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Author Interview: Laurie Boulden, Author of Flood: A Wife for Shem

author imageToday, it is my pleasure to share an interview with the author of the Biblical historical novel, Flood, A Wife for Shem, Dr. Laurie Boulden, who has been writing  since she was a child. Her favorite class in high school was Writing Science Fiction. Having moved recently, she found that she had a collection of three tubs of various sizes, each holding a variety of spirals. Spirals filled with stories, ideas, poetry, thoughts–all those things that make a writer who she is. Even with a love of writing and toying with stories off and on forever, she never really felt pulled to publish until a few years ago. She earned a Bachelor degree at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and taught elementary science for a decade at Barnard Elementary in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She earned her Masters in Education from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

Laurie moved to Florida and earned her PhD in Education from Walden University. Lots of education, both learning and teaching. It is what she loves to do. But stories still spin in her mind, and she can’t help but put words on a page. Wanting to see her name on a book in a bookstore. The desire led to a search for local writing opportunities. She found the Florida Christian Writers’ Conference, and attending that conference for several years has helped her to hone her craft. It has fed her spirit and lifted her heart. Flood is a result of the conference, as well as several other projects. You can learn more about Flood at Laurie’s website: website Get On the Ark (www.GetOnTheArk.com), which is set to house additional Flood stories.

Laurie resides in Lake Wales, Florida. When she is not creating stories in her head, she works as an Assistant Professor of Education at Warner University. Family and friends are an important part of her life, as is her church, Trinity Baptist.

Laurie, I want to tell the readers my own experience with this novel. This is one of the titles that I think of when I think of the “ones that got away.” I believed in this project, but publishers have lots of reasons for rejection. I’m a tough cookie when it comes to historical novels. Add Biblical to the title, and I’m even tougher. I was reading it for acquisition. I thought I knew a lot about the Old Testament, especially the stories of Genesis, but as I read, your work continually challenged me to go into Scripture to prove you wrong. Instead, I learned some very interesting truths that I think Christians tend to gloss over. Your study of Noah and your presentation of this fictional story of the woman that God would have for one of Noah’s sons, is one of the best pieces Biblical historical novels I’ve read.

So, Laurie, first question: what made you decide to write the fictional story that recounts the historical flood? It’s probably cliché, but I had a dream. I don’t remember much about it, but I do know I woke up wondering, what would it have been like? I wrote the short story pretty quickly, leading up to the flood. The challenge came imagining life on the ark and then the world they encountered after the flood.

In the novel, you create a unique premise about the protection of God, and it is one that makes me think about something that I didn’t before. In such a depraved society, how did God keep Noah safe? Since I learned so much truth from the stories when your words challenged me back to Scripture, I wondered if your research showed that God might have protected Noah in the way you recount or is this fictional license (that I clearly want to say does not violate any Scripture but does add something for the reader to ponder)? One of the things I found in my research of Genesis was the meaning of names.

Hebrew English
Adam Man
Seth Appointed
Enosh Mortal
Kenan Sorrow.
Mahalalel The Blessed God
Jared Shall come down
Enoch Teaching.
Methuselah His death shall bring
Lamech The despairing
Noah Rest, or comfort.

In order for God’s plan to commence, the line of Christ had to be established and protected. Up to Noah, the group believing in God seems to grow smaller and smaller. The ark preserves the group of believers, and the flood provides the drastic environmental changes necessary for shorter life spans. Do I know for sure? No. But it makes sense, and I find that God typically uses sense and order in his plans.

You create such a clear picture of each of the people readers will know from the Bible: Noah, his sons, and even Methuselah. Can you describe how you brought the Biblical stories to such depth of character? One of the Word weaver members I worked with during development of the story said I was the ninth presence. I’m not exactly sure how or why, they are simply in my mind. I read Genesis. I read Hebrews. I looked at commentary I could find. The characters developed from there.

What’s next for you? Will we be seeing any other stories of Noah’s after the flood or perhaps a new genre? I hadn’t planned on it, but Japheth and Ham (maybe even Noah) have stories that want to be told. I am currently outlining Japheth. The website Get On the Ark (www.GetOnTheArk.com) is set to house additional Flood stories.

On a much different note/genre, I am in the editing stage of a book of fairy tales with a twist called Cinderella Spell and Other Tales Retold. I am looking for publishing avenues for both book and screen.

cover imageMore about Flood: A Wife for Shem:

Merial, of the village of Amon Ra, looks to the fields and forests to escape the wickedness that prevails in the lives of the villagers. What she finds there offers more than she could ever hope. But those she cares about remain trapped in the village, and Merial will have to choose to join with the protected family of Noah, leaving the others behind, or be destroyed with all who remain of her kin. A Wife for Shem takes readers on an incredible journey through a world condemned, aboard the rudderless ark upon the waters of a worldwide flood, and into a changed world where life begins anew. It’s more than the romance of Noah’s middle son, it’s the love of God for his creation and the path to redemption.

Flood: A Wife for Shem has received three novel awards from the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference (2013, 2012, and 2010).

 

Character Interview: Merial from Flood, A Wife for Shem

cover imageToday’s guest on Inner Source is Merial, the heroine from Laurie Boulden’s terrific Biblical historical novel, Flood, A Wife for Shem. 

Merial, my first question has to be about your life in the days before you met Noah and his family. How would you describe it? Before? I think it was about fear and hiding. Just walking between the shelters, who would someone grab me? Some mornings there was the stench of death in the air. None of us would dare step outside. Jermi was the only one I felt safe with, for a little while. When he started to change, I would run into the fields as early in the morning as I could. I stayed away as late as I dared. It wasn’t living. I was just trying to survive. I didn’t want to end up like Jermi or Rosen.

When I read your story, I sensed that you felt a call toward the woods. You tried to get your dear friend to go with you, but he would not, and then he could not. What do you think that call was for you? I think it saved my life. Rithi, I mean Cherith, put that thought in my head. I was so young, I forgot about her, but I never completely forgot what she told me. When I first saw the trees gathered together like that, up by the witch’s lair, my heart thudded. I knew, no matter how far away it seemed, I was going to make it there.

Now, I’d love to hear the differences that you saw in Noah and his family versus those you left behind? The ones we left behind. My heart still mourns for them. My mother never knew love. She’d been forced into relationships since she was not much more than a child. I can see that now. She made her life the best she could, not caring about anyone or anything. Rosen was like her. I still feel a bit sick inside. I was scared of my sister. Scared of both of them.

Shem and the others, I was never scared of them. I was afraid they wouldn’t want anything to do with me, a filthy village rat. They were so different. I remember the first time I spied on them, the three brothers were working together. Gangs in the village worked together, but they meant to harm others or turn on themselves. Shem, Ham, and Japheth, they were felling trees big enough to make the earth shake, and they seemed to enjoy being together with a purpose.

I think I was overwhelmed when I met the rest of their families. Naamah, I hope you get to meet her someday. Her skin is the most beautiful color of ebony. She has scars, she calls them her battle wounds. But there is no battle in her eyes. She is kind and loving. They all are. You sit beside Naamah, she’ll tell stories that are as beautiful as the tapestries she weaves.

I think that’s the difference. Being with Shem and his family, I feel drawn into something special. In the village, everyone was for themselves. Survive or die.

If you could have returned to the village you left behind before the days of the flood, what would you have said to the people? I’m not sure what I would say. I didn’t want them to die. Not by a flood and not by those hideous creatures. I wanted to tell Mother about Noah, bring her far enough away from the village that she might listen to me. Noah said anyone could have a relationship with God. I wanted her to know that. But I never got the chance to try.

I’m very curious in your attraction to Noah’s son, Shem. What drew you to him to make you want to be his wife and to follow his family in building something that others ridiculed? (giggles) Shem, yes, wow- there is something about him, isn’t there? You know, if I hang on his arm, he can actually lift me off my feet? Even carrying little Arphaxad on my back. I don’t know, there’s a connection between us. He looks at me and I feel… important. I feel like this is who I am. That sounds weird, doesn’t it?

First time I saw the ark I thought it was a bare mountain. That thing was huge. I touched it. How could anyone see that and not believe Noah’s warnings? I don’t think I ever doubted. I didn’t understand, but even if Shem hadn’t wanted me, I still wanted to be on that boat. Being with Shem – I think we helped each other through the storm. It’s like God knew we would be exactly what the other needed.

More about Flood: A Wife for Shem:

Merial, of the village of Amon Ra, looks to the fields and forests to escape the wickedness that prevails in the lives of the villagers. What she finds there offers more than she could ever hope. But those she cares about remain trapped in the village, and Merial will have to choose to join with the protected family of Noah, leaving the others behind, or be destroyed with all who remain of her kin. A Wife for Shem takes readers on an incredible journey through a world condemned, aboard the rudderless ark upon the waters of a worldwide flood, and into a changed world where life begins anew. It’s more than the romance of Noah’s middle son, it’s the love of God for his creation and the path to redemption.

Flood: A Wife for Shem has received three novel awards from the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference (2013, 2012, and 2010).

author imageMore about the Author:

Dr. Laurie Boulden has been writing  since she was a child. Her favorite class in high school was Writing Science Fiction. Having moved recently, she found that she had a collection of three tubs of various sizes, each holding a variety of spirals. Spirals filled with stories, ideas, poetry, thoughts–all those things that make a writer who she is. Even with a love of writing and toying with stories off and on forever, she never really felt pulled to publish until a few years ago. She earned a Bachelor degree at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and taught elementary science for a decade at Barnard Elementary in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She earned her Masters in Education from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

Laurie moved to Florida and earned her PhD in Education from Walden University. Lots of education, both learning and teaching. It is what she loves to do. But stories still spin in her mind, and she can’t help but put words on a page. Wanting to see her name on a book in a bookstore. The desire led to a search for local writing opportunities. She found the Florida Christian Writers’ Conference, and attending that conference for several years has helped her to hone her craft. It has fed her spirit and lifted her heart. Flood is a result of the conference, as well as several other projects. You can learn more about Flood at Laurie’s website: website Get On the Ark (www.GetOnTheArk.com), which is set to house additional Flood stories.

Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Betty Thomason Owens

BettyThomasonOwensToday, we meet the author who brought us our last hero in Mercy’s adventure, Betty Thomason Owens. Betty writes romantic comedy, historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She has contributed hundreds of articles and interviews to various blogs around the Internet and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group. She’s also a mentor, assisting other writers. She is a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers, and a contributing editor for the soon-to-be launched online magazine, Imaginate.

Her 20’s era romance, Amelia’s Legacy, Book 1, Legacy Series, released October, 2014 (Write Integrity Press). She also writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and its sequels, The Love Boat Bachelor and Unlikely Merger, (2015). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

Coming soon, a 1950’s historical novel inspired by the Book of Ruth, Annabelle’s Ruth, book 1 of the Kinsman Redeemer Series (Write Integrity Press).

You can connect with Betty on her personal webpage, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and at Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My!

Here’s insight from Betty on how she came to write her character, Daniel Knight.

One of my favorite things about writing is creating characters. I don’t usually find pictures of actors and pattern my characters after them. I create characteristics then decide on the character’s outward appearance.

I built Daniel Knight out of good, sturdy stock. He’s not drop-dead gorgeous, just good-ole-boy handsome, with a great personality. He’s much more comfortable in jeans, t-shirt, and a cowboy hat than a suit, but he looks good all dressed up, too. He’s tall and well-muscled, but doesn’t work out with weights to maintain it. It’s the natural byproduct of youth and the fact that he loves to stay active. Which is why he took so well to Colorado, with their annual average of three-hundred-some days of sunshine.

He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, as we see when he meets Mercy for the first time.

Daniel is smart—almost brilliant—in the creative realm. I’ve worked with engineers and I know they can be analytical and egotistical, or swing toward the artistic side, as Daniel does. If he can dream it, he can do it. His love for animals, especially equine, leads him to a fulfilling career designing high-end stables and exercise areas.

I used Mercy’s characteristics as a starting point when deciding on Daniel’s character. Some couples seem to be polar-opposites and live very happily together. Others work well together because they have a lot in common. They would be great friends, even if they weren’t romantically involved. Mercy and Daniel both love the outdoors. Personality-wise, he’s mostly sanquine with a dose of phlegmatic. Both Mercy and Daniel have a good work ethic and seek to do their best when given a task. And of course, they both love the Lord and seek His guidance for their life, though neither one is particularly outspoken about it.

There are a lot of “Daniels” in my life and I’ve drawn from them to build what I hope will be the perfect love interest for Mercy Lacewell. Even if they don’t end up together, I know they’ll be great friends. I hope to visit Daniel one day on his ranch near Boulder, Colorado. He promises I can ride his favorite horse if I’ll bake him one of my famous apple pies. I think that’s a fair trade.

Unlikely Merger CoverMore About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

Amelia's Legacy FRONT Cover

Betty is the author of  Amelia’s Legacy:

It’s the Roaring Twenties and anything goes …

Orphaned and living with her grandmother since the age of six, Nancy Sanderson desires only her freedom from her strict grandmother, Amelia Woods Sanderson, who divides her time between Nancy and a successful career. Her grandmother’s plans include a wealthy, smart, and well-connected young lawyer named Robert Emerson, who bores Nancy.

Instead, Nancy seeks the company of the wild-hearted Nate Conners. When her rebellion turns deadly and her dalliance with Nate leaves her in trouble, Nancy turns to Robert, who promises to protect her. But Robert has underestimated Nate’s thirst for revenge.

As hidden truths become known, can Nancy find the strength to forgive herself and gain true and lasting freedom?

Her latest book, Annabelle’s Ruth will release soon. I’ve been fortunate enough to read it pre-release. Inspired by the Book of Ruth, I can tell you, it is one of the best historical novels I’ve read.

Annabelle's RuthAnnabelle’s Ruth, book 1 in the Kinsman Redeemer series, is a 1950’s era “Ruth” story, set in the area of Trenton, Tennessee. After their husbands perish in a fishing boat accident, Constance “Connie” Cross determines to follow her mother-in-law, Annabelle, to Tennessee. After Southern California, 1950’s West Tennessee gives Connie culture shock. How will she adapt to her new life amid the cotton farms, rank with prejudice?

 

Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Raelee May Carpenter:

Raelee May CarpenterMeet Raelee May Carpenter, one of the winners in the novella contest. Raelee entered her chapter about ex-rock star, Reuben Miller and was one of the two authors chosen to work on the collaboration. Raelee is a Christian and an author of contemporary fiction, inspirational essays, and modern mythology. Her work is passionate, descriptive, and just a little edgy. Raelee’s three lifelong passions are faith, people, and words. She’s a tone-deaf music fan and “Mumma” to a young-at-heart, rescued Beagle mix. She has ADHD and ASD, and she is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Her favorite thing to write about is the force that saved her life: Grace.

Raelee likes to connect with readers. You can find her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Here’s what she has to say about her chapter and her hero.

The main theme of all of my work—the very reason I write—is grace. I believe God’s grace applies to everyone, and anyone who lets it in to their life and lets it win in their heart can become someone who will make a huge positive impact on this world. Rube Miller’s a rock star, complete with copious tattoos, tabloid attentions, and broken hearts. In him, I created a redeemed man out of someone a lot of people would see as beyond redemption. I hope readers who meet Reuben can remember how BIG our God is, so they can learn to love like He loves and know the Truth—that no one is beyond His reach.

~Raelee May Carpenter

Unlikely Merger CoverMore About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

liberation songRaelee is the author of Liberation Song:

When we first meet Aili MacIntyre, she’s doing what she’s been doing all her life: running in fear. She flees through a foreign jungle with two young girls and tries to save them from the forced prostitution ring that has held them in a virtual hell-on-earth. But tragedy meets them under the trees, and only one child escapes.

Three years later, Alexandra Adelaide has acquired a new identity and a radically different scene: the metropolitan jungle of Greater Los Angeles. She, though saved by Grace, has invented what she believes is the appropriate way to suffer for her own sins. Alex is raising the child who was orphaned by her insecurities. And she never, for a second, lets herself forget the pain caused by her mistakes.

Then the real tragedy strikes: she falls in love.

Matthew Gold is everything she needs and a lot more than she could’ve imagined. Bright, attractive, generous, and with his own vested interest in Grace, Matt works hard to earn Alex’s trust and a place in her life. He even loves and seeks to protect her daughter, who is the key to breaking open the biggest human trafficking case in recent history.

But Alex has lived in fear since she took her first breath. So how does she let Love start a new day? How does she choose courage even as very real dangers draw closer to her barred doors?

Raelee is also the author of The Lincoln High Project and Kings and Shepherds.

Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Phee Paradise

Phee ParadiseToday, our guest is Phee Paradise, who was blessed to be a missionary kid and loves to share that experience in her writing.  In Miracles at Midnight, she edited her father’s stories about his years on the mission field where he saw God change lives for the Kingdom. Phee has also contributed to several books, including A Ruby Christmas, A Dozen Apologies and her latest, Unlikely Merger. She prays that her work will be used by God to His glory.  You can read some of Phee’s stories at FaithWriters.com.

Phee shares how she came to write hero, Steve LeClerc for Unlikely Merger:

When I was asked to create a business, I immediately thought of my hero, my husband of forty years. He’s driven a truck most of our lives, so it kind of rubbed off on me. Trucks were his first love, although God and I have pushed them down the priority list. Since we lived in Western Massachusetts, it was natural to set the business in the beautiful Berkshires. But, like most writers, my characters emerge while I write, and they are sometimes uncooperative. I was very surprised to learn that Steve LeClerc is a farmer at heart, but not surprised by his compassion and desire to serve God with all he has. I like him, but my heart still belongs to my trucking hero. Maybe Mercy will fall in love with him.

Unlikely Merger CoverMore About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

Other great multi-author collaborative novellas from Write Integrity Press: A Dozen Apologies and The Love Boat Bachelorand great Christmas reads: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt and A Ruby ChristmasHeart Bouquets, romantic short stories is also available.

Miracles at Midnight CoverPhee is the editor who assisted missionary, John Shackelford in writing about his missionary journey in Miracles at Midnight:

“Had God provided a miracle just for us?” In thirty years as missionaries in Columbia and Guatemala, John and Esther Shackelford saw God work in big and small ways. Read about the Mayan men who knocked on the door asking to accept Jesus Christ. Smile at the enthusiastic bandit who encouraged others to come to Christ  – at gunpoint. See how God provided protection when Esther was robbed, and escape from an isolated town during a revolution, and help during a major earthquake. John’s primary work was youth leadership development at his camp, Monte Sión, and you’ll be moved as you see how God changed lives for the Kingdom. John delights in praising God in these stories of the people he loved and served with joy and hopes his readers will too.

Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Suzy Moore

HeadshotSuzy Moore loves to get lost in a good story. She has a passion for the written word and for the many ways it can touch and uplift through the sharing of lives, stories, and most importantly the Gospel. She lives in rural Missouri with her husband and five children where she is a homeschooling mom, free-lance editor, and wanna-be farmer of all things natural and delicious. Find her on Facebook at Suzy Moore-Wellspring Editing or at wellspringediting.com.

The character of Levi Shepherd came to my mind while thinking of the kind of smart, strong, outdoor-loving men I know in my own family, church family, and that seem to populate the wonderful Midwest in general.

Here, in what much of our nation considers “fly-over” country, reside some pretty wonderful, steady, spirit-filled men that make great husbands!  I wanted to honor those guys.

As I got to know Mercy, I felt she would have the best chemistry with someone that shared her interests, especially fishing and the like. Even though she is still trying to get her footing and build confidence as a business woman, I felt like she would soon discover that she has great instincts for business and that she would be happiest with someone she could work side by side with professionally every day, building their future together.

Levi is also loosely based on the character of Reese Witherspoon’s ex-husband in “Sweet Home Alabama”, who, in her mind he was a backwoods nobody, but in reality was a smart businessman with a good heart. I presented Levi in the opposite order. Mercy first gets know him as a competent professional; an IT officer that is good at his job and well-respected by his peers. She quickly learns he has a great love for the outdoors and an ambitious plan to combine his business skills with that love.

First, though, I prayed over these characters and asked God to show me how He would have me present a budding relationship that honors Him. It is a privilege to write about characters that love and seek the Lord.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Levi!

Unlikely Merger CoverMore About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

Other great multi-author collaborative novellas from Write Integrity Press: A Dozen Apologies and The Love Boat Bachelorand great Christmas reads: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt and A Ruby ChristmasHeart Bouquets, romantic short stories is also available.