Welcome to the blog, Jenelle. I’m so honored to have you here today. Congratulations on your recent release, The Dream Weaver’s Bride. This story sounds so intriguing to me!
What first drew you to write Joseph’s wife’s story?
Thank you for inviting me, Savanna! I’ve always loved Joseph’s story of perseverance and forgiveness. Many people can relate to Joseph’s anguish. At some point, we will experience hurtful relationships and betrayal. We may even encounter slander or false assumptions. It’s what we do with the pain that matters. Joseph’s life challenges on so many levels! When Guideposts Fiction created the series of Ordinary Women of the Bible, they desired each novel focus primarily on a woman. I knew Asenath presented a wonderful opportunity to observe Joseph navigate reconciliation with his brothers. The amazing editors at Guideposts also gave me freedom to write a romance between Asenath and Joseph, which was really fun! Since the Egyptians reviled the Hebrews, I thought it a fascinating arranged marriage. What would she have felt when told to marry a former slave accused of hurting another woman? What did Asenath think of Joseph’s God, especially since Egyptians had such an extensive list of gods?
Okay, now I want to read it even more! 🙂 I can’t wait!
What part of the book did you enjoy researching the most?
It blew me away when I discovered the priests of On exclusively interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams. We know from the Genesis account that Pharaoh handed over the high priest’s daughter to the only man who could decipher the dreams. Joseph, a Hebrew and a slave, would never have entered Pharaoh’s court without God’s intervention. I find that scene in the Bible to be so goose-pimple good.
I also really enjoyed digging into the customs of ancient Egypt and plausible kings who might fit the profile of the biblical Pharaoh. While researchers may not agree on exact timelines, there are enough tantalizing clues within archeology to suggest Joseph and the Exodus shaped Egyptian history.
Love it! So many times we ask what readers took away from a story…. What will you take away from writing The Dream Weaver’s Bride?
The theme of forgiveness obviously runs throughout the novel. Asenath and Joseph encounter several situations that require them to forgive and release pain. However, trust must be earned, especially when following abusive situations. Both Asenath and Joseph learn to set boundaries, explore health in relationships, and come to a place of freedom by leaning into God’s forgiveness and mercy.
I think the idea of pursuing justice will resonate with many readers. Ultimately, we have to trust the sovereignty of God in working out situations, or vengeance and hatred can easily drive us. Writing Asenath’s story gave me the freedom to explore forgiveness in my life. Sometimes, we have to walk away from a situation that isn’t healthy. It’s ok to set that boundary. Forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same thing, and we need God’s wisdom on how to proceed with such difficult situations. After all, Joseph tested his brothers to see if they had truly changed. We have to remember these were the same brothers who discussed murdering him and ended up selling him into brutal slavery. No matter what we experience—even if we walk away from abuse or toxic relationships—we must pursue forgiveness and release that broken person into God’s care. Even if reconciliation isn’t practical or possible.
On the flip side, God brought healing and redemption to an impossible family break. Nothing is too difficult for Him and no person beyond His touch. Joseph had to reach out and allow his brothers a second chance during the famine. All divinely orchestrated by God. We simply can’t forgive on our own. We absolutely need God’s help to extend grace. Ultimately, there is such freedom (physically, emotionally, spiritually) when we choose forgiveness. I enjoyed exploring these themes through a pagan Egyptian princess’s view point. Since ancient Egyptians were famous for chiseling out the names of people and rulers they abhorred, I’m assuming Asenath found Joseph’s mercy fascinating and convicting. Finally, I’m constantly amazed at how God redeems our tragic stories. What men intend for evil, God can turn around for His glory. We need this message more than ever. When we seek Him, He mends the frayed and damaged threads of our lives into something beautiful.
Beautiful, indeed. Thank you for sharing this, Jenelle. So much truth here.
When did you first discover you were a writer?
I started writing when I was seven years old. I still have those yellowed journals tucked away in a cedar chest. Although I loved writing, I initially moved into the world of science and medicine. Thankfully, I now have time to write! Asenath’s love of science definitely comes from my background. I adore it when girls have the courage to pursue their dreams. Asenath certainly gets to do that, even if in Ancient Egypt.
What are a few books you’ve enjoyed so far this year?
I especially admire Connilyn Cossette. Her books within the Ordinary Women of the Bible series are sigh-worthy. The Healer’s Touch remains one of my favorite books so far this year. Honestly, anything she writes is fabulous. I devoured Laura Frantz’s latest novel, Tide Water Bride. I can hardly wait for her newest book! Abigail Wilson is also on my auto-buy list for sweet Regency Gothic. Finally, Shannon McNear offers some of the richest historical novels I’ve ever read. I’m excited about her new release, Elinor, coming in December. It’s wonderful!
Ohhhh, what a great group of authors and books you mentioned. Love it! Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
I’m currently working on several projects and hope to share more soon!
I’m so happy you could join us today, Jenelle. Wishing you a blessed season ahead in your life and in your writing.
Jenelle has graciously offered to give away two copies of “The Dream Weaver’s Bride” to two lucky winners. The first name drawn will ALSO receive this beautiful jewelry too! Enter below and it could be YOU! 😉
Thanks for entering! Contest ends October 5, 2021 . The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!