What’s stopping the entire reading population of the world—those of all religions, denominations, believers and unbelievers alike—from getting baptized into the waters of Biblical Fiction? After all, you don’t have to be a young adult to enjoy YA novels. And just because you read vampires novels, doesn’t mean you must believe in vampires or be one.
Biblical Fiction, a sub-genre to Historical Fiction, is a growing genre in today’s book market. But unlike vampire novels, the content (at least the Biblical content) is accepted as fact, given the knowledge of the history of the Middle East and the backing of archaeological finds.
And what’s not to like about fiction based on an all-time bestseller, written by forty different writers, over a period of 1,500 years?
Where else, but through the pages of Biblical Fiction, can readers walk in the sandals of those of 1000 B.C.?
The Bible contains history, poetry, prophecy, philosophy, adventure, travel, theology, and romance. Captivating themes for any writer. Biblical Fiction entices readers with its exotic settings, intriguing characters, and fascinating plot lines lifted from the pages of Scripture. Readers enter into ancient worlds of kings and castles, priests and prostitutes, wars and warriors, and oh so much more. No wonder writers, weary of wandering in the wilderness of varied genres, step into the promised land of Biblical Fiction.
Rachelle Ayala, author of MICHAL’S WINDOW began writing Biblical Fiction after becoming interested in Michal, the covenant wife of King David.
“I’ve always felt sorry for Michal,” Ayala said. “When I first heard of her in a sermon, she was portrayed as a lying hero worshipper that David was lucky to escape from. Other pastors used her for an object lesson on unsubmissive wives. Indeed, one pastor said Michal was not barren, only David wanted nothing to do with her. I realized Michal not only saved David’s life, but had a hand at preserving the line towards Christ. Yet she suffered personally for her heroism, betraying her father, King Saul, only to lose David to the wilderness and other women.”
Ayala says the Bible doesn’t give us many glimpses into Michal’s life. ”When we next see her, she had been remarried to another man, one who apparently loved her dearly,” Ayala said. “The image of Phalti, her second husband, following her weeping when David sends for her, grabbed my heart and never let go.”
Ayala said, “While studying the Bible along with Matthew Henry’s commentary, three words, ‘Eglah David’s wife’ popped from the page. Was this a secret message from David that Michal was indeed beloved? That he really did care about her, but was prohibited from expressing it because of her disgrace in 2nd Samuel Chapter 6?”
With large stretches in Michal’s life not mentioned in Scripture, Ayala said she let her imagination run wild on what an exuberant woman like Michal would have done, or would have liked to have done.
“I was free to imagine friendships and adventures as long as I got her back in time for the few verses she appeared in,” Ayala said.
Ayala admits that writing Biblical fiction comes with challenges and criticisms. How far can a writer deviate where Scripture is silent? Readers, passionate about the Bible, may disagree with the author’s interpretation of a well-known and beloved story.
In MICHAL’S WINDOW, Ayala decided to present plausible storylines to fill in the gaps of Scripture, but says she kept as close to the Bible story as possible. She invented subplots and imaginary characters to increase tension and keep the reader engaged.
Ayala says David was her most challenging character. ”He is a man lionized and admired worldwide, yet with human flaws. I wondered if I should write David, the Bible character or David, the man.”
After praying about it, Ayala said she fashioned a passionate David who was deeply conflicted, exhibiting both heroism and human weaknesses, while keeping him true to his faith and abiding love for God.
So before anyone (reader or writer) dismisses Biblical Fiction as novels portraying saintly characters meant only for the libraries of zealous Christians, think again. Today’s Biblical Fiction, not your grandmother’s Biblical Fiction, is for every reader.
*In Part II of this blog topic, I’ll offer a full review of Rachelle Ayala’s, MICHAL’S WINDOW along with five questions for the author. Come back or follow this blog to get next week’s full scoop on Michal’s Window, Ayala’s intriguing work of Biblical Fiction.
**Leave a comment for a chance to win “Michal’s Window” and a $5.00 Amazon Giftcard, courtesy of Rachelle Ayala