Please join me in welcoming author Heather Kaufman to the blog today to chat about her new Biblical fiction, Up From Dust!
Heather Kaufman is the author of multiple books and devotions, praised by Kirkus Reviews for writing “a charming and well-crafted tale” (Loving Isaac). She delights in highlighting the goodness of God through storytelling. When not reading, writing, or accumulating mounds of books, Heather can be found exploring new parks with her husband and three children near their home in St. Louis, Missouri. Connect with Heather at her website.
UP FROM DUST: Martha’s Story by Heather Kaufman
SERIES: Women of the Way #1
GENRE: Historical/Biblical Fiction (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: January 23, 2024
“A biblical story with a heart for today’s world, pulling out an array of joy and hope, sorrow and loss.”–Mesu Andrews, award-winning author
“Taking us on an intriguing journey through heartbreak and healing, Heather Kaufman leads her readers directly to the joy of the empty tomb.”–Connilyn Cossette, award-winning author
Martha of Bethany is no stranger to adversity. After her mother’s untimely death, Martha shoulders the responsibility of raising her siblings–quiet and studious Lazarus, and wild and rambunctious Mary. She finds solace in friendship and the beginnings of first love, but just as Martha begins to imagine a new future, hardship strikes again and her dreams crumble into dust.
Ten years later, Martha’s friend pleads for the new teacher, Jesus of Nazareth, to come and heal her husband. When Martha discovers that the carpenter-rabbi is connected to her past, she’s not sure she can trust him with her future. But as he continues to perform miracles, the invitation to believe becomes harder to resist, renewing Martha’s hardened heart, even as she faces an unknown future.
Hi Heather! Welcome to the blog!
Heather: Apples for the simple reason that I really dislike peeling oranges! The thick peel gets lodged under my fingernails and then my hands smell like citrus for days, which initially can be pleasant but ends up being annoying.
Heather: Both? Sorry, that’s cheating! The smell and taste of a strong cup of dark roast in the morning is one of God’s good gifts to humankind. That said, I do love a good rooibos tea in the afternoon.
Carrie: ‘both’ is always an acceptable answer when it comes to cozy drinks 🙂
Heather: Over because it’s impossible to tear off the toilet paper when it’s under. It just spins and then you have to use two hands to tear it, and who wants to use two hands to access their toilet paper?!
Carrie: hahaha fair enough
Heather: I used to be a mountain gal, but then we took our kiddos to the ocean and the majestic roar of the waves has utterly changed my mind on this one!
Carrie: it IS so majestic!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Heather: This one is easy. I want Mary Poppins’s ability to clean up rooms with just a snap of my fingers. No more endlessly picking up messes! Can you imagine? If there’s upbeat music and harmonizing birds involved, that’s even better!
Carrie: um yes please!!
Q: Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Heather: Mara from Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. This was the book that taught me what a strong heroine looks like. Mara is so vividly imagined that she leapt off the page. Now I try to do the same in my own writing—compose characters who command the page and compel your attention!
Carrie: how have I never heard of this book?? Off to Amazon!
Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?
Heather: Honestly, she’s a little fidgety. She gets all worked up when she sits down to write even though she knows—she knows—eventually words will come. But still, she acts like it’s her first time writing—every. single. time. And then she’s surprised, as in genuinely shocked, when she gets an idea or writes a decent sentence! She needs to take her own advice and trust God with the process.
Carrie: haha busted! 😉
Q: Which of your main characters in Up from Dust is most like you?
Heather: Definitely Martha. I’m also the oldest sibling, and I drew upon my own sisterly instincts when writing her. Also, I know what it’s like to struggle with a mind flooded with worry. Martha carries, not only her own burdens, but those of her siblings as well. She’s an overthinker with a tender heart that she hides behind irritation and worry. She needs Christ to cut through the chatter in her mind and to present to her that one necessary thing: Himself.
Carrie: Martha and I have a lot in common, too
Q: Were there any songs that inspired you as you wrote Up from Dust?
Heather: “The Detour” from the Faithful: Go and Speak album encapsulates the heart of this book. Just listen to this chorus: “You’ve been good to me; I am safe to hope / I will dare to believe when the way is long and slow / And I am full of doubt, but You are kind and close / I will trust the detour is the road.” Not only did this song deeply minister to my heart during the winding journey to publication, but it also mirrors Martha’s own journey. Her life takes several “detours” that leave her questioning God’s goodness. But sometimes that winding, mysterious road is God’s intentional path to place us right where we need to be. Find out more about The Faithful Project here: https://www.faithfulproject.com.
Carrie: oh man, those are great lyrics!
Q: What is something God taught you while you wrote this book?
Heather: The way of surrender is the way of joy. I am a type-A person who likes neat, orderly plans and clearly-outlined steps. God has been so gracious as to throw me into seasons and situations that upset all my illusions of control. He’s pried open my clenched fingers and taught me to live each day more surrendered to Him. It’s a lesson Martha herself must learn. We may not always understand God’s ways, but we can surrender our understanding as we come to trust His above our own.
Carrie: i love that ♥
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Heather: I’m finishing up Book Two in the Women of the Way series. This book also focuses on a female follower of Christ. I won’t give the main character away just yet, but I will say this one took me utterly by surprise. It’s full of political intrigue, family secrets, slowly-blossoming love, and many grand-scale moments where the heroine must choose between safety and bold faith.
Bethany House is offering a print copy of Up from Dust by Heather Kaufman to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Up from Dust by Heather Kaufman?