Next week we’ll be hosting a book review blog tour for In the Shadow of Sinai at Cross Focused Reviews. Here’s a brief written interview with the author, Carole Towriss.
Q: Your new book In the Shadow of Sinai released from DeWard Publishing in November 2012. This is a work of biblical fiction. Give a brief overview of the story you tell in the book.
A: 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…
Q: Tell me about your inspirations for the book.
A: The idea for Sinai first came to me as I was reading in Exodus. God says 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…” I wondered, how does a slave learn to make all the beautiful pieces that were in the tabernacle? Did God just say, “Poof! Now you know!”? Sometimes he works that way, but not very often, and it’s not very fun that way, so I made up a story to explain it.
Q: What are the top two things you hope readers will take away after they finish the book?
A: The 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 bad things 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.” We can either fight against God’s will and purpose in our lives, or we can rest in it. Either way, nothing will change.
Secondly, Bezalel’s name means “in the shadow of God.” He has always felt that being in the shadow meant being forgotten, abandoned, in the cold and dark. He learns that being in the shadow means being near to God, under His protection. Sometimes we can see or feel His shadow even when we can’t see Him.
Q: Can you share any interesting facts you learned while doing your research?
A: I always knew Egypt was very advanced, but they were even more advanced than I realized. And their attitude toward woman was quite different from all the other nomadic nations of the time—women were basically equal. They could choose a mate, initiate divorce, have a career, own property.
I also learned that the only name for God the Israelites really used in patriarchal times was El Shaddai—God Almighty. It reflects their relationship toward him at the time. They saw him as a Promise Maker—the omnipotent God who would save them from Egypt, but not necessarily a part of their daily lives. Moses introduced that concept with the name Yahweh—I Am. They had known of that name, of course, but had not used it, not embraced it, until Moses started using it. Then the relationship began to change. Then they became the people of God.
Q: In the Shadow of Sinai is the first book in a trilogy. Please tell me about the forthcoming books in the series.
A: BOOK 2 – BY THE WATERS OF KADESH
The second book takes place immediately after Sinai. Kamose, once Egypt’s most trusted soldier, no longer has a country to serve or king to protect. Moses insists God has a plan for him, but Kamose is not so sure. Tirzah’s cruel husband died shortly after they left Egypt. She escaped his brutality, but now she’s alone, and once they reach their new land, how will she survive? Gaddiel, Tirzah’s brother-in-law, is chosen as one of the twelve spies sent to scout out Canaan. He’s supposed to go in, get information and come back, but all he really wants is to bring down Joshua.
BOOK 3 – ON THE BRINK OF PROMISE
Forty years have passed since Israel crossed the Yam Suph. Their punishment is over, and the time to take the land is finally here.
The Canaanite king of Arad has heard about the mighty deeds of Israel’s God, and fears he will be destroyed as Egypt was. He waits until Israel is on the move, and as they march north he launches a sneak attack and takes hostages. Zadok, grandson of Bezalel and great-nephew of Kamose, is one of those captured.
Arad has no idea who they are dealing with …
Q: Let me close with a final question I ask of all published authors. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
A: Use as many senses as you can when describing a setting—or anything. Not just sight and sound, but taste, touch, smell. Bring the reader inside the character’s head with you.
- Author Website: www.CaroleTowriss.com
- Author Talks – Episode 3 – Carole Towriss
- In the Shadow of Sinai Book Trailer
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