I’m really excited about this giveaway. Eva Etzioni-Halevy has graciously offered up a copy of her book, The Triumph of Deborah, for me to read/review and then to give to one of you lucky people! I’m more than halfway done now (it’s a holiday weekend, so I should lots of time for reading, yay!) and am enjoying it thoroughly. It’s one of those books that you can just get lost in and I love that.
So we could all learn something about Eva and The Triumph of Deborah, I asked the author a few questions and here are her answers:
V: What was it about Deborah that made you want to tell her story?
EEH: Deborah was the most eminent woman in the Hebrew Bible (The Old Testament.) She was a national leader and deeply adored by the people. But what is even more special about her is the intriguing tale the Scripture tells about her.
Deborah orders warrior Barak to launch a strike against the Canaanites, who threaten their people with destruction. His response is rather unusual: he demands that she accompany him to the battlefield. Over three thousand years ago–a woman in the battlefield?
I found this to be very strange and suggestive. I asked myself: why did he really want her there? Moreover, she ended up going with him to his hometown as well. Yet she was a married woman and a mother, and her husband did not accompany her.
I asked myself: what did her husband have to say to that excursion? What would any husband say if his wife went off to distant parts with another man, leaving him to do the babysitting? It makes good sense that this created marital problems between them. Would they be able to overcome those problems? And what transpired between Deborah and Barak when they were together with no husband in sight?
These were the aspects of Deborah’s story that I found most compelling. They prompted me to write the novel, which is a love story with a twisting and suspense-ridden plot, written first and foremost for reading pleasure.
V: What do you think women of today can learn from women of the Bible, and Deborah in particular?
EEH: The women of the Bible lived in a male-dominated society, in which they had few legal rights and their position in the family and society was far from equal to that of men.
At the same time they were strong personalities, who did not just sit around and bemoan their fate. Instead, they used their femininity to take destiny in their own hands and shape it to do their bidding.
Deborah is a prime example. Following the lead in the Book of JUDGES, my novel pays tribute to her feminine strength, from which women today may derive inspiration. Despite the difficult conditions for women prevailing at the time, she made it to the top over three thousand years ago, without losing her femininity.
What contemporary readers and particularly women can learn from biblical women, especially Deborah, is that no matter what the field in which they choose to realize their potential, no matter what is right for them, they can draw on their inner feminine strength to achieve their goals.
V: Are you worried that the sexual content in the book will ‘turn off’ those people looking for a Bible story?
EEH: This is an excellent question. Let me say, first, that to my mind the beauty of the Bible is that it describes real people with real strengths and weaknesses, some of which stem from their sexuality, and that the women, too, are described as sexual persons. Also, the Bible itself has quite a bit of sexual content in it.
So I believe that my novel is totally faithful to the spirit of the Bible. Despite having some sensuous scenes in it, it is a deeply religious book.
Some very orthodox persons, both Rabbis and ministers, have been most supportive of this and my other biblical novels.
It is true that some other religious people have taken exception to those scenes. Of course, it is not necessary for everyone to agree.
I would be most interested to learn what readers of this blog have to say about this, so please let me have your comments.
V: What was it like visiting the places where the events in your book actually took place?
EEH: I did not have to travel far, since I am so fortunate as to live “on location” so to speak, that is, in the Holy Land. I visited some locations of THE TRIUMPH OF DEBORAH twice, and this played an important part in inspiring me to write the book. In particular, it was an awesome experience to see the royal castle in which part of the story took place, still in existence, though in ruins!
V: What are you currently on that fans of your Women of the Bible series can look forward to?
EEH: I am now working on a novel about Tamar (the second Tamar in the Bible), the daughter of King David, who was the victim of incestuous rape by her brother. I want to show her trauma and how she rebuilt her life afterward, but I am still struggling with this and it is still far from publication.
Huge thanks to Eva Etzioni-Halevy for taking the time to answer my questions. I haven’t contacted an author for this reason before and she has been extremely kind and accommodating.
Now, without further ado, here are the details on the book giveaway. I have one (1) copy of The Triumph of Deborah to offer and there are several ways you can enter. The more ways you enter, the more chances you have at winning.
1. For one (1) entry, leave a comment with your email address here on my blog.
2. For one (1) additional entry, post about this giveaway on your blog and leave a link with your comment.
3. For two (2) more entries, get on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. #VSgiveaway
4. For three (3) more entries, follow me on Twitter! @FleurDeMar (Eva is there, too! @ehzioe )
5. Lastly, if someone leaves a comment saying they heard about this giveaway either on your blog or from you on Twitter, you will get an additional five (5) entries.
The contest will be open until August 31, the winner announced here on my blog and by email on September 1. Good luck, everyone!