Thursday, January 27, 2011

Please Welcome Writer, Tessa Afshar!

Don't forget your comments and email addresses for a chance to win her book!

How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?

There’s never been a time that I didn’t want to write. The real question is why I waited so long to get serious about publishing.

What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?

I write historical and biblical fiction. Most of my stories take place over two thousand years ago! I grew up in an ancient country with a rich history that stretched back for thousands of years (Persia). When I was almost fourteen, I moved to England, another nation seeped in the glories of the past. It’s easy to grow fascinated with the lives of people who lived long ago when their impact is still so visible all around you.

How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?

To start with, most of my pants don’t have any seat left. My writing style is driven more by instinct than plan. I do try to set goals regarding daily word count, but I don’t always meet them. Between the research the writing, and the editing, a full novel can take me as long as a year.

You recently had a book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us? How and where can readers buy your books?

Pearl in the Sand is based on the story of Rahab, the Canaanite harlot who is famous for having saved Israel’s spies from death. She then went on to marry one of the leaders of Judah, and is in the lineage of Jesus. Think about that: some of the DNA of this former harlot swam in Jesus’ blood stream!

Pearl recounts the tale of a woman whose world was a mess, whose life was a mess, whose heart was a mess, but in encountering God, she found to her shock that her life was salvageable. More than that—it was valuable. She found that she was lovable. For her, much of this process happened through the love of a godly and persistent man.

You can buy Pearl in the Sand through Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Borders.

What is the spiritual message in your book? What can readers expect to get from reading it?

That God never gives up on us. He pursues us into the most heart-breaking valleys of our lives, and restores what seems irredeemable. And His love gives us the kind of worth that nothing can rob or besmirch.

Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through?

This reminds me of what Ruth Bell Graham said when she was asked if she had ever considered divorce. “Never,” she said. “Murder, maybe. But divorce never.” I guess I would never consider giving up altogether. But I certainly have struggled with discouragement. Writing is solitary business and for long stretches of time you have to act as your own critic. It’s so easy to feel inadequate sometimes.

Who’s inspired you the most?

God. Have you noticed, He’s a pretty good writer Himself?

Would you explain how you “chose” (or were chosen by) a publisher? Do you just go “inny, minny, miny, moe?” Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?

I was definitely chosen, and it was an unforgettable thrill. Moody Publishing’s Acquisitions Director was present at the first writers’ conference I attended. He happened to be at a workshop in which I participated where the first two pages of my book were minutely examined and pulled apart. I thought I stank. But apparently he liked it! (There’s no accounting for taste.)

In my experience, being published just means your work is tripled. You work on marketing your last book, while researching and writing your new book, on top of thinking and planning for the one after that. Does that sound relaxing? I didn’t think so.

Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?

I’m a bookworm. My favorite pastime is curling up on a sofa with a marvelous book and a good friend to share the best lines with. Throw in food and a fire, and I might never leave. Why would I want to travel anywhere?

I’ve always been a bookworm. But when I was a child, I read my books in Persian. Tom Sawyer, Les Miserables, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (which made me cry for hours)—I read all of this marvelous literature in Persian, because I grew up in Iran for the first fourteen years of my life.

Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?

Thank you so much for inviting me to hang out with you. It’s been an absolute pleasure. If you would like to visit me on my website, the address is or visit me on my Facebook author page where there is always some new discussion going on:

Here is an author bio in case you are interested:

Tessa Afshar was born in Iran to a nominally Muslim family. When she was fourteen, she moved to England where she attended Princess Helena College, a boarding school for girls. Her conversion to Christianity came through a series of events that can only be described as a move of God. She holds a Master of Divinity from Yale University, where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School.

Thank you so much, Tessa, for visiting today.

Leave your comments, readers, for a chance to win her book!


Kathryn Page Camp said...

I'm a big fan of writers conferences as a way to get exposure and market an as yet unpublished book. Glad it worked for you, Tessa.

Joanne Sher said...

This book sounds SO good - and is in a genre I'm hoping to be published in. Please enter me.


Katy said...

I've been wanting to get this book for some time - please count me in the giveaway!!


~ Katy

Jeanette Levellie said...

OH, oh, oh!! I have always been fascinated by the story of Rahab, and God's mercy in her life. I would love to read this wonderful book!

Thank you for the interview, ladies. Can you do another on how Tessa came into Jesus' kingdom? I'd love to read her own story of redemption!

Please enter my name in the drawing.


Thank you for your generosity!

Tressa said...

This book sounds like a great read. I like that it is fiction based on a true story. It is interesting to think about what the people's lives were like in biblical times.
tressa dot sherman at hotmail dot com

lgm52 said...

Sounds really good...and I'm always on the lookout for new authors. Thank you!

Charity U said...

Oh, it sounds great! I would love to read it. :)


amber said...

I've been wanting to read this!! It looks like SUCH a good book!!


Sheryl Barnes said...

I look forward to reading this book. It's been on my wish list for a while.
Please enter me in the drawing.

L.K. Riley said...

This certainly sounds like an interesting book and its on my list of books to read. Caroline, thanks for interviewing Tessa; it was interesting and encouraging.


Caroline said...

lol, Jen, I'll talk to her and see what we can come up with! Good idea.

Kathy Harris said...

Tessa, your story sounds fascinating! I related to so many of your comments about writing.

DivineDetour (at) aol (dot) com

Katie G. said...

Sounds AWESOME! Please enter me. Great interview!

God bless!

Katie G.

Meredith said...

Tessa, it sounds great, and I love that you take enough time to research the book thoroughly!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

loveangel132 said...

Carmen sent me. Thank you for the giveaway, it looks like a really good read!

lgm52 said...

This book sounds fantastic..thanks for the opportunity!

Glenda said...

This book sounds like it is one I would really enjoy. Please enter me it the book giveaway.

gka444 at gmail dot com

Renee G said...

This sounds like a fantastic book. I really enjoy historical fiction.

Susan Stitch said...

I love the story of Rahab, and how God used her both for his purposes in Jericho and as a link in the geneology of Christ. Please include my name in the drawing! likes_to_stamp (at)

Jolee said...

I have always love the story of Rahab. So much there every time. Please count me in. joleehamlin [at] comcast [dot] net

Carman said...

Please enter me! I can't wait to read this book! :D

booklovercb at yahoo dot com

Rebecca said...

Okay, so I absolutely *love* your answer about God being the most inspiring Writer to you! So true, and something that's often not thought of ...


Wendy said...

This sounds interesting. Thanks for offering it.

Natalie W said...

This one sounds right up my alley!
I'd love to enter,
Thank you!

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