Please help me welcome Biblical Fiction author Carol Ashby to my blog this week. Carol is sharing about her latest novel, Truth and Honor, and is offering an ebook copy as a giveaway.
Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post and leave your comment by May 9 for a chance to win!
Welcome, Carol! Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
I met my husband at college in Idaho when he came up from Texas to get his masters degree and his wife. We have a grown son and daughter. She and her husband have a new baby. We babysit while she’s working part time.
I know from experience time with the grandbaby is such a blessing. How and when did you start writing?
My first book was my thesis, and my job always involved a lot of technical writing. I never intended to write fiction. But I started writing my first novel the last Friday in September 2013, a few months before I retired.
What genre do you write and what inspired you to write that particular genre?
I write Roman-era Early Church fiction. ISIS was murdering Christians in the Middle East in 2013, and I’d been thinking about the amazing people who were willing to die for following Jesus. The plot for Blind Ambition came to me, and I started writing. It was the first story I wrote but the second one published. I learned from the ACFW Genesis contest that my omniscient narrator books would never get published, so I rewrote it as 3rd person limited to make it fit to publish in today’s market.
I love that your first Early Church novel was inspired by current events. Do you have any hobbies? Have you incorporated any of them into your books?
I enjoy watching birds and lizards, playing piano, reading, sewing and needle crafts, and trying out recipes I’ve never made before at potlucks. If they’re yummy, I find out quickly, and if they aren’t, no one had to eat more than one scoop. But only one hobby is part of my books. I love ancient history, so I go way deeper in my research than most authors would and delight in following rabbit trails.
Speaking of research, how do you go about it?
I like to use books and journal articles by academic authors who study Roman times. My WIP is my first set in Roman Egypt, so I was super excited to find a whole book called “Life in Egypt under Roman Rule.” I also write a Roman history website that I keep PG-13 or cleaner so teachers and students can use it. My husband built me four roll-around bookcases for my research collection. Confession of a bookaholic obsessed with historical accuracy: I have about 150 books now, so I need another bookcase.
I wish I enjoyed research like you do. I’m terrible at remembering details and dates. Tell us about your current novel’s setting.
I’m setting the next adventure in Roman Egypt in the late 120s. Alexandria on the coast and several locations up the Nile will be featured. I’m a bit obsessive about getting the details of each location and the culture historically accurate. Egypt had a lot of special rules because it was the personal property of the emperor, so I had the perfect reason to add more books to my library to keep it “real.”
That sounds interesting. How do you incorporate Christ and hope into your writing?
The stories are set in a time when Rome had declared Christianity illegal, so some of my characters know following Jesus might get them killed. But nonbelievers who get to know them wrestle with whether their faith is true, and if it is, should they also risk dying for the Truth.
I’m drawn to fiction that challenges my faith and helps me dig deeper into what I really believe. If you wrote in a different genre than your current one, which would you choose and why?
Suspense. My last three novels featured tribunes of the Urban Cohort, which was the police force in Rome and Roman Carthage. I had so much fun having them hunt some murderers and would-be assassins while trying to decide whether loyalty to Rome or accepting the truth was more important.
Seems like a logical choice. If you could only publish one book in your lifetime, which of your novels would you choose?
Based on feedback from readers who told me how the book made a difference to their faith, I’d pick The Legacy. It’s not my personal favorite of the twelve, but it might be serving God better than any other.
Wonderful! How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
I used to release two novels a year. The last one took almost a year to be ready. We babysit our granddaughter two days a week, so the 9-12 month schedule is likely to stay for a while. I’ll never reduce quality just to meet a too-tight schedule.
Yes, quality is better than quantity! What is a favorite quote from one of your books?
Here’s one that readers highlight in the Kindle version of Honor Bound. “If I buy you something and tell you which shop it’s at and what to do to get it, your failure to pick it up is the only thing that can keep you from enjoying my gift. That’s what Jesus did. He told us all we have to do is believe He paid the price, and His gifts of freedom from our sins and eternal life with Him are ours. But you have to decide you want that and make the first move to get it.” He took one more step and looked back over his shoulder. “He won’t make you take it, but I hope you do.”
You can’t go wrong sharing about God’s gift of salvation. Has a reader ever blessed your socks off? How?
One young man shared in a FB readers’ group that he’d decided to be baptized after reading several of my novels.
That’s a blessing for sure! I hope you publish many more life-changing books, Carol. Thanks so much for sharing on the blog today.
Want a chance to win Carol Ashby’s #BiblicalFiction novel, Truth and Honor? Comment on her interview on my blog by May 12! #giveaway #amreadingTweet
Join the conversation. Do you like reading Roman-era Biblical Fiction? Have you read any of Carol’s books? Which is your favorite? Do you have any questions or comments for Carol?
Be sure to comment below by May 9 for a chance to win an ebook of Truth and Honor. (Open internationally)
Truth and Honor by Carol Ashby
Click the book cover for purchase link
Is truth worth the price if it costs you everything?
For Tribune Glabrio, descended from three consuls of Rome and determined to be the fourth, commanding the troops policing Carthago appears ideal for hastening his political rise. Arriving from Rome with the secretly Christian Sartorus as his aide, Glabrio discovers the man he was to replace has vanished without a trace. Was the missing tribune too close to finding the counterfeiters Glabrio is now hunting? But no matter the cost, duty and honor require him to enforce Roman law.
Orphaned as a child and taken to live with her pagan grandfather, Martina met Jesus through her step-grandmother. Their faith was a well-kept secret, even from most of their family. With both grandparents now dead, her uncle helps Martina hide the faith he doesn’t share. But after a single dinner at her uncle’s, the new tribune is determined to get to know her. No matter what she does to discourage Glabrio, he won’t leave her alone. But if he discovers her faith, will it mean her death?
When Martina rescues Glabrio from the counterfeiter’s schemes, he learns the people who risked everything to save him share the faith that got his grandfather executed. Embracing that faith could cost him the future he planned on. As an officer of the empire, it’s his duty to reject it…but what if it’s true?
Dangerous times, difficult friendships, lives transformed by forgiveness and love
The Light in the Empire series of novels should delight lovers of Biblical fiction set in Roman times and lovers of ancient world historical fiction where world views collide.
Truth and Honor is the twelfth volume in the Light in the Empire series, which follows the interconnected lives of several Roman families during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian. Each can be read stand-alone. The novels of the series will take you around the Empire, from Germania and Britannia to Thracia, Dacia, Judaea, North Africa, and, of course, to Rome itself.
Carol Ashby has been a professional writer for most of her life, but her articles and books were about lasers and compound semiconductors (the electronics that make cell phones, laser pointers, and LED displays work). She still writes about light, but her Light in the Empire series tells stories of difficult friendships and life-changing decisions in dangerous times, where forgiveness and love open hearts to discover their own faith in Christ. Her fascination with the Roman Empire was born during her first middle-school Latin class. A research career in New Mexico inspires her to get every historical detail right so she can spin stories that make her readers feel like they’re living under the Caesars themselves.
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