Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Books & Writing -- Meet Mesu Andrews

Welcome, Mesu. 

I was privileged to join Mesu Andrews for two book signings last summer. She's a real sweetheart. I know you're going to love her. 

To win a copy of her newest release read to the bottom for details.

Mesu and her husband, Roy, enjoyed fourteen years of pastoral ministry before moving to the Pacific Northwest to pursue the next step in God’s calling. They have two married daughters and live in Washington, where Mesu writes full time. The Andrews’ have a Rottweiler-pitbull named Bouzer, who keeps Mesu company while she enjoys her fireplace and hot coffee on rainy Northwest days. She loves movies, waterfalls, and travel.

Biblical fiction is her favorite genre to read and write. Her first novel Love Amid the Ashes (Revell) won the 2012 ECPA Book of the Year in the Debut Author Category. Love's Sacred Song (Revell) the Song of Solomon story, is available now and received a 4 1/2 star rating from RT Reviews. And Love in a Broken Vessel (Revell), the story of Hosea and Gomer, releases in March 2013. The Shadow of Jezebel is scheduled for release in March 2014. 

Mesu, as a teen you rejected Christianity. Can you tell us how you found your way back to Christ?

Though I grew up in a Christian household, my parents and grandparents were extremely diverse in their  theological convictions, so God was not my favorite topic. I turned my back on religion and gave my heart to success, friends, and Jack Daniels (whiskey). but very few people knew about the drinking.

During my sophomore year of college, a five-year romance ended and I felt my life was over. Some folks have asked about the dedication in Love in a Broken Vessel because I mention my "forever best friend" who saved my life and gave me the opportunity to meet Jesus. Joni was there the night of the break-up and somehow knew what I intended. She refused to leave me for two days and set up a double-date a week later--her with her fiance and me with a mutual high school friend of ours. That high school friend had gone to Texas and gotten "religion", but I told her I wasn't worried. I'd handled "religion" all my life . . . but Roy was different,. He talked about Jesus like they were close friends. Two months later, my soon-to-be  husband led me to a vibrant, living relationship with Jesus Christ.

I've come to recognize that my family  truly loved (and still loves) Jesus. The arguments I saw as hypocritical or embittered came from their passionate belief of God's Truth seen through differing opinions. It still makes my toes itch when folks argue doctrine. *grin* However, I now realize their arguments can, and often do, come from a sincere desire for another person's good.

Your journey was long and painful, but what 
freedom and wisdom you gained. 
And I've met Roy--He's awesome! 

You have three novels in print, all biblical  fiction. Launching a career in this genre would be intimidating to most writers. The research alone would be daunting. And in this market, it's not an easy sell to publishers. Why biblical fiction?

    Actually, I had no choice! Ha! The truth is, I never intended to be a writer. I fell in love with God's Word because it's where I met Jesus. I began teaching Bible studies and then traveling to teach at conferences and women's retreats. By 2001, I was teaching three adult classes at our home church and traveled an average of two to four times a month for larger events. In July of 2002, my body decided it had had enough, and I spent six months in bed without any medical explanation. Blood levels were screwy and my strength was nil. After a year, I had regained some strength but not enough to resume speaking. God's Word was burning a hole in me. Writing became my voice.

I don't write to tell a nice story. Hopefully, it's enjoyable and intriguing and gripping--but it must mean something. When readers turn those final pages, I hope they run directly to their Bibles. I hope they can't wait to see what God's Truth says about the novel they just read.

I'm often asked, "What's true and what's fiction?" I love that, and I try to give you some of the answers in the Author's Note of each book. But my real desire is that the reader will read God's Word to discover it for herself.

I've heard others say "I had no choice". I love how God's 
plan gets worked out in spite of us. 

  Your life is full--wife, mother, new grandmother, writer . . . How do you find balance? What is your greatest challenge? 

   Bonnie, you know as well as anyone the struggle with chronic pain. My health remains my greatest challenge to balance all the blessings of life. After the initial health "crash" of 2002, other symptoms continued to emerge, resulting in a two-week visit to the Mayo Clinic in 2003. They confirmed no life-threatening illnesses, but diagnosed several chronic issues (fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, P.O.T.S., chronic migraine). In 2005 other symptoms ebbed and migraines began their daily attack. By early 2007, we found a combination of medications that allow me to function, though I'm limited on how much activity I schedule. I try not to plan a lot of evening activities since the migraines are most severe when I'm tired.

   How do I find balance? My husband is a huge help. I've just completed the rough draft of book #4 and we're still working out my schedule. I can edit existing story almost anywhere, anytime, but to write new storyline, I must have long, uninterrupted periods of time--hard to find these days. Roy has helped me organize my week into sections. He's Mr. Organized, and I' Miss Seat-Of-The-Pants. Not good, when I've got deadlines, kids, grandkids, etc. I'm learning (finally, still, again, continually) that I can't do everything I WANT to. I can't even do everything that's a great idea! Some of those great ideas will have to be left for someone else.

You have a brand new book, Love in a Broken Vessel, that has just been released. Can you tell us about it and where readers can purchase it?

    I know I'm supposed to say this, but I really mean it . . . I'm REALLY excited about this book!!!! Love in a Broken Vessel was the best and worst writing experience of my life! I was so excited to tackle  the story of Hosea and Gomer because my very favorite Christian novel is Francine River's Redeeming Love, and I couldn't wait to do the biblical story of this love story! Oh my . . . I had no idea how hard this would be. The first law of good fiction isx that the story must be believable. Impossible! How did Francine create a believable story in which a man REPEATEDLY forgave his adulteress wife? And more importantly, how could I do  it?

I cried and moped around for a few days, ready to call my editor and tell her I'd bitten off more than I could chew--when my critique partner gave me the hard talk. "If you thought you were the one writing this book, you should never have accepted the contract in the first place." (You gotta love friends like that!) She reminded me that I was telling the biblical story. It was TRUTH. Whether it was believable or not was irrelevant--considering most of God's Word is miraculous anyway, what was the big deal? "Let God work." That became my hope, my prayer, and one of my two editors said this was her favorite book so far--so I think the Lord answered!

Deserted by those who love her and betrayed by the gods she once worshiped, Gomer lives a bitter existence . . . until one day her childhood friend reappears--Hosea. But is it too late for Gomer? Is her heart too broken to capture even a drop of love? While unfaithful Israel breaks God's heart, Gomer's broken spirit tests Hosea's faith. Can the two find faith in Yahweh's power to love?

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/embed/nI5Cav_ApPI?rel=0

(Wow! I love this book trailer, Mesu. Fabulous!)

  What are you working on now?

   We just got titling confirmed on book #4--The Shadow of Jezebel, which is scheduled for March 1, 2014 release with Revell. Here's a little bit about it:

   Princess Jehosheba (Sheba) wants nothing more than to please her Baal-worshiping abba, Judah's King, and his first wife Queen Atalyah, the daughter of notorious Queen Jezebel. But when a mysterious letter from the dead prophet Elijah predicts doom for the king's household, Sheba realizes her dark skills as Baal's priestess reach beyond the world of earthly governments. When both light and darkness align, forcing her to marry Yahweh's high priest, Sheba enters the unknown world of Yahweh's Temple. Her husband shows her Yahweh's truth and a love beyond hope, but can Sheba overcome Jezebel's lingering torment? Can Yahweh use a fallen priestess to shine the unquenchable light of His love to faithless Judah? 
The Shadow of Jezebel--Meet the woman who saved
 a king delivered a nation, and preserved the Light of the World.

Sounds amazing!

  Is there anything more you'd like to share with your readers?

·         Please stop by my website and say hello! http://www.mesuandrews.com/
·         Or visit me on Facebook: Mesu Andrews
·         Twitter: MesuAndrews
·         Pinterest: MesuAndrews
·         Blog posts on Fridays (inside scoop on characters, plots, and new releases!): http://www.mesuandrews.com/blog/

Thanks so much, Bonnie, for giving me the chance to chat with your readers! I’ve got a question for them:  Who is your favorite Old Testament character and why?

Contact Information:
§  Website: www.MesuAndrews.com
§  E-mail: Mesu@MesuAndrews.com
§  Mailing Address: P.O. Box 873243, Vancouver, WA 98687

Information for Love In a Broken Vessel:

Thank you Mesu for joining us on Books & Writing. You are a beautiful example of what it means to be a lover of God's Word and a follower of Christ. Bless you.

(I will be drawing for the winner one week from today)


  1. Anonymous7:37 AM

    Heartwarming interview and I will definitely be adding her books to my reading list. I woud love to win a copy of this book. Thanks for the opportunity.

    Praying God's blessings on you today Bonnie.

    Ann Ellison

  2. Fascinating intervew. Mesu is one of my favorite people. You'd never know her physical struggles from her constant cheerful and loving personality. Thanks for sharing this interview, Bonnie!

  3. Anonymous8:31 AM

    Love Amidst the ashes was awesome awesome, would love to have the opportunity to win Ms Andrews book.

  4. Mesu's books have encouraged me to dig more into God's Word and I would LOVE to read her new one, Broken Vessel! :)

    my email: draddogt@gmail.com

    Chosen by Him,


  5. Anonymous9:31 AM

    Great interview! I love your critique partner's reply to you when you felt you bitten more then you could chew involving writing the book! My friend has your book and is loving it!


  6. Hi y'all!
    Thanks to Bonnie for hosting me today! I'll be checking in from time to time today...so if anyone has questions, please feel free to ask! Honored to be added to your list Ann! Thanks to "Anonymous" for the encouragement on Love Amid the Ashes, and to Trisha for your kind words. Ann Shorey, you're one of my favorite people, too! Love you, dear one!

  7. Such a lovely interview. Thank you so much for sharing.
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  8. I can't wait to read this!
    lotsofbooks1 (at) live (dot) com

  9. Yes, Laura, I have an extremely wise crit. partner--it's handy when she's also your best friend! ;)

    Thanks for stopping by, Amy C and "Bookishqueen"--Blessings on your day!

  10. Cheryl V.7:42 PM

    Thank you for your insight and interview with Mesu. Love Amid the Ashes touched me deeply as I was in the middle of a really tough season with my two daugthers' health problems. Job's story became more alive to me and helped me realize God can handle our toughest emotions when life throws us curve balls. Looking foward to reading Mesu's most recent book. Keep writing!!

    Cheryl V.

  11. So glad my first book ministered to your needs, Cheryl V. Isn't God amazing the way He directs our paths? I love that! Blessings on ya!

  12. I really love biblical fiction that focuses on women. We get so little recognition in the bible stories; it's nice to be able to read the stories through their eyes.

  13. Beckie has hit the nail on the head! That's part of what makes today's biblical fiction unique--much of it is told from the woman's perspective, and it creates new twists to familiar stories because we experience the Truth through new eyes. Good point, lady! Thanks for the comment!

  14. Looking forward to reading! I am always inspired, challenged and encouraged by your writing!!


  15. Thanks for stopping by, Nanette! Blessings on ya! ;)

  16. I'm reading Love in a Broken Vessel now, and finding it so absorbing and gripping. It's keeping me up far too late at night!

  17. Anonymous4:00 PM

    I'll have to look up your works at the Library. Great find, and I'm excited to start reading. Thanks Bonnie for networking with other great authors.

  18. It's a privilege, anonymous.

    I'm really loving the words and wisdom from other authors. Each time I begin working on the Books & Writing blog I get excited about what I'm going to discover.

  19. I am so trying to win this. The more I read about her book I want to read and review it. So this is my third place to enter to win.
    jrs362 at hotmail dot com

  20. Hi Anonymous and squiresj! Definitely check out your library if you don't win the book. I've recently done a marketing blitz to libraries, but if they don't have one of my books, you can always request!

    Blessings, and thanks so much for stopping by Bonnie's blog. Isn't she a doll!?!

  21. Anonymous8:37 PM

    Thanks Mesu for your take on the lives of these women. And thank you Bonnie for having her here. I would love to win her book. Please enter me in your drawing. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  22. Hi Maxie! Isn't it amazing to ponder these Bible-women's lives? Thanks for stopping by!