Hello again! It's great to see you all back for Mesu Andrews's interview! Leave a comment below to get in touch! We'd both love it if you did! Enjoy getting to know Mesa a little bit better!
1: What was your first book?
Love Amid the Ashes.
2: When did you start writing?
First book published 2011 - won the 2012 ECPA Debut Novel of the year.
3: If you weren't a writer, what would you be?
Sad and cranky.
4:What is your most recent book?
5: Any books upcoming?
Of Fire and Lions (Daniel’s story, WaterBrook/Multnomah - Feb. 2019)
6: Who was your favorite author growing up and why?
7: If you've ever co-authored, is it harder than doing it on your own?
8: What are a few main differences between co-authoring and doing it yourself?
9: What has been the most encouraging comment you've gotten on a book?
The best review I EVER get is that my book sent the reader back to the Bible to see what was true and what was fiction. That’s why I write biblical fiction—to get folks to search the Scriptures and to help bring the stories alive in their imaginations.
10: What are some things that you would say to fans if you met them?
Thank you! You. Are. Amazing!!! Thank you for slogging through all those hard names in my books! Thank you for making time in your busy life to read my books, for all your encouraging emails, and for all the fun chats on social media. I spend a lot of hours in front of a computer screen, and to actually meet readers face-to-face (like I did at the Fiction Readers Summit and will again at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat in 2019) is such a blessing!!! (Hyperlink: http://christianfictionreadersretreat.blogspot.com/p/home_4.html
11: What was your favorite part of one of your books to write?
The the final reunion scene in Love in a Broken Vessel. Can’t give too much away!
12: About how long does your typical book take to write?
I’ve written a really BAD rough draft in four months, but a good one has taken as long as a year to write.
13: Outline or Make it up as you go?
Both. First I outline, and then I usually ignore it and write what I want for that scene. However, I’ve tried writing without outlining first, and I get in trouble with the specific and detailed boundaries of Scripture. An outline is essential for me to stay within those parameters.
14: What is your cure for writer's block? Or do you even get that?
I write my way out of it. I realize what I’ve written is awful, and the better path usually gets clear as I write the wrong one. I end up scrapping a lot of material, but it’s worth it to find out what didn’t work.
15: Which of your characters is most like you?
I find they’re all a little like me in some way—a little frightening, really.
16: Why did you pick the genre you write in?
I started out wanting to write Bible studies because my first love is studying God’s Word. Writing fiction gives me the chance to study not just the facts in the Bible but also how PEOPLE applied them to their lives. Fiction has become a teaching tool, parables for me to learn from—as I hope my readers do.
17: Are any of your characters/plots drawn heavily from your own background?
The Gomer/Hosea story is probably the closest. Though I wasn’t a prostitute, I was extremely lost when my husband-to-be showed me Jesus’ unconditional love and led me to a real relationship with the Lord.
18: What social media do you like to share your works through most? How can readers best connect with you?
My fav’s are Instagram and my FB Author Page for both personal and publishing stuff. (#BookTalkTuesday, #WednesdayWit&Wisdom, #WriterWednesday, #TBT, #BiblicalFictionFriday) I create a Pinterest board for each of my books with pictures of interesting research items, blog posts, memes, etc. I also post on Twitter occasionally.
19: What was the most difficult thing about publishing your first book?
Figuring out I was a better fiction writer than non-fiction!
20: How do you choose the names for your characters? Do you research the etymology of the names you use?
I use several sights that suggest Hebrew/Arabic/Babylonian/Egyptian names with their meanings. I’m very cautious when choosing names because in ancient cultures, a name formed character. It’s a fun process!
21: What is, in your opinion, the best book you wrote?
Probably, Isaiah’s Daughter, which—interestingly enough—was also my worst rough draft (mentioned above as that 4-month bomb). The edits were brutal but were well worth the extra time and effort. I think the Lord was very faithful to help the whole team that worked on that project.
22: Do you do book tours/signings? If so is there a schedule already?
23: What book do you wish you would have written?
I proposed Hephzibah’s story to two different publishers for six years before realizing I was going about it the wrong way. I needed to emphasize the MAN’s story (Isaiah’s) with the unknown heroine less prominent in my proposal. It became a two-book deal, and readers have seen half the story now (Isaiah’s Daughter). I get to write the sequel (Isaiah’s Legacy) for a February 2020 release. I’m really excited!
24: Which of your characters would you want to be your best friend?
Hephzibah. She’s been my favorite biblical character for years—since I knew her name meant, “Delight of the Lord.” She is what I want to be.
25: What advice can you give to fledgling writers?
Whether you want to self publish or seek publication by a traditional publisher, get yourself to a writers conference. Networking and learning from professionals is essential if you want writing to be more than a hobby.