Tell us a little about yourself?I am married to a wonderful man named Richard, and we have six children. We live in the San Fernando Valley of southern California with a cat named Happy.
Tell us about your writing journey. What led you to do this?Some of my very earliest memories are of telling myself stories, yet for some reason I did not start writing them down until I was much older. I always loved to read, and through books I found that I was transported to other worlds and places. Finally I began writing my stories down during a trying time in my life, and found that it was an incredible stress-reliever for me. When my husband first saw some of my writing he was very encouraging. Because of him I have kept working on my writing.
Please tell us a little about your new book.Babel is a story that developed over years. For quite a long time I had wanted to write a story set in Old Testament times, surrounding a Bible story, but not involving Bible characters. The Tower of Babel especially has always fascinated me, there seem to be so many mysteries surrounding it. My book is about two people who find themselves wrapped up in a generations-long struggle surrounding the building of the Tower of Babel - the original conspiracy theory. Jaiyl, a young girl from a mysterious family, has secrets of her own that she is too afraid to reveal. When she meets Van, a young man from a remote mountain village, she must decide if she can trust him with all her secrets. Together they must learn to trust God and each other, while they fight to save those they love.
Where do you find inspiration for your writing, and how did the ideas for these books come to you?I find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes an idea comes to me from an experience in my own life, or observing other people. One story has come from genealogical research of my ancestors, and others have come just from letting my imagination wander.
What message do you hope readers will take from it?The message I would hope readers see in Babel is that God’s love overcomes all obstacles, but not always in the way we plan. Oftentimes God’s plan looks nothing like our own, yet it’s always for the best. I’ve learned that people will come away with different messages though, sometimes things that I didn’t envision even while writing the book.
Do you have a favorite scene from your book, and why is it your favorite? There’s quite a few different scenes I really enjoyed writing. Usually they were the ones I think of as funny, showing a lighter side to this story. In real life people can find humor in the midst of trying situations, and that is what I wanted to show.
Care to share an excerpt? This isn’t a humorous excerpt, but it is one that I liked writing. She watched Thad at his table, writing by the light of a candle, and Jaiyl felt almost as if she had been transported back in time. The dark little cabin, filled with the smell of musty books, burning oil, and ink reminded her of another place and another time. The old prophet looked enough like her long ago friend Micah that she stopped and gasped in alarm, almost believing that Josiah might run in behind her with his sisters and brothers, laughing and joking. Quick tears leaped into her eyes, which she hastily wiped away hoping Van had not seen them. She watched in awe as Thad placed his quill down, picked up another and wrote a single word, then discarded the new quill and took up the first one again. She immediately knew that Thad must be of the same family, one who belonged to God, another like Micah and Rachel and Josiah.
When she could speak again she quietly approached the old man’s side.
"You write?" Jaiyl asked.
"Oh yes, all-important."
"Are you a recorder?"
"Yes, of sorts....perhaps more accurately - a preserver."
"What do you preserve?"
"Signs, clues to the riddle."
"The riddle of the Tower."
Jaiyl paused at Thad's mention of a tower, seeming to recognize and accept something significant in Thad's answer.
"Ahh yes, that riddle," she continued. "Do you have the answer yet?"
At her question Thad looked up sharply. Seeming to actually take notice of Jaiyl for the first time he said, "Not quite, but almost..."
Thad stayed silent for a moment, looking into Jaiyl’s eyes, then searching her form, gaze coming to rest on a curious golden bracelet she wore on her left wrist. Seeing his interest in it, Jaiyl twisted the delicate band to show him the symbol of who she was. What seemed like an age ago, Jaiyl had almost left the bracelet behind in her tent in the desert, but something had compelled her to keep it. She was still not sure if that had been a wise choice, and even now knew she was taking a chance in revealing herself to this stranger.
Thad looked shocked and suddenly guarded. “I have seen you in the scrolls.”
Plans for anything new?Right now I’m working on the sequel for Babel. It still has some development to do before it’s ready. I’ve also got some short stories, one is about a youth pastor that finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery. I’ve also got a young adult series I’m working on involving a college girl that solves mysteries and gets into all sorts of trouble while she’s doing it.
Do you have a favorite author or book that has impacted your life?I have read quite a few Janette Oke books, and I would say she impacted my decision to start writing. Her books are easy to read, about simple people, simple times, but engaging characters.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?I like to garden, make quilts, and of course read when I get a chance.
Where can readers buy your book and where can they learn more about you?My book is available on Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/35403 where it can be downloaded for Nook, Kindle, Palm Doc, as a PDF, LRF, RTF, Plain Text, or viewed as a webpage. It can also be bought directly through Amazon Kindle. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on my blog at http://schamblee.tumblr.com/