I had the pleasure of sitting down with Connilyn recently to ask her questions about her new book, A Light on the Hill. I’m very excited to share her answers with you today. I also encourage you to check out today’s edition of Goodreads Monday to learn more about A Light on the Hill.
1. In the Out from Egypt series, we saw the Israelite’s flight from Egypt and their struggles in the Wilderness. At the end of Wings of the Wind, Moriyah was branded during the battle of Jericho. How much time has passed between the end of that series and the start of the Cites of Refuge?
There are about seven years between the end of the Out from Egypt Series (if you don’t count the epilogue in which Alanah gives a little hint to Moriyah’s trials). During those seven years Joshua and the Israelites were doing the work of pushing out the Canaanite tribes and gradually settling into the new land. A Light on the Hill opens as the team of men from each tribe were scouting out their inheritance and dividing up the land by lots. It was a time of transition, relative peace, but also a dangerous time since although Moses had told the Hebrews to completely evict their enemies or face severe consequences and unfortunately those warnings were in many cases, not heeded.
2. Your books explore topics such as human trafficking and slavery. Is it hard to watch your characters suffer? What do you hope your readers take away from their story?
Oh goodness it is! I literally agonized for a week over branding Moriyah. These characters live and breathe in my mind and I get quite attached. But they lived in a difficult, unpredictable culture and women especially were vulnerable in ways we ‘moderners’ can’t quite wrap our minds around. I hope to remind people of just how relevant the issues in the Old Testament still are today and reframe this fascinating history in its proper cultural setting
3. Can you give us your favorite quote from A Light on the Hill?
Finding quotes without giving away spoilers has been particularly difficult in this book since there are quite a few twists and turns, but here is one I like: With his rich laughter and expressive stories, the man reminded me of all the best of my father and my older brother mixed together—an honorable warrior who could protect me and a natural kindness that gave me hope that he might someday see me, and not my scar. – Moriyah
4. Can you tell us how many books are in the Cities of Refuge series and maybe give us a hint about future books?
There are three books in this series, all following Moriyah’s family through the next twenty or so years. The next book, Shelter of the Most High, will tell the story of Sofea, a foreign woman who is brought to Israel after a devastating run-in with bronze-age pirates and Eitan, who is a child during A Light on the Hill. It was a fun challenge to get to know him as a boy and then shift into writing him as a man; but as a result, I ‘know’ Eitan better than any other character I’ve written so far and therefore he’s probably my favorite (shhhh. don’t tell the others…) The third book is a prodigal daughter story, a fun twist on the well-known parable, which takes place around the time Joshua and the remaining elders of Israel have passed away and the people of Isreal are already turning away from pure worship of the One True God and suffering the disastrous consequences of such behavior.
5. Which of your characters if the most like you and why? Which of your characters is your polar opposite and why?
I would say Shira from Shadow of the Storm is the most like me, personality wise, and due to her struggle with infertility, we had endured some of the same hurts. I’d have to say Alanah, from Wings of the Wind is my polar opposite. I am in no way outdoorsy, would be a terrible hunter, and abhor tromping around in the wilderness where there might be snakes. Alanah is a fearless warrior-girl, I lean more toward hermit-y bookish scaredy-cat.
6. Why did you decide to write Biblical fiction and how did you know that this was the story you had to tell?
I had not planned on writing Biblical Fiction specifically. But Counted with the Stars was the story that crystallized in my mind when I was doing some personal study into Exodus and for the moment biblical era stories are where I am finding the most inspiration. A Light on the Hill came from a similar vein since I was researching the law given by Moses about the Levitical Cities of Refuge and became fascinated with how they paralleled Jesus and his work on the cross and so voila! Moriyah’s story was born.
Thank you, Connilyn for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. I cannot wait to share this book with my blog readers!