Barbara M. Britton lives in Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb kicked off her Tribes of Israel series in October with the release of “Providence: Hannah’s Journey.”
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Purchase: Building Benjamin: Naomi's Journey
Get to know Barbara...
You and Writing
People ask me if I always wanted to be a writer. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be an author. Being an author wasn’t encouraged, or even taught, on career day at my high school.
Many, many years later, I was teaching chapel at my sons’ school when I got the prompting to sit down and write. After all, I had been adapting curriculum and writing my own lesson plans, so writing a novel couldn’t be that much different. Right? Wrong. It took me nine years to get a book published because of the drastic learning curve in teaching myself how to write a book and then how to go about getting someone to publish it. I have to pinch myself that “Building Benjamin” is my second book to launch. A third book in my Tribes of Israel series is already contracted.
This certainly wasn’t the career path I had chosen for myself, but I love teaching about the Bible, and now I get to write about Bible stories. God always teaches me something new when I study His Word. I hope my fiction drives readers back to the original text—the Bible.
I thought I knew my Bible well. I had taught about Deborah, Samson, and Gilead in Sunday School, but I guess I never read the ending to the book of Judges. I never knew the tribe of Benjamin had almost been wiped out by the other tribes of Israel, and that a crazy Sodom and Gomorrah-like story happened in these chapters. I was even crazier to set a love story in this chaos. But somehow it worked.
Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
Naomi is my main character, so I have to give her a shout out. She is brave and committed to her family and to God. Naomi’s friend Cuzbi was so much fun to write because I pictured her as a Valley Girl transported to Ancient Israel. Cuzbi speaks her mind even if the truth hurts, and she can be self-absorbed and tacky in an endearing sort of way.
What’s the theme? How did you come up with it?
My theme is; Love grows where God grafts the tender shoot. This story is an enemies to lovers story. Naomi has an embedded anger against the Benjamites because they killed her brothers. When she is abducted by Eliab, she is furious. Eliab is her enemy until she discovers that he isn’t as bad as she thought. If the tribe of Benjamin is going to survive, the remaining men need wives. Can Naomi put her feelings aside for the sake of her people? Only God can change her heart, but it will require some tough choices.
Was there a passage of scripture you came across or used while writing it that you’d like to share?
I have Naomi quote Deuteronomy 6:18a (NIV) when she doesn’t know what to do while she awaits a rescue, “Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so it may go well with you.” This is a verse that should guide us today. Naomi seeks God’s wisdom when she feels lost to her family and to her tribe.
You and Writing
Let’s talk about your writing life...
How long did you write before you got published?
I wrote for nine years before my debut novel, “Providence: Hannah’s Journey” was published. Providence was the fourth book I had written, but my first work of Biblical fiction.
How many rejection letters did you get before being accepted by a publisher?
Over my first four books, including “Providence,” I received over 200 rejection letters. And I was told by industry professionals to write something different than Biblical fiction because it was a hard sell. But I absolutely love writing this genre.
What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”? We hear this a lot, but dig deeper. Is there something else that helped you?
I joined professional writing organizations and I got involved in their local chapters. This network of writing friends has encouraged me along the difficult path of rejection (note the 200 earlier) and the bouts of doubting myself and my writing ability.
On a practical note, I keep a small daily planner at my computer and I write down everything I do to further my writing career. If there are too many blank squares, then I’m not being diligent with my writing. I can say at this point in time, there is never a blank square except on Sunday. Once you have a book published, you have to put on the publicity hat too, and that takes additional time.
All right, let’s keep things real:
Easy peasy. Chocolate! Dark chocolate is my favorite.
What’s your most memorable (good or bad) Valentines date or gift?
See my answer above. One Valentine’s Day, my husband gave me six, waxy, old chocolates from a no name chocolate company. He worked five minutes away from two of my favorite chocolate companies. Sigh. Needless to say, he went out and bought me my favorites. I know, I am a chocolate snob.
What are you currently reading?
This question can get me in trouble because I have several friends who are published. I read mostly Christian fiction stories that have a romantic thread. With that answer I won’t hurt any feelings.
Thanks again for inviting me, Emilie!
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