In November, WBM and my marketing director, Amy Haddock, set up a fun evening for our BFF team to chat through a video livestream. Y’all submitted your questions, and I tried to answer as many as possible in the hour we had together.
The following questions and answers may or may not have been touched on in the video. I wanted to wait until y’all had time to read the ARCs before releasing some of these answers so I didn’t spoil anything for you. I hope you’ve enjoyed your sneak peek at Anippe’s story.
We’ll keep in touch in the weeks to come with more news on the upcoming release. For now, here are a few more insights on the research, culture, and process of The Pharaoh’s Daughter…
You don’t have a storyboard on Pinterest for Pharaoh’s Daughter, yet? Do you plan to create one?
I’ve got one! Here’s the link on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mesuandrews/the-pharaohs-daughter/. Now, would you like to have a BFF Team board (like we had for In the Shadow of Jezebel)?
Did you do any research on Moses’ parents?
I did very little research on Moses’s parents for The Pharaoh’s Daughter, but much more for Miriam. Thankfully, I was able to correct a few mistakes in the first book with the research I did on the second! Moses’s father (Amram) lived to be 137 years old, so he would likely have been quite old when Moses was born. Food for thought on Miriam’s plot! 😉
With your heart for bible study, how do you sift through all of the interesting tidbits and decide what to include in your final work?
This annoying thing called WORD COUNT is the bane of my existence! If I wrote every interesting thing I found, I’d end up with a 500,000-word, very boring book. Only the facts that can be woven into the fabric of the story. Even if the tid-bit is AMAZING, it somehow becomes lifeless and dry if it’s forced into a scene where it doesn’t belong. Sometimes it pains me to leave out an amazing fact I’ve discovered, but there’s just no good way to fit it into the dialogue or narrative.
Exodus 12:37 – I had been told there were 6 million Jews that left Egypt. Has that changed or was that just including men?
There’s much debate about the number of Israelites that left Egypt and wandered in the wilderness. Some say as little as five thousand, while others say as many as two million. I’ve never heard six million, but that could certainly be an argument from another camp. The NIV’s interpretation of the original Hebrew text says there were 600,000 men, excluding women and children (Ex. 12:37). Though the story of The Pharaoh’s Daughter ends well before the Exodus occurred, I did have to address this in Miriam. I simply decided to forego any mention of exact numbers or locations in hopes of avoiding the controversy that would distract the reader from the story.
Will there be a bible study to accompany with Pharaoh’s Daughter and Miriam?
We’re hoping to do an online interactive Bible study that coincides with the release of The Pharaoh’s Daughter. It’s still in the works, and I imagine we’ll decide how to handle Miriam depending on how things go with the first effort!
If we do not have negalley will we be getting a print copy of the book?
I believe everyone will get a print copy of this book (even our internationals) unless you prefer a digital copy. I’ll need to check with Amy to be sure on this (as we get closer to release, I’ll let you know for sure).
How long did it take you to write this book in completion?
It takes me about a year to complete the process of writing/publishing. The rough draft takes about six months–2-3 months of research before I begin writing and then 3-4 months to fully form the characters, plot, and do the actual writing. After the rough draft goes to Shannon (my senior editor), it comes back to me for substantive edits (changes to characters, storyline, other big-picture stuff), and then goes back and forth until she’s happy with it. Shannon passes it along to two more editors, who suggest more changes along the way. All-in-all, the manuscript shows up in my inbox or on my doorstep about 6-8 times before I see the final product–about a year after I begin the process.
Are you planning on seeing Exodus (the movie)?
Yep, saw it! I was actually really excited when the movie said Moses was the grandson of Horemheb and son of Bithiah. No one, in all my historical research, had connected Moses to Horemheb–that was totally fiction in my book. So to have a Hollywood screenwriter pick up the same tidbit was quite a kick! Bithiah, of course, is a Hebrew name (and biblical), so that was a little off-base…as was most of the movie. My aunt said it best, “If you want theology, read your Bible.” The movie was entertaining but not biblical. CLICK HERE to see one of our BFFs’ (Ruth Anderson’s) FANTASTIC review of Exodus: God and Kings. She summed it up beautifully!
Where do you think the people crossed?
I have no idea! Scholars much more intelligent than me have debated this issue for centuries and can’t seem to agree, but from their research I’ve come to two conclusions. I believe the Israelites crossed through a BIG body of water. I believe it would have been impossible for Pharaoh to have his army “go around” the outer banks to get to the other side. I try not to get hung up on the specific place. I simply try to imagine what the geography would have been like—how it looked and felt to the people who experienced it. THAT’S what’s most important because it was their human experience that impacted their trust in Yahweh.
When you shared that Pharaoh had a number of 1st born sons that would have died, I found that too be a shocking revelation….
I was shocked by it too!!! When I read that Pharaoh Ramesses had more wives than any Pharaoh before him, and that he had over 250 children, the realization of firstborn deaths hit me like a ton of bricks. The losses of his kingdom to the plagues were staggering, but his personal loss of sons was the thing that caused him to DRIVE the Israelites from Egypt–as God foretold.
What was your favorite source for researching?
I loved The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. It provided not only the kings and their successors but also their wives and daughters. Few resources give women’s names, but this one even included the women’s designations as priestesses and other official titles. Astounding resource.
Do you spend a certain amount of time each day on writing and where is your favorite place to write?
I try to begin writing on a book manuscript by noon each day. I’d love to begin by 9am, but my email traffic has tripled in the past year, so it takes a bit longer to get to writing. But I love corresponding with readers!
How hard is it to research and narrow down what you have learned to put all this into such an interesting book?
I LOVE research, so it is tough to stop researching and start writing. I use a Microsoft program called OneNote to organize my research, characters, plot, etc. As I read God’s Word repeatedly and the research begins to pile up, a story invariably begins to come together. Scripture gives me a skeleton plot, and the historical research often adds minor characters and extra twists. I ALWAYS come to a roadblock that seems insurmountable, and God ALWAYS shows me a way around, over, under, or through it. He’s so faithful!
Do you have a word count each day or week?
You know, I tried the daily word count thing for November (NaNoWriMo) and failed miserably! I’m terrible under pressure, so I just write as much as I can each day and leave the rest to the Lord. I tend to be a little driven, a little perfectionistic, a little hard on myself, so my tendency is to write too many hours in a day rather than too few. (Thus, the health issues. Ugh.)
I am curious how who decided that King Tut was part of Moses’s story?
I started with the singular biblical fact I knew: Moses was eighty years old at the time of the Exodus (Ex. 7:7). From my research, two dates for the Exodus rose to the forefront: 1450 BCE or 1250 BCE. If I chose 1450 BCE, the woman who pulled Moses from the Nile would have been Queen Hatshepsut. That seemed unlikely because of 1 Chronicles 4:17-18. So I went with 1250 BCE as the Exodus dating and added eighty years to determine Moses’s birth date. The king in 1330 BCE would have been the Pharaoh of the Edict, King Tut.
How do you work when you aren’t feeling well. I know how migraines can be and I don’t think I could work during that.
Some days I can’t work, but most days are tolerable. Several years ago some very patient doctors helped me find a combination of meds that allow me to lead a relatively normal life. I take a migraine preventative twice a day, a migraine rescue med twice a week, and pain meds the other five days a week. Since my migraines usually don’t start until the afternoon, I try to hold off on the rescue drug or pain meds until late afternoon so I only have to take a single dose. I don’t do much in the evenings. I stay fairly quiet most of the day and avoid the things I know to be triggers (flashing lights, loud noise, etc.). The thing I miss most is church-related ministry. Most of my ministry happens at this keyboard because I can do it quietly and in my home. I miss the fellowship of women’s Bible studies and small groups in our home, but I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made online and the ministry doors the Lord has opened through my writing.
Was it ever hard for your editor’s correction/help? 🙂
I never struggled with Shannon’s edits because I know she’s one of the very best in this business. I believe the Lord worked to bring Shannon and me together, so I trust Him to give us clear direction as we share ideas and work toward a single goal—glorifying Him through this biblical story. When she offered her suggestions, most of them felt right in my spirit, and the ones that didn’t, I asked for clarification. She was gracious to explain, and in the end we agreed completely. The only struggle I had was when the copy editor suggested content changes (story edits) after Shannon had already approved the manuscript. Because I’d worked with another publishing house, I wasn’t familiar with WBM’s process and didn’t realize they had another “layer” of editing that my previous publisher didn’t have. In the end, that additional layer of editing made for a better story, and I’m grateful for it.
I’m also curious as to why Pharaoh didn’t die when the firstborn sons were killed in the Passover. Did the Egyptian kingship not pass to the oldest son?
I have no idea!!! I’ve wondered that too. In my Royal Families book, it seems like Ramesses was the firstborn (only) son of Sety, so I don’t know why he didn’t die in the final plague–except that he was the one learning the lesson. That’s one we’ll have to ask the Lord someday! 😉
How do you balance your time between research and actual writing?
It’s really difficult. As I’ve said before, I LOVE research, so I often get caught up in researching even after I’ve started writing the rough draft. In the end, it comes down to how much time I have to finish the writing. If a deadline is looming, I cut the beloved research short and get down to the business of writing. 😉
Do we have a new release date for the next book? I was thinking it was January or February but now sure.
The Pharaoh’s Daughter releases on March 17, 2015! Woohoo! Mark your calendars! We’ll have lots of fun announcements, contests, and STUFF leading up to the big day, so no worries! You won’t miss it!
Can you give us timelines for the upcoming releases for your books.
As far as I know, Miriam will also release in March though I’m not sure of the exact day in 2016. We’ll keep you posted as we get a firm date in place. Beyond that, I have no other books contracted. I believe WBM will want to see how The Pharaoh’s Daughter sells before they sign me again. I’ll need your help and lots of prayers to get another contract. God’s in the business of miracles! 😉
- Any other questions now that you’ve read the book?