagine each book would be a favorite in its own way.
When you started writing, where did you begin? With an outline? Or did you just jump into it and let the story form as you wrote? Also, how much research went into Pearl In The Sand?
I do a lot of research before I actually begin writing. Sometimes it takes months before I have an accurate sense of the world I am writing about. After that, I’m a seat-of-the-pants kind of writer. In fact, most of my pants don’t have any seats left!
Hahaha!!!! Love the way you said that!
Who would you have play Rahab and Salmone if your book was made into a movie?
I have no clue. In fact, I’d like to start a fan pole and see who they suggest.
Hmm...We'll have to think on that!
Who is your favorite author?
Are you kidding? Can’t just pick one. But here are a few: Charlotte Bronte (can’t wait to see the new movie based on Jane Eyre); Jane Austen; Athol Dickson; J. R. R. Tolkien.
Do you have another book in the making? Can you give us some insight on what it's about?
The novel I am currently working on is another historical fiction about a Jewish woman who is the Senior Scribe to the queen of Persia. She is a genius who doesn’t know when to keep her mouth shut. She solves intrigues, marries a man who hates her, and finds out that there’s more to life than being good at your job. Oh yeah, and by the way, she is Nehemiah’s second cousin.
Wow that sounds intriguing! We happen to be writing a book that takes place a few years before Nehemiah during Artaxerxes' early rule. It's a fun time to write in!
How can our reader's reach you?
Thank you so much for inviting me to hang out with you here at Book Ponderings. It’s been an absolute pleasure. 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 so much for granting us the pleasure of welcoming you to Book Ponderings!
Readers, I HIGHLY suggest you get a hold of Tessa's book - Pearl In The Sand. It was an AMAZING story that you won't want to pass up! Also, if you have any ideas as to who could play Rahab and Salmone if Tessa's movie were made into a movie, please leave a comment!