Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.
The following is a February 2013 interview with Jill Eileen.
I’ve been married to Randy for almost 36 years and together we have three adult sons and one soon-to-be daughter-in-law. We’ve had at least one cat since our first year of marriage and right now have two that like to drive me crazy when I’m supposed to be working.
Reading and writing take up a good part of my day, but I take frequent breaks to play word games with friends or family. Right now my favorite TV series is Downton Abbey, and if I could live anywhere in the world it would be in a condo on the beach in California with a view of the mountains. Anyone have a place in Malibu they want to lend me? :-)
I love chocolate and my favorite kind of shopping is done online. I’m not a girly girl, which is probably a direct result of spending most of my life with a family of guys – though I do love a day at the spa and a bit of pampering now and then. Going out to dinner is better than cooking. Hotels are better than camping. Indoor plumbing is better than bathing in a river. I may like to write about history, but I’m glad I live in this century.
My heart’s desire is Jesus, and my most frequent prayer is for those I love to always walk in truth. I look forward to heaven and seeing Jesus face to face, and hugging my dad again. But I love life here on earth and can’t wait to see what He has in store for the next adventure!
I wrote poetry and music as a teenager at a time when music was more my focus. I’ve loved to read since childhood, but did not see myself as a novelist until I set out to write the book I wanted to read. Twenty years later a portion of that book became the Wives of King David series.
3. What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?
That is a difficult question, partly because I am not always comfortable with making a distinction between Christian fiction and fiction in general. Story is story. The difference of one story over another is the author’s view of the world. Faith guides our thinking and our actions. Depending on where we place that faith will determine the type of story we write.
A Christian writing fiction has the advantage of bringing the truth and hope and faith of Scripture into her story, sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly. I think there can be a place for both, though I favor the subtle over the overt. Jesus’ parables were often confusing to his listeners, and his stories were different than his sermons. I don’t believe Christian fiction (or any fiction) is a place for preaching. It is a place for telling a story. That story might illustrate real life or teach a life lesson, and if it follows biblical principles it will often be one of grace or forgiveness or hope.
The Christian market allows for an author to talk about faith openly and even preach the gospel within the story if the story calls for that. In any case, it is a good medium for encouraging believers and for gently pointing those who don’t believe, to see God’s truth.
I hope my work will inspire them to seek the Lord, to read the stories in the Bible that inspired my work. I hope they will see these people as real, and as biblical fiction did for me, help them see God’s Word as truth, and perhaps in a whole new, but truthful light.
5. What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why?
The people that write to me and tell me that my work has inspired them to read the Bible again or that something in one of the stories has touched them in some way, perhaps healed a relationship or drawn them closer to the Lord – those are the letters that mean the most.
6. How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?
I pray more. I believe I probably face more spiritual warfare than I realize as a direct result of writing. I grow more dependent on Him each day, and I pray over every book, sometimes every scene as I write. I can’t do this without Him, and the day I think I can, I don’t want to continue.
Well, thank you for that compliment! I’m honored that you think them great.
Other goals…That condo on the beach in Malibu is a dream, but with two of my kids in L.A., I do have a goal of at least wintering in California someday. My husband and I would like to travel, perhaps to Europe or take a cruise. I would love to see more of the Middle East if tensions weren’t so high there.
8. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Grab coffee with friends. Date night with my husband. Get a massage. Play Words With Friends. Read. Take pictures. Go for bike rides. Snuggle the cats.
9. What can you tell us about your latest novels?
Rebekah is my latest release; book two in the Wives of the Patriarchs series. This was the hardest book I’ve ever written because there is so little about Rebekah and Isaac in Scripture. It is a story of relationships, which taught me much when all was said and done.
Can love heal the rift between two souls?
When her beloved father dies and she is left in the care of her conniving brother Laban, Rebekah knows her life has changed forever. Though she should be married by now, it’s clear that Laban is dragging his feet, waiting for a higher bride-price to line his pockets. When she is given a chance to leave her home to marry Isaac, a cousin she has never even seen, Rebekah’s hope for the future is restored. Little does she know what a wondrous and heart-wrenching journey she is beginning.
As Rebekah experiences the joy of young love and the bitterness of misunderstanding and betrayal, her resolve will be tested. When the rift between her and Isaac grows so wide it is surely too great to be mended, can she trust the God of Isaac’s father Abraham to bridge the gap?
Sarai (Wives of the Patriarchs #1)
[Purchase: Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle]
Rebekah (Wives of the Patriarchs #2)
[Purchase: Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle]
Book three in the Wives of the Patriarchs, Rachel, will be out early in 2014. Right now I’m working on the Loves of King Solomon, which are four novellas that will go straight to e-book. When those are completed (one a year – not sure when the first will release), there will be a final paperback compilation of the whole story.
At the same time, I’m also starting a new series called the Brides of the Promised Land. This series is for four books, Rahab, Deborah, Ruth, and Hannah. I’m working on Rahab now.
11. What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?
Thank you! I appreciate your support more than words can say. Thank you for your faith in me and for reading my work. God’s blessings to each of you!
12. Do you have any parting words?
I would give you Solomon’s parting words from Ecclesiastes 12:12b-14
“Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”