As In the Days of Noah. A book, Biblical Fiction, worth checking out!
Bathsheba, Bible, Biblical Fiction, Blog, Family Saga, Historical Romance, Holly Michael, King David, King Saul, Literary Fiction, Michal, Michal's Window, Rachelle Ayala, Samuel, www.writingstraight.com
TITLE: MICHAL’S WINDOW
AUTHOR: Rachelle Ayala
GENRE: Historical Romance, Family Saga, Literary Fiction
She lost it all in one agonizing moment…
Princess Michal is used to getting everything she wants, and she has her heart set on the young hero David. But their passionate love affair is destroyed by her father’s murderous rage. Will David’s departing promises be enough?
David the King is no longer the charming harpist she gave her heart to. The most powerful man in Israel, he falls into the arms of the beautiful Bathsheba.
Temptation comes in the form of a dashing Philistine warrior. Michal vows to be the only woman in David’s heart, but does she know her own?
(Left: Rachelle Ayala)
Holly Michael’s Thoughts on Michal’s Window: Sitting on my deck, with a warm spring breeze chasing crinkly winter leaves across the yard, and birds chirping from new nests, I got time-warped into an ancient world where a vivacious princess falls in love watching a shepherd boy strum his harp for her father, a king plagued by demons.
In Michal’s Window, Rachel Ayala delivers an eye-widening, you-can’t-pry-my-Kindle-from-my-hands, novel. From my deck, to stirring a pot over the kitchen stove, to under-the-covers with a book light, I got lost in Michal and David’s world.
And for those who snub Biblical fiction as, “boring, preachy stuff,” I snicker, even snort unabashedly. You readers are missing out on something way cooler than vampires. Vampire novels are your grandma’s reading material. Sissy stuff. Yeah, yeah. Vampires suck blood. Big deal. David slays two-hundred Philistine warriors and collects their foreskins for Michal’s dowry. What princess wouldn’t go gaga over a man willing to do that, especially when her father, King Saul, only asked for one hundred foreskins?
As fast as fluff from an angora sweater clings onto black wool pants, I became attached to the historic and Biblical, Michal and David, and to the other captivating characters in Michal’s Window.
Michal, the heroine, marries David and becomes trapped in a family feud. If born a boy, Michal could have been heir to the throne, but as a girl she’s a political pawn in a position of determining the future of Israel. Before the young couple can settle into married life, jealous King Saul wants his new son-in-law dead. Michal risks her father’s wrath by helping David escape out a window to ensure his survival and God’s plan for him to become king.
1 Samuel 18:20 says that Michal loved David, the only place in the Bible where a woman’s love for a man is recorded. Ayala delves deeper into this love story in well-written, steamy scenes and nail-biting situations where love is proved, rejected, taken back, but never really lost.
King Saul attempts to block David’s claim to the throne by giving Michal to Phalti, another man. With a price on her head, Michal escapes to search out David, but is later forced to return to her kind caretaker. With politics, ambition, and the throne involved, beautiful Michal, the target of more than one man’s desire, wonders if David still loves her through the long separations, desperate times, and his marriages to other women.
After Saul dies, David reclaims Michal as his wife and queen. Happy ending? Hardly. Ayala sprinkles her own heart-wrenching details in the Biblical scene where a grief-stricken Phalti weeps as Michal is taken away.
“Sister Wives meets The Kardashians,” could not match the drama at the castle when Michal returns as queen. She must deal with jealous wives, her worries about being used as a pawn to reunite Israel, and her desire to be loved wholeheartedly.
So how does Michal cope? How does she deal with watching her husband, the King, dance half-naked, whirling in ecstasy, in front of the Ark of The Covenant as the procession makes its way toward the palace? And what about the Biblical Bathsheba, the sultry bather, whom King David’s roaming eyes rest upon?
Michal is brave, strong, intelligent, persistent and in a most human way, sometimes weak, as she slips into doing the unthinkable, yet we love her and charming David (a man after the heart of God) through it all.
The Bible gives us some information about these characters and their lives, and Rachelle Ayala fills in the details with her imagination in a delightful, engaging, and totally thrilling read from the beginning through to a satisfying ending.
Move over vampires. Using deep point of view, beautiful prose, and vivid ancient settings Ayala brings on the excitement and makes this Biblical tale come to life in a present-day, real life, oh-I-can-so-relate, way. Great Book!
Five Author Questions to Rachelle Ayala
Holly Q1. What were some of the challenges in writing Michal’s Window?
Rachelle A1. Truth is found only in the Bible, never in fiction. However if I only rehashed the story as found in 1st and 2nd Samuel, my story would have been dry and factual, filling in some dialogue and action between the Bible verses, and perhaps providing a bit of historical interest. The challenge is to present a cast of characters with deep emotions, conflicting motivations, and also show the human side of a man named David, a man lionized and admired worldwide, yet keep him true to his faith and his deep abiding love for God.
Holly Q2. Why did you include additional storylines not found in the Bible?
Rachelle A2. Michal’s Window is fiction and not intended to change events as they happened. I wove additional characters and elements around the Biblical events to add richness and diversity. The land of Israel 3000 years ago was not a homogeneous land occupied only by Israelites. Many nations of people lived in Canaan, an area smaller than the Los Angeles area. These people fought, mingled, did business and made love. David’s most loyal palace guards were Philistines: Pelethites and Cherethites. He also included Ammonites and Hittites among his elite warriors. A favorite character is a priestess of the goddess Asherah who befriends Michal during her separation from David. Another one is a Philistine warrior who becomes Michal’s friend and David’s loyal servant. With large stretches in Michal’s life not mentioned in the Scripture, I could let my imagination run wild on what a passionate, exuberant woman like Michal would have done, or would have liked to have done.
Holly Q3. How did you deal with sex in a Biblical story?
Rachelle A3. Sex is a part of human life and an important way for people to bond. Early on, I decided to self publish so I could tell the entire story in a way to make the 21st century reader empathize and identify with my characters. I sacrificed historical accuracy. Michal was a lot more aggressive and flirtacious than a girl in her time and place would have been. I also chose to portray some of the sensuality, although not explicitly, to provide the backdrop for their deep emotional attachment. My Bathsheba seduction scene was perhaps a bit risque, but it danced around temptation until both parties succumbed.
Holly Q4: Is there a message in your book?
Rachelle A4. Yes, that God’s love is everlasting and there is nothing you can do to lose it. Michal portrays the nation of Israel. As such she does things in the story that parallel Israel’s history from Abraham’s calling to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ when he gathers Israel to Himself.
Holly Q5. Any advice you have for other writers starting out?
Rachelle A5. Write your passion and don’t look over your shoulder. Study the craft: plot, structure, grammar and point of view. Seek feedback, but own your writing and do not let others dictate. Write from your heart and be convinced of your story. Have it professionally edited. And most importantly, enjoy what you’re doing and have fun!
Rachelle Ayala is currently working on a romantic suspense involving software engineers, bad driving, and backslidden Christians named ‘Broken Build’.
**The winner, poster to my last blog on Biblical Fiction, was Gail Johnson. Please email me to claim: “Michal’s Window” and a $5.00 Amazon Giftcard, courtesy of Rachelle Ayala
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