Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Harriet E. Michael

Good morning, dear reader! I’m excited to introduce you to my friend Harriet E. Michael. Harriet is a wife, mother, grandmother and writer. You can find out more about Harriet and her books on Facebook, Amazon Author Page, and her Blog.

Good morning, Harriet. Welcome! Please, tell us a little about yourself.

Harriet MichaelI was born in the jungles of Africa, the daughter of missionaries. I really was. My parents were missionaries to Nigeria, West Africa and I was born in the Niger River Delta in a little jungle village called Joinkrama. The place of my birth, at that time, had elephants roaming around, monkeys in the trees, crocodiles in the river, and cannibals nearby.

We moved to the city of Ogbomoso when I was three. It was in a part of the country that was not in the tropical rain forest, not in the jungle. I loved Ogbomoso, and all of my childhood memories are from there. I lived through a few years of war—the Biafran War that started in 1967 and lasted until 1970. My family left Nigeria in the summer of ’68 when our term ended, and we did not return. I missed my home so badly! My 5th grade year in the states was one of the unhappiest of my life. I just kept wanting to go home.

A couple of years later, we moved to WV where my dad started a medical practice. I adjusted and grew to love WV & the US. My senior year of high school I was a cheerleader, and my school’s football team won the AAA state championship—still one of the highlight moments of my life.

In ’79 I married John R. Michael to whom I am still married. We have shared many experiences, all of which are fodder for writing. One of the experiences we shared was a time when he served on the board of Trustees of Southern Seminary from 1984-1994. It was a very interesting time, and he had a significant role in some changes that occurred at the seminary then. And like I said, its fodder for writing and is, in fact, the subject of a book we have co-written and are currently seeking a publisher.

But I’m jumping the gun …

I began writing in 2009 and have found my passion in life. I think I have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I write mostly nonfiction (both books and small pieces—articles, devotions, etc.) I do have one novel released last March. It is a fiction based on fact, based on the lives and love of my parents.

Today, I have a growing list of published credits (over 150 articles, devotions, stories in anthologies, etc.) and have authored or co-authored six books, three are published, and three are in the process. I am also contracted to co-writing another that will hopefully be released sometime next year.

Prayer It's not about youI am signed under the nonfiction arm of Write Integrity Press, called Pix-N-pens. They published my first book, Prayer: It’s Not About You, my co-writer’s first book, Study Guide of Prayer a companion to my book, and are in the process of publishing two more in our prayer series.

Shirley Crowder, my co-writer, is a childhood friend who used to live across the dirt road from me in Ogbomoso. We played together nearly every day. She teased once and said, “The pickings were slim as far as playmates went on that African mission compound back then.” That may have been true, but God used it to make us friends for life. 😊

Way to go, Harriet! As you know, this month’s theme is self-control. Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit as listed in Galatian 5:22-23. It is also often spoken of in passages describing leadership. Certainly, it is a desirable practice to learn.

Well said! On to the next questions. Life is a continual journey of learning, applying, and transforming. Have you ever experienced a season when you found it difficult to have self-control? How did you overcome?

One of my struggles with self-control happens when I encounter opinions that differ from mine, especially strong opinions. I see this often on Facebook. I have friends on both sides of issues, whether political, social, or whatever. I too have my own strong opinions, but I have worked at controlling my urge to proclaim them loudly across Facebook, especially when it means blasting against someone else’s opinion. It seems to me that this usually only results in arguments.

I have a couple of friends in particular who come to my mind. I am sometimes saddened to see their often rude-sounding, ugly, criticism of political figures or positions they disagree with.  I think there is a difference between standing one’s ground (which I willingly do, but usually in person) and stirring up people to anger.

When I see these, I’ll admit that many rebuttals come into my mind, but I hold back and tell myself to “walk away.” Consequently, I have maintained my friendships with people whom I could easily have had many heated arguments. Some feel that the arguments are simply good debates, I hold to Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Those are definitely words to live by. Let’s talk writing. In what genre do you write and how does your faith influence your writing?

I am a nonfiction writer at heart, and almost all of my writing has been nonfiction, especially Biblical nonfiction. This is one reason, my childhood friend Shirley and I became co-writers in so many books, she too loves to write Biblical nonfiction—books and articles that focus on Bible passages or concepts.

Harriet Michael bookBut I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed writing my novel, The Whisper of the Palms. It has had a good reception, sold well, and I have readers asking for a sequel, so who knows? Maybe some future day, I will write another fiction.

I love nonfiction and fiction also! Harriet, thank you for taking the time to visit with us.

If you’re looking for a fiction or nonfiction book, be sure to add Harriet’s to your TBR list!

 

 

 

 

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Mist Of Midnight ~Sandra Byrd

I am pleased to have my friend and mentor, the lovely Sandra Byrd with me today. Her book, Mist of Midnight, is on sale for $1.99 for your Kindle and Nook. If you haven’t read it, I assure you it will make the perfect summer read.

PR-Photo Sandra Byrd picOne of the things I love about Sandra’s writing is what she doesn’t say. Woven within the text is a treasure trove of wisdom if you only look for it. While reading Mist of Midnight, I thought of all the ministers and the sacrifices they’ve willingly made for the gospel. Now, let’s chat with Sandra.

Good morning, Sandra. Please tell us about Mist of Midnight.

In the first of a brand-new series set in Victorian England, a young woman returns home from India after the death of her family to discover her identity and inheritance are challenged by the man who holds her future in his hands.

Rebecca Ravenshaw, daughter of missionaries, spent most of her life in India. Following the death of her family in the Indian Mutiny, Rebecca returns to claim her family estate in Hampshire, England. Upon her return, people are surprised to see her…and highly suspicious. Less than a year earlier, an imposter had arrived with an Indian servant and assumed not only Rebecca’s name, but her home and incomes.

That pretender died within months of her arrival; the servant fled to London as the young woman was hastily buried at midnight. The locals believe that perhaps she, Rebecca, is the real imposter. Her home and her father’s investments reverted to a distant relative, the darkly charming Captain Luke Whitfield, who quickly took over. Against her best intentions, Rebecca begins to fall in love with Luke, but she is forced to question his motives—does he love her or does he just want Headbourne House? If Luke is simply after the property, as everyone suspects, will she suffer a similar fate as the first “Rebecca”?

 A captivating Gothic love story set against a backdrop of intrigue and danger, Mist of Midnight will leave you breathless.

Can’t wait to read it. Now, tell us how did Mist of Midnight get started?

My interest in this particular story ignited when I read a biography of the first wife of the man often considered the Father of Missions, William Carey. Dorothy Carey was an unwilling missionary. She did not want to leave England, but her husband persisted and planned to take their oldest son with him, perhaps forever, leaving her home with the younger children. Dorothy was finally convinced to, perhaps bullied into, accompany her husband. Suffering first from what we could would call depression, she was an unhappy woman who was locked inside, crying, while her husband baptized their son and his first Indian convert. Her illness progressed and she ended her days in paranoia, psychosis, and misery after the death of their son Peter from dysentery, which she herself suffered from throughout her life. Carey, who seemed to have been both driven and a man seeking relief for as well as confinement for his wife, went on to marry another woman after Dorothy’s death, a woman suited to missions work. They lived and worked together happily.

This interest next led me to the Mault family. Among the earliest missionaries from England to India, sent from the London Missionary Society, both Charles and Margaret Mault were admirably, happily, suited to missionary work. They joined Margaret’s brother, Charles Mead, and his wife in South India. Mrs. Mead and Mrs. Mault worked together to open schools which taught both academic and practical subjects to girls in a state where girls never went to school. Mrs. Mault, an accomplished lace maker from Honiton, shared her skill. Lace-making offered Indian girls financial freedom, dignity, and the ability to climb the social, if not the caste, ladder. Their lace was proudly displayed at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London and sold throughout the world.

How interesting. I love how you included that in your story. Let’s talk about your research process.

I begin by reading, mainly nonfiction material that covers the era I’m writing in. I immerse myself in the language of the era, its customs and mannerisms. How did women dress, and what were their hopes and expectations, their limitations, which are often different from our own? I visit as many sites, personally, as I can, so I spent some time in Hampshire, England. I visited the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, where the London Missionary Society archives are held, and read the actual letters written to and from the missionaries to India. Finally, I engage a historical research assistant who lives in the area in which I write and is an historical expert, to ensure my English people sound English and my facts and customs are all straight.

Please share how your research affected you personally?

It was powerful to read the words of those missionary women in their own hands. The letters were written on the thinnest parchment possible, and then the papers were turned sideways and written across again, angularly, to make the most of the paper space. They worked very hard, they suffered and gave their all in service to Christ. Most of them did not realize the extent of their impact in their lifetimes, but we can see it now. It was an effective and encouraging lesson in planting, hoeing, and watering knowing that God will reap, though we may not see it right away.

Wow. How do you see yourself in your character’s story, if at all?

I think all of us, as believers, wonder why bad things happen to good people, and why it seems as though the Lord has abandoned us at a moment when we most need Him. To live through, and then show on the page, the truth that He is always with us even if we don’t sense his presence and attention was restorative to me, and I hope it will be to readers, too.

Will we know what happens to your character after the end of the book?

Absolutely. This is a complete story, including a little epilogue. The book launches a series of three books in the same genre (Gothic romance) set in the same era and area (Victorian England) but each book has its own set of characters and story arc.

Where can readers find you online?

Please visit me at my website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’ve love to visit your book club via Skype.


PR-Photo Sandra Byrd picAfter earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I published in April, 2013

Sandra has also published dozens of books for tweens and teens, including a best-selling devotional.

Mist of midnight

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