It is my pleasure to welcome Barbara M. Britton back to Chirp 'N Chatter! We're talking about her new release, BUILDING BENJAMIN: NAOMI'S STORY. Barbara will give away an electronic copy of this exciting book of biblical fiction, OR a print copy of PROVIDENCE: HANNAH'S JOURNEY. Leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing.
Welcome back, Barbara! I'm eager to hear about your new release. I gotta say, I'm intrigued with this series. And both of your Tribes of Israel covers are absolutely stunning!
Thank you for having me back to talk with your readers. I am so excited to be launching another Tribes of Israel novel into the world. BUILDING BENJAMIN: NAOMI'S STORY releases today in e-book. The print edition comes out April Fool’s Day. I’m going to have to think of something fun to do on April 1st.
Absolutely! You can't pass up an opportunity like that. :) Are your characters based on real people?
In my first book, I was inspired by the servant girl in the story of Naaman (II Kings 5). The servant girl was mentioned briefly, but we didn’t know her backstory or whatever happened to her. Building Benjamin is inspired by the chaos in the last three chapters of the book of Judges (Judges 19-21). I had no idea this Sodom and Gomorrah story was in Judges and that the tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out—by the other tribes of Israel, no less. We know the incident from the Bible narrative. I threw some characters into the mix.
How interesting! What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?
I love all my books, so it is difficult to pick a favorite. I will say that Naomi’s story was the most difficult to write because it is an enemies-to-lovers story. I had to change Naomi’s feelings for Eliab 180 degrees. And I changed them in a short amount of time. I found that hard to do and make it seem believable. I find boy-next-door romances or handsome stranger romances much easier to write. But I’ll never say never on doing another whirlwind transformation.
I love coming up with titles for my own books. How did you come up with the title for this one?
At the end of Judges, the tribe of Benjamin is left with 600 men and no women or children. Wives are a necessity if the tribe is going to survive. But alas, the rest of the tribes have taken an oath not to give their daughters in marriage to those nasty Benjamites. What’s a man to do when God has forbidden the Hebrews from marrying foreign women? Well, some Benjamites hide in a vineyard and steal Ephraimite women when they come out to dance. What would it be like to be one of the women stolen? Naomi, Cuzbi, and Jael find out. The tribe of Benjamin needs babies to continue on. The tribe needs to be built up, so Building Benjamin.
On a Biblical note, both Saul, the first king of Israel, and Saul of Tarsus (later named the apostle Paul) come from the tribe of Benjamin. God had a plan to rescue the tribe.
Now let's get really up close and personal... lol What did you edit out of this book?
Nothing. This was a shocker! I thought I would have to tone down some sensuality, but I sailed through the editing process. I mean, this is Christian fiction, so there are no sex scenes, but my characters do fall in love. I did however have a ton of comments on one certain scene where a lame ewe is left on the roadside. Oh my, did I get scolded. Now, being the author, I knew what was going to happen, but my poor editor didn’t. She was so relieved later on in the story. So when you hit that scene, trust me—even though you might shed a tear.
When you wrote this book, did you have an idea of how it would end at the beginning?
I followed the Bible narrative, but the last chapter of Judges treats the capture of the women matter-of-factly. The ending loses steam compared to the accounts of all the battles and the kidnapping. I added a bit of spice based on what might have occurred from the text. The ending remains the same, as the tribe of Benjamin was saved.
I was wondering if any of your readers were familiar with this Bible story before today. I remember Sunday School and VBS stories about Deborah, Samson, and Gideon, but never this story from the book of Judges.
How about it, readers? Are you familiar with this story in Judges?
About BUILDING BENJAMIN: NAOMI'S STORY:
Love Grows Where God Grafts the Tender Shoot.
Naomi desires to dance well enough to catch the eye of a wealthy landowner. Her father needs a substantial bride price due to the deaths of her brothers at the hands of the tribe of Benjamin. But when Benjamites raid the Ephraimite feast and capture young girls, Naomi is bound and carried from her home by Eliab, a troubled shepherd who needs a wife.
As Naomi awaits rescue, she finds Eliab has a strong faith in God and a just reason for abducting her. A reason that affects all the tribes of Israel. The future of the tribe of Benjamin hangs in the balance, but if Naomi follows her heart and stays with Eliab to rebuild his lineage, she must forfeit her family and become a traitor to her tribe.
About the author:
Barbara M. Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb kicked off her Tribes of Israel series in October with the release of PROVIDENCE: HANNAH'S JOURNEY. Naomi’s journey is set to release this spring. Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America.
Want to learn more?