Mesu Andrews’ deep understanding of and love for God’s Word brings the biblical world alive for her readers. She and her husband, Roy, enjoyed fourteen years of pastoral ministry before moving to the Pacific Northwest, where Roy now serves as Academic Dean at Multnomah Biblical Seminary. Mesu writes full-time, snuggled in her recliner beside a cozy fire on rainy Northwest days. The Andrews’ enjoy visiting their two married daughters and a growing tribe of grandkids. Mesu loves movies, football, waterfalls, and travel.
Biblical fiction is her favorite genre to read and write. Her first novel, Love Amid the Ashes (Revell, 2011), won the 2012 ECPA Book of the Year for a Debut Author. Love’s Sacred Song (Revell, 2012), the Song of Solomon in story form, received a 4 ½ star rating from RT Reviews. And Love in a Broken Vessel (Revell, 2013), the story of Hosea and Gomer, received a 4 ½ star TOP PICK rating from RT Reviews. In The Shadow of Jezebel releases March 4, 2014.
Welcome to The Engrafted Word Mesu Andrews! It’s wonderful to have you here!
Savanna: In all your studying and researching for your novels, can you name a Biblical figure – besides Jesus, of course! – who you would have liked to meet?
Mesu: Eve intrigues me because I’d like to learn more about what life was like before sin marred our relationship with the Creator, but I think I’d have even more questions for Mary—Jesus’s mother. Not the normal stuff like, “What was it like to potty train the Son of God?” I want to know how it felt to be adored…to be loved as she was so evidently loved. By Joseph when he married her—saving her from humiliation and a possible death. And the tender respect he showed when he didn’t “lie with her” until after Jesus was born. Can you imagine? Walter Wangerin’s novel, Jesus, gives a heart-rending look at Mary’s motherly adjustment to Jesus’s journey from Son to Savior. I’d like to ask her how she let go of her adult child. But even during the pain, she was adored. Just before the Cross, Jesus secured her future by enlisting the Apostle John’s promise to care for Mary as if she were his own mother. A woman like Mary, chosen by God, cherished by those around her. I’d love to meet her—and plan to talk with her in eternity!
Savanna: Has there ever been a Biblical character that was difficult to write?
Mesu: ALL of them! Job (Love Amid the Ashes) was tough because I had to work through my bitterness and pain of chronic illness with Job as I wrote his scenes, but Solomon (Love’s Sacred Song) was probably the most difficult character to date. It was tough to make him “likeable” and convince readers he was faithful to Yahweh while he was building a harem of 700 wives and worshiping pagan gods. Gomer (Love in a Broken Vessel) was difficult because I was a Gomer—though not a prostitute, I was an alcoholic by age nineteen and on the road to destroying my life, when an old high school friend led me to Jesus and married me!
Savanna: What an incredible journey you’ve had! Thanks for sharing a little bit with us. So can you tell us what was your favorite thing about writing In The Shadow of Jezebel? And what was the hardest part about writing it?
Mesu: My favorite part was—as always—the research! I LOVED digging into Scripture, finding nuggets I’d overlooked before. Seriously, who knew King Jehoram received Elijah’s letter ten years after the prophet died? And it’s always fascinating to me when archaeological journals and ancient writings lend cultural context to God’s foundational Truths. Like fitting together a giant jigsaw puzzle, I get to see the whole picture come to life!
The hardest part about writing In The Shadow of Jezebel was grappling with the evil spread through Israel and Judah by Jezebel and Athaliah. When writing a novel, every character must have good and evil qualities to be believable. I struggled to find any good in either of these women. As the story developed, I found myself wrestling under the Shadow of Jezebel myself, weighed down by her abuses and schemes that remain prevalent in our own culture. This story is the foundational battle between darkness and Light—when darkness pervades, can Light overcome it? Praise God! We know the ending of The Book! But writing this book, as is true of life, was quite a journey through the muck—to emerge in His glorious Light.
Savanna: I’m in the middle of reading the book right now and can totally relate. What an incredible story! What will you do to celebrate your new release, which comes out TODAY, by the way?! Congratulations! 🙂
Also, if you purchase a copy of In The Shadow of Jezebel between March 1-7 from any online retailer, you can send your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org and receive a free downloadable copy of The Lost Chapter of Jezebel. It’s an exclusive chapter, cut from the original manuscript due to an over-abundant word count, but it gives some fun extra insight into the main characters. 😉
Savanna: Do you have a favorite book of the Bible? If so, can you tell us why it means so much to you?
Mesu: Solomon’s Song of Songs has been my favorite Book of the Bible since 1999 because it was once so confusing to me. Sounds strange, huh? Well, I hate not understanding Scripture (see my personal testimony for more info). So, for a full year, I read all eight chapters every day. When I tried to get answers from commentaries, they disagreed, so my commentary became waiting on the Lord, listening for His leading, and studying Solomon’s life in conjunction with his Song of Songs. A story emerged in allegory form and completely changed my relationship with Jesus Christ. He is now my Beloved, more precious to me than I can express, and in the words and pages of Song of Songs, I saw the depths of His adoration. It forever changed me.
Mesu: That phone call from my first editor, when she said, “Well, the committee met again and we’d like to offer you a contract…” I think every one of my senses shut down. Couldn’t breathe, talk, see, hear. By the time I could respond, she was saying, “Hello? Hello?” Thankfully, she knew to send me the details in an email because I didn’t remember anything she said over the phone. I called my husband and got his voicemail. The message I left was short and vague. “Call me right away. It’s nothing bad. Call me. Hurry.” That was in 2008, and he still has the voicemail saved. 🙂
Savanna: Thanks so much for being here today, Mesu! Is there anything else you’d like to add? How can readers connect with you?
Mesu: Blessings on ya, dear one! I’d love for my readers to visit my website – www.mesuandrews.com. There you’ll find downloads, sign-ups, and freebies— valuable resources that I hope stir your passion for God and His Word.
Mesu has generously offered one free copy of IN THE SHADOW OF JEZEBEL to one lucky winner!
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