Meet my great friend and writing buddy, Vanessa Morton. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have a chance to interview her here today and tell you all about her debut novel, Moonfall. Vanessa and I share a passion for re-imagining Bible stories. While I tend towards the fantasy/sci-fi spectrum, Vanessa loves to dig into history and archaeology to create a rich backdrop for her novels.
Pop open a soda, and join me in welcoming Vanessa and her wonderful new book.
Me: Hi, V! I’m so excited that you dropped by my blog today. First question: do you consider yourself a Christian author or author of Christian fiction? What do you think the difference is?
V: Hmm, could I choose an alternative? After attending a Messianic Jewish congregation for several years, I think of myself as “a believer” in Jesus the Messiah. I write to tell an interesting, relevant story and I hope that all readers like it.
Me: Where did you get the idea for your book? Who did you have in mind when you were writing it?
V: I am fascinated by the almost mystical nature of some ancient places and events. The city of Jericho, in particular, has taken on a legendary, larger-than-life quality, and I set out to determine what really happened there. Moonfall is the result of that research. My teen daughters read widely and voraciously, so I decided to write the story from a teen’s point of view and not water down the supernatural phenomena.
Me: I know you enjoy researching history and archaeology. What was the most interesting thing you discovered while researching for Moonfall?
V: Sky gods were highly revered in Moonfall’s realm, especially the moon god, whose appearance marked the arrival of cooler temperatures each evening. Celestial phenomena regulated even the most mundane activities, for example, digging up certain flowers was only done after sunset.
Me: Your path to publication has been an interesting one. Can you tell us about your experience with WEbook?
V: WEbook is a social network of writers who evaluate each other’s work. After a manuscript is highly rated in successive rounds of voting, WEbook management may offer the writer a traditional publishing contract, as they did to me. WEbook bears the cost of everything needed to take a manuscript to print and point of sale and they keep their authors well-informed at every step. Writers interested in networking and collaboration can check it out at http://www.webook.com.
Me: Did the average reader realize Moonfall is based on a Bible story?
V: Moonfall is firstly a YA adventure fantasy, based on a variety of historical sources, only one of which is the Bible. I’ve found that many teens are not familiar with Jericho or Bronze Age history in general.
Me: What are you working on now?
V: I am working on Book II of Tales from the Levant, in which one of Moonfall’s most intriguing characters will reappear in a completely new realm!
Me: And before you go, what is one thing you’d like your readers to know?
V: Teens in any era face some common issues and have similar concerns, for example: am I attractive; can I trust my friends or even my family; or why should I comply with rules that make no sense? Some feelings are hard-wired into our nature: jealousy, loyalty, and the longing to love and be loved. Then as now, the transition into adulthood is at times awkward, emotional, and downright exhilarating! Moonfall bridges the gap of culture and time to bring us all closer to each other.
And now for a sneak peek at Moonfall:
Rachav hurried back to the stand of palm trees that guarded the spring and followed a grassy path into the cool, green shade, weaving in and out of the tall, slender trunks to the clearing where Mother Jujube spread her protective branches over the water.
A giant stone, older than time, stood guard at the edge of the pool. The water gurgled gently, and tiny wavelets lapped at the edge of the stippled monolith.
A misshapen figure emerged from behind the jujube. Rachav’s thighs tightened and she sprang up, ready to bolt. Wild animals encroached on the waters occasionally.
The stooped figure straightened into an old woman leaning on her staff. Like a crow with a broken wing, she limped around the Mother Jujube tree. The bārû, village wise woman.
Rachav held the empty jug close. “Malkha, you startled me.”
The bārû cocked her head to the side. “You cannot hide.”
“I’m here to draw water for my mother.” A few days ago, she and Samar had laughed behind their hands when they saw the bārû hobbling across the village commons talking to herself. With no one else around, the old woman didn’t seem funny at all.
“He’ll find you, Rachav.” Malkha’s tone was expressionless, as if repeating a message to a stranger. “And then he’ll come for the rest of us.”
A skittish laugh caught in Rachav’s throat. “Who will find me?” The only thing that had found her lately was trouble.
Malkha’s pale gray eyes glimmered in the shadows. She braced her hand on Mother Jujube.
Unease made Rachav’s skin itch. “Malkha. Are you all right?”
“The Habiru comes.” Where the bārû’s hand rested on the tree, the fingers darkened and scaled, matching the bark.
Every inch of Rachav’s body tingled with the urge to run.
Bark covered the woman’s hand, encircled her wrist, and crept up her arm.
“Your hand. Look.” Rachav worked her mouth to form the words, but no sound came out.
A burst of wind whooshed between the palms, slamming into Rachav’s back. Against her will, she stumbled forward and knocked against the bārû, sending both of them to the ground. Dried palm fans dropped down like rain.
“Are you all right?” She shouted over the keening wind. Malkha didn’t respond. Dark clouds chased away the sun, and the oasis fell into shadow. Propelled by the storm, leaves and bits of earth pelted her on all sides. Every child knew that when the night gods blocked the light, they were angry. She thought about the Queen of the Night’s hard lapis eyes on the temple urn and wished she had never touched it.
Malkha gripped Rachav’s hand and whispered, “Habiru.” The wind died down. In the silent void, a misty vision formed: a view of Yericho from above, as if she were soaring with the bulbuls. The city’s massive walls heaved in, then out, like a giant’s labored breath. They heaved faster and faster and then toppled, exposing the city like a wet worm under river rock.
Excerpt used by permission.
Vanessa loves connecting with friends and readers on Facebook or Twitter (@VMorton). Readers can visit Moonfall’s cast of characters on Pinterest and learn more about the archaeology and history of Moonfall at Vanessa’s website.
We’re giving away an e-copy of Moonfall to one lucky individual. To be entered, simply comment below. For extra chances to win, check out our Rafflecopter giveaway (link below). Drawing on May 15th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway (<— psst. This is the rafflecopter link!)
Now, let us hear from you: If you could choose a Bible story to have turned in to a novel, which one would it be?