As part of the Isaiah’s Daughter blog tour, I am absolutely delighted to welcome Mesu Andrews to the blog today – I adore her as an author but even more as a person! (You can follow along with the blog tour here.)
Mesu Andrews and her husband, Roy, live in a log cabin snuggled into the beautiful Appalachian Mountains with their dog, Zeke. The Andrews’ have two married daughters and a small tribe of grandkids. Mesu loves movies, football, waterfalls, and travel.
Biblical fiction is her favorite genre to read and write. Her first novel, Love Amid the Ashes (Revell, 2011), tells the story of Job and Dinah, winning the 2012 ECPA Book of the Year for a Debut Author. Miriam (Waterbrook/Multnomah, 2016), the second book in the Treasures of the Nile series, was a Christy finalist and tells the story of the Exodus through the eyes of Yahweh’s first prophetess. In January 2018, Isaiah’s Daughter: A Novel of Prophets and Kings (Waterbrook/Multnomah) reveals the little-known personal life of the prophet Isaiah and introduces readers to his captivating daughter.
Her newest novel, Isaiah’s Daughter, released January 16, 2018 from WaterBrook.
Gifted Bible teacher and award-winning author Mesu Andrews reaches into the pages of Biblical prophecy and Hebrew tradition to unearth a rags-to-royalty story of the devastated orphan, Ishma—meaning “desolation”—in Isaiah’s Daughter (Jan. 16, 2018, WaterBrook).
At just 5 years old, Ishma’s life crumbles around her when Israelite soldiers violently kill her family and take her into captivity. Upon her release, the royal prophet Isaiah welcomes her into his home where she meets Prince Hezekiah (Hezi)—a boy who has also experienced great tragedy. Ishma and Hezi bond in their suffering, and as they grow in age, so does their love for each other.
Aware of their developing relationship, Isaiah adopts Ishma as his daughter and presents her with a new name that will qualify her to marry royalty—Hephzibah (Zibah), meaning “delight of the Lord.” Hezi and Zibah marry, but after difficult times of barrenness, Assyrian aggression, disease and challenging prophecies from Isaiah, Zibah remains trapped by fear. Can she entrust everything to the only One who gives life and delivers both a captive heart and a desperate nation?
Hi dear Mesu! Welcome to the blog! I’m so delighted to have you here ♥
Mesu: Apples – Because my grandkids love to make “curly apples” with our Apple-Corer-Peeler-Slicer. (This stage of life is all about the grand babies.)
Carrie: Watching my parents become grandparents has been so entertaining for me. When my nephews descend, all former rules are out the window lol. And my grandma used to make me ‘curly apples’ too 🙂
Mesu: Winter – HATE humidity and bugs. LOVE cuddly blanket, and fireplace.
Carrie: If I could high-five you through cyberspace right now I totally would. Preach.
Mesu: Dogs – Are you kidding? I experienced enough rejection in junior high. Why have a cat?
Carrie: hahahahaha! I love this answer.
Mesu: Coffee. Gallons of coffee. I.V. coffee. With hazelnut creamer, please.
Carrie: So…. coffee? 😉
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Mesu: Matchmaking! Wouldn’t that be awesome? I know some UH-mazing single gals, who would love to marry a godly man. I wish I knew as many single godly men and could look into their hearts (and into the future) to “match” people into a healthy, iron-sharpening-iron marriage.
Carrie: You would be an awesome matchmaker!!
Q: Which books are ‘on your nightstand’?
Mesu: My “nightstand” is overwhelmed with January and February biblical fiction, and I love it! All three of these authors are among my fav’s.
- Judah’s Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees by Angela Hunt (Jan. 2 release)
- A Light On the Hill by Connilyn Cossette (Feb. 6 release)
- A Passionate Hope by Jill Smith (Feb. 6 release)
Carrie: Besides Isaiah’s Daughter (of course) I’m most excited to read Connilyn’s new book!!
Q: Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
Mesu: Last winter, when I was still adjusting to life in our new home and driving in the mountains, we experienced some significant rainfall. We hadn’t put gravel in our new parking spot—that happened to be on a severe incline—but I tried to park there…in the mud. It didn’t go well. I slid downhill over the simple rock ledge. Hubby Roy was in bed with a 103-degree temperature, so my poor son-in-love had to pull me out with his truck. I wasn’t the most popular person in my household that day. 🙁
Carrie: Oh no! Oh I’m glad that wasn’t worse!! lol.
Q: Your biblical fiction novels tend to use biblical and historical facts as a foundation. What is your process like for interweaving these facts with fictional details?
Mesu: Research is my favorite part of the writing process. I get to dig into ancient texts and Bible commentaries. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, cultural commentaries and all sorts of archaeological data make this part of writing like a big treasure hunt. Weaving them all together is somewhat less glamorous than you might imagine. I open a blank Excel sheet and start filling in confirmed dates on the left side—column A. I then put important “Names” across the top (Row 1) and begin listing events in the appropriate cells corresponding with date and name as I find information in biblical and historical resources (making note of which resources used). I begin a second sheet in the same Excel document, labeled “Historical/Biblical/Fiction,” and again place all the dates in column A. This time, however, I put only three divisions across the top: Historical, Biblical, and Fictional. Then I fill in events from the first sheet under the proper category—never changing the truth of Scripture or facts of history—and begin to “connect the dots” by adding whatever fictional details in the third column will smooth out the story for a believable plot.
Carrie: It may not be glamorous but I think that’s pretty darn cool… And the geeky student still inside me really loves it! 🙂
Q: What was the most fascinating information you discovered in your research for Isaiah’s Daughter?
Mesu: I think the prophet Isaiah walking around barefoot and naked for three years (Isa. 20) was pretty fascinating—and quite shocking! Perhaps even more fascinating was the idea that Isaiah may have thought Hezekiah was the suffering Messiah he spoke of in Isaiah 53. Christians see that chapter as a clear description of Jesus Christ, but some of my research made a strong case that Isaiah might have thought Hezekiah “took up [Jerusalem’s] pain and bore [their] suffering” with his near-death illness in Isaiah 38. This book really made me think about how prophets might have viewed their own words in their current circumstances.
Carrie: We can file the barefoot-naked thing under #thingsyoudidntwanttoknowaboutIsaiah 😉 As for the other, that’s one of the things about the Prophets that has always intrigued me: how the prophecy can have a present fulfillment as well as pointing ahead to a future fulfillment. Such fascinating books to really dive into!
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from Isaiah’s Daughter?
Mesu: Two things. I hope they’ll realize that our only true security rests in the eternal love and life Jesus provides. And I hope when they get confused or discouraged in their faith—that all they do know about Him will help them trust Him for all they don’t know about Him.
Carrie: Oh i love this. Yes ♥
Thank you so much, sweet lady, for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Mesu: My 2019 release will cover Daniel’s life. I’ve wanted to write Daniel for years but never thought I could because—well—okay, let’s just say it. Every story needs a romance thread, and everything I’d read said that Daniel and his three friends had likely been made eunuchs when taken captive to Babylon. No romance thread there! Last summer I did a more in-depth research. I ran across a study note that said the Hebrew word for “eunuch” used in Daniel is the same word used to describe Potiphar (chief official) in Genesis. Well, we know Potiphar was married, so he couldn’t have been…well, you know. Holy cow! Suddenly, Daniel gets a fictional wife, and y’all get to read a story about Daniel in 2019!
Carrie: hahaha!! Can’t wait!
What about you? What interests you about Mesu and/or her new book?
And don’t forget to catch up with the rest of the blog tour!