Barbara Britton Interview & Jerusalem Rising...
Jerusalem Rising. To learn more about her and her book, read on!
Why did you choose to write this book?
I have taught the story of Nehemiah many times in Vacation Bible School. Kids love tearing down fake rocks and rebuilding them into a wall. Nehemiah was tasked with restoring the wall around Jerusalem and he also pointed the Hebrew people toward God. I was shocked to learn the daughters of Shallum helped rebuild Jerusalem’s wall. I thought their take on the construction project would make an interesting story. Women construction workers in Bible times were rare. I also discovered a prophetess in the book of Nehemiah who was new to me. She’s not a nice prophetess.
I enjoy bringing little known Bible stories to light. I wanted to share all the “new things” I discovered in the book of Nehemiah: women wall builders, a nasty prophetess, all the men who worked against Nehemiah and God. Spoiler alert. God wins.
What is the toughest test you’ve faced as a writer?
Even with three books published and three in the publishing pipeline, I sometimes doubt my writing skills. I need to cast the doubts aside and realize God gave me my passion. When I finish a manuscript, I look at the amount of work and say, “How did I do that?” With God. I’ve spent many years learning the craft of writing and I pray God will use me to shine a light on Him and His Word.
What do you hope readers take away from your novel?
The theme for “Jerusalem Rising” is be strong and courageous and do God’s work. It isn’t always easy to do Kingdom work or stand up for God, but God calls us to make disciples and share the Gospel. I hope people are encouraged by Adah and Nehemiah’s story.
What accomplishments are you most proud of, writing-related or not?
I am personally proud that I am active in ministry even though I have a lot of writing tasks. I love teaching Bible study and mentoring women, and I have honored those commitments even though life can get hectic at times. God gives us gifts to use in His church and I want to be faithful to Kingdom ministry.
When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah’s unexpected visit—God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David.
Nehemiah challenges the men of Jerusalem to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Should her father who rules a half-district of Jerusalem be forgotten forever?
Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city’s wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside of the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God’s call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same rocks they hope to raise.
The first page of Jerusalem Rising:
Seventeen-year-old Adah bat Shallum breathed deep. Deep enough to carry the pomegranate, cassia, and aloe scents from the length of her nose to the depths of her lungs. Was this fragrance a treasure or a stench? She trusted her senses. Her patience had produced a precious perfume worth several silver coins. Possibly some gold ones too. Careful not to spill a single drop, she poured her afternoon’s labor into small glazed jars, and lined them one finger length from the edge of the shelf and one thumb width apart. A piece of whittled poplar closed every opening and kept her fragrance captive.
“Adah. Judith.” The summons echoed down the street. A harsh inflection deepened her father’s voice.
She peeked through a hole in the wall—a roughedged reminder of Nebuchadnezzar’s siege—and spied her father’s forward-leaning march. Wiping her hands on a clean rag, she scurried around the acacia wood table, a centerpiece to the small space she recently called her own. She crossed the threshold of her storeroom and hastened into the dirt lane.
What do you do for fun when not writing?
I love to read books by author friends. As Elizabeth Bennet said in the movie Pride and Prejudice, “I’m very fond of walking.” I don’t walk as much outside due to the cold Wisconsin winters.
What are you working on now?
I am finishing a mini-series about the daughters of Zelophehad. “Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey” will release in October of 2019 and tell the story of these five orphaned sisters. The remaining two books show their journey to inherit their land…and find love.
Where else can readers find you?
I have a website , and I am on , , and .
Barbara M. Britton lives in Wisconsin and writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb brings little-known Bible characters to light in her Tribes of Israel series.
What Bible story would you like to know more about?