It’s great to welcome Tracy Higley back and have her share about her latest travels and her newest release. Take a few minutes to check it out, watch the short video, and enter to win a $50 gift card from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Tracy, what inspired you to write this book?
I’ve been writing about the Seven Wonders for awhile now, and when it came time to write about the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, it was a no-brainer that the action in Acts 19 would form the basis for the conflict of the story. From there, I had fun bringing it all to life!
What do you hope people will take away from this story?
There are a number of themes I explored here, so it will vary from person to person, depending on where they are on their journey. I hope people will get a sense of the reality of the first century church, of Paul as a man. I want people to see that the love God has for us makes us secure, and that from that foundation we can risk to love others. I want readers to long for a sense of community that is found in the church of Ephesus.
When you visited Ephesus, what was it like to be in the same city that Paul ministered in centuries ago?
It was thrilling, to be succinct. There is a sense of “this is real – this really happened” that sweeps over you and pulls you back in time and into the world of the Scripture in a new and fresh way. I loved it.
In your last book, Garden of Madness, the heroine came in contact with the Biblical figure Daniel. Does Daria get to meet Paul and interact with him in So Shines the Night, or does she view his ministry from afar?
Oh, it was great fun getting Daria and Paul to meet. Challenging, too, since everyone has a fairly specific concept of Paul and the way that I write him might not exactly conform to others’ preconceptions. Daria also meets some other biblical characters from the book of Acts, and I tried to portray them each struggling and human in their own way, wrestling with what it meant to be this new kind of Jew, this person whose Messiah had come.
Do you and the main character have anything in common?
Daria is very independent, and thinks she can get things done on her own. It’s hard for her to ask for help. I can relate!
How was the experience of writing So Shines the Night, compared to your other Seven Wonders novels?
It was much the same, with the addition of really being able to picture the city itself, as I could with Pompeii, after having walked the streets that are still so intact. It was also fun bringing in the “guest characters” from the book of Acts, and even an appearance of some characters from another novel (I’m not saying who – you’ll have to figure it out!)
How has your writing, research, and travels affected your spiritual life?
Great question. All of it has definitely given me a larger sense of the world and what God is doing in it, both now and through the past. It’s made me realize, as I’ve studied God’s work in the nations throughout history, that He has always been calling all people to Himself, and that He still is. It’s also given me a desire to see the kind of Christianity that was born in the fires of Roman persecution become part of our experience now – a living, breathing faith that radically transforms our lives.
Can you share anything about your future projects?
The best way to get a sense of what I’m working on now would be to visit this page: http://tracyhigley.com/books/work-in-progress/ Although, don’t hold me to all those thoughts about the book I haven’t started yet – who knows where that will go!
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