I was born in the Middle East and lived there the first thirteen years of my
life. The people of Iran, where I grew up, value family and friends above most
things. I have learned that nothing is as important as relationships, both
Divine and human: not writing, not succeeding, not finishing my to-do list, not
even reading my favorite books. After Jesus, people come first. Love is more
important than accomplishments or pastimes.
I was almost fourteen when we moved to England. Half of my family still lives
there. When we first moved, my English was limited. I became fluent while
attending Princess Helena College, a boarding school for girls in Hertfordshire.
So although I’ve lived most of my life in America, my accent still has shades of
the Queen’s influence. That, and a bit of Persian. Americans usually ask me if
I’m Irish. The Irish ask me if I’m American. The real answer is that I’m a
citizen of heaven.
I became a bookworm when I was very young. Most of my pocket money went to
buying novels. It still does, come to think of it. I would not be who I am today
without books. In fact, I am best friends with some very famous writers. They
just don’t know it.
I love a good historical with a touch of Romance. Suspense can also make my day.
Put them together and you are my friend. Add a steak and fries and a bit of
chocolate (make that a large bit) and I might never leave. This is partly why I
write biblical fiction. Not my affection for chocolate: that was sadly missing
in the biblical world. But the fact that in the Bible you will find fascinating
glimpses into history, discover the romance of the ages, and come face-to-face
with heart-pounding mystery.
You meet flawed men and women who help you to discover yourself, unearth your
own shortcomings and failings, and encounter the love of a God who chooses you
I base my novels on characters that touch me in a personal way. I have to be
able to connect to them emotionally. You wouldn’t want to spend a whole year of
your life with someone who irritated or annoyed you, would you? I spend months
with these characters, so they need to grip my heart, and earn my respect. If
they do that for me, I find my readers often feel the same connection.
My latest novel is about Lydia, the seller of purple cloth from the Book of
Acts. One reason I chose this story is that as a working woman, I could relate
to Lydia. She is a woman in a man’s world, a woman bearing the burdens of a
lavish business with many dependents. I felt that perhaps more than anything,
the weight of responsibility might have pressed her down. She either had to
trust her own ability, or rely on God.
Most of us struggle, at least to some degree, with the same choice, especially
when it comes to our jobs. The work of our hands has many complex emotional
threads attached to it. We long to be useful. To make a difference. To use our
gifting. To avoid failure. Add to that the reality that in our world, our
stability is attached to work. Our work is an emotional quagmire, often loaded
down with fear, unless we learn to trust God.
I called the novel BREAD OF
ANGELS , which is based on psalm 78:25. The psalmist Asaph calls manna the
bread of the angels.
The whole point of manna, besides feeding the people, was to teach trust. To
teach them that morning by morning, God would provide for that day. There was no
earthly way to control this provision. They could not plan or arrange or
manipulate their way into receiving manna. They had to trust that, every day,
God would meet them again at the point of their need. Perhaps this is what the
angels in heaven hunger for. Not food for their stomachs, but this depth of
reliance. Trust in God is the only thing that assuages their hunger.
Bread of the angels.
Today, God still lavishes the bread of angels upon us. Not in the form of manna,
but in the shape of what we most need for that day. Emotional, practical,
relational strength and provision. I pray we reach out and take that bread from
His wounded hands.
Thanks so much for inviting me over, Fresh Fiction. It has been a privilege to
connect with you and your readers. Please visit me at
tessaafshar.com or on
Facebook at Tessa Afshar Author.
Tessa Afshar is an award-winning author of historical and biblical fiction.
Her novel, Land of Silence, was voted by Library Journal as one of five top
Christian Fiction titles of 2016, and nominated for the 2016 RT Reviewer’s
Choice Award for best Inspirational Romance.
Tessa was born in Iran and
lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England where
she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and
Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion
to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life
Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as
cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She serves on the
staff of one of the oldest churches in America. But that has not cured her from
being addicted to chocolate.
Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world
dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an
incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she
changes the world.
But before she was Lydia, the seller of purple, she was simply a merchant’s
daughter who loved three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye.
Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.
With only her father’s secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and
struggles to establish her business on her own. Determination and serendipitous
acquaintances—along with her father’s precious dye—help her become one of the
city’s preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets
the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming his first European
convert. Still, Lydia can’t outrun her secrets forever, and when past and
present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or
succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.
Historical [Tyndale House, On Sale: June 1,
2017, Trade Size / e-Book, ISBN: 9781496406477 / eISBN: 9781496425294]
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