Monday, March 11, 2013

Author Interview: Mesu Andrews, Author of Love in a Broken Vessel


We have a very special guest on Book Review Travels today. Mesu Andrews, author of the book Love in a Broken Vessel has taken time away from her schedule to answer some important questions that are based on the Biblical story of Hosea and Gomer.


Jill: Welcome to Book Review Travels, Mesu. We’re glad you’re here!

Mesu: Hi Jill! Thanks so much for inviting me! I loved your questions—some really interesting ones…


Jill: What inspired/intrigued you to write Love in a Broken Vessel, relating to the Biblical account of Hosea and Gomer?

Mesu: Because of my “colorful” spiritual heritage (Mom’s Charismatic; Dad was Quaker; grandparents: Pilgrim Holiness, Nazarene, and Weslyan), I have an overwhelming desire to research and understand God’s Word. It’s worse than a pebble in my shoe when I can’t get at least a glimpse of the meaning or symbolism in a passage. When it comes to Old Testament prophets, I’m often stumped, but I loved Hosea’s story because the first three chapters were just that—a story—at least part of a story. And that PART made me wonder if Jewish legend or other historical texts proposed possible answers to fill in some details Scripture left untold. When writing biblical novels, I work with three kinds of information. The first is God’s Word, Scripture, the unalterable Truth and its facts. The second comes through historic text, archaeological findings, and scientific data. These items I weave into the biblical Truth to answer whatever questions Scripture left me asking. And if I can’t find specific answers in the Bible or in historical data, I get to use the third kind of information—my imagination, creating the glue that holds the story together. Hosea and Gomer was a fun project because it gave me opportunity to explore the biblical records of 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Hosea, Micah, Isaiah, and even Jonah. And because it encompassed so many biblical characters, my imagination got to piece lots of history together, too! A very fun project.


Jill: What is your understanding of why God wanted Hosea to marry Gomer, in spite of her rough background?

I LOVE this question because it’s the same question I asked when I started researching and writing. Why would God ask such a righteous man to marry Gomer, a woman so broken, a prostitute so used up? Even several chapters into writing the manuscript, I wrestled with the question through the characters’ voices. A young Isaiah asks Hosea that very question, and I think I was shocked at the answer I typed for Hosea! ha! Here’s what Hosea said:

“She’s not the symbol of all Yahweh despises in Israel. She’s all that He seeks to redeem—the brokenness, the confusion, the lost lamb that needs a shepherd.”

God didn’t choose Gomer IN SPITE of her rough background. He chose her BECAUSE of it. So many of us envision God as the wrath-filled judge, assigning poor Hosea to a life of drudgery and shame, married to a prostitute who will forever disappoint and betray him. We forget—or possibly have never read—Hosea 2:19-20, when Yahweh speaks of betrothing His beloved forever in love, compassion, and faithfulness. As I understand Scripture, the reason God wanted Hosea to marry Gomer was to illustrate His unyielding love, His formidable wrath, and His enduring hope of redemption for those He adores. No one is too broken for God.


Jill: What misconceptions do you think people have the most often about Gomer?

Mesu: I think the biggest misconception is when we give her no concern at all. How would we feel if our spouse’s ministry hinged on touting our past shame? In order for Hosea to be obedient to Yahweh, he had to publicize to all of Israel—and Judah and generations to come—Gomer’s prostitution and her children born from adultery. Hosea more than likely lived in Judah but prophesied mostly to Israel, which meant he traveled extensively. Gomer would have been alone a lot. How would that have felt? We’re too often over-familiar with a biblical story and don’t give the characters real flesh and blood. True emotion. Actual schedules. Annoying habits. God’s Word is the Living Word, and its characters are quite capable of whispering to our souls through the power of the Holy Spirit. We need only seek God with our whole hearts, and He promises to be found (Prov.8:17).


Jill: How does this fictional story about Hosea and Gomer match and/or differ from the real Biblical version?

Mesu: I think the biggest stretch is the prophets’ camp at Amos’ farm in Tekoa. Scripture supports the idea of a school of prophets as early as the days of Joshua, and it specifically speaks of three prophets’ schools built by Elijah in Gilgal, Bethel, and Jericho (2 Kings 2:1,2,4). I fictionalized Amos’ fig farm into a revenue-producing camp because many of the commentaries I consulted agreed that Hosea probably wrote his prophecy in his later years, while living somewhere in Judah, though he undoubtedly delivered the words on Israel’s soil. Placing this safe zone of prophets in Amos’ backyard seemed a nice location for everyone—including some of the secondary characters we won’t mention here! (Don’t want to give away spoilers) ;) Though Isaiah’s father is mentioned in Scripture, we have no indication of his status or faith. So, everything about Amoz (except his name) is fictional—including his pottery shop. Isaiah was married, but we don’t know his wife’s name from Scripture, nor do we know the exact ages of the prophets. Their ministry dates are a researched guess-timate, as are the ages and reigns of the kings. I’d love to hear specific questions from your readers if they’d like to ask in the comments!  
 

Jill: What do you hope readers will gain from reading this novel?

Mesu: My goal in writing biblical novels is always to stir a reader’s curiosity and send them back to God’s Word to find the Truth. My favorite emails are from readers telling me what they’ve discovered after they’ve read my book and then returned to Scripture to sift through fiction and fact. I love it when they see God’s Word with a fresh perspective! Love in a Broken Vessel carries several themes. Of course, the most evident is God’s unyielding love for His people—no matter how broken we become. I know I needed that message when I was nineteen years old and thought my life was over. Jesus became my hope, and He’s been using the broken places of my life ever since. But there are other messages woven between the lines. Forgiveness. Honesty. Waiting on God. And I think one that snuck in unintentionally may be of great encouragement—everyone can hear God speak…if we learn how to listen. It’s always fun to hear from readers what they gained from the book. Sometimes the author is the last to know! ha!


Jill: It has been such a blessing to have Mesu Andrews come and share her thoughts about her new book Love in a Broken Vessel


You can purchase the book through…

http://www.mesuandrews.com/books/ (Mesu's website) OR “wherever books are sold” (Mesu's books are available at any bookstore—Christian, Barnes & Noble, CBD, Amazon, etc.)


Mesu: You can connect with Mesu in lots of ways! Let’s keep in touch!
 

·         Please stop by my website and order free bookmarks, or download group discussion or Bible study questions for all three of Mesu’s books: http://www.mesuandrews.com/

·         Or visit me on Facebook: Mesu Andrews

·         Twitter: MesuAndrews

·         Pinterest: MesuAndrews

·         Blog posts on Fridays (inside scoop on characters, plots, and new releases!): http://www.mesuandrews.com/blog/





See Also My Book Review for Love in a Broken Vessel Here:

http://wordmachine-bookreviewtravels.blogspot.com/2013/03/book-blog-tour-love-in-broken-vessel-by.html

2 comments:

  1. Excellent interview! Thank you. I will be getting a copy of Love in a Broken Vessel.

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  2. Great to hear, KayM! I trust that God will show you more about the Biblical account of Hosea and Gomer than you have ever experienced before through this story. It reveals Biblical facts and also helps expand your mind on some of the unknowns.

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