Thank you for asking me to hang out on your blog, Jenny. I look forward to spending some time with you and your readers.
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I love chocolate and steak and books, not necessarily in that order. Today, I picked up my first pair of glasses and am hoping they will add at least ten points to my IQ. But even if they don’t, at least I can see what I am writing now.
On a more serious note, I was born in a nominally Muslim family in Iran and lived there for the first fourteen years of my life. I survived English boarding school for girls before moving to the United States permanently. My conversion to Christianity in my mid-twenties changed the course of my life forever. I hold an MDIV from Yale University where I served for one year as co-Chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. I have spent the last thirteen years in full-time Christian work and currently serve as the leader of Women’s and Prayer ministries at a church in New England.
2. When you were a child did you have a favourite book or books?
I loved Daddy Long Legs and must have read it seven times. Uncle Tom’s cabin made me cry for hours, and I thought Tom Sawyer was a brat, even though I admired him. I also loved fairy tales, a feeling I have yet to outgrow.
3. Do you have a favourite Genre to both read and write?
I read everything from cottage mysteries to fantasy and science fiction. I think the quality of a book surpasses its genre. But I definitely gravitate most toward historical novels. I love ancient history, the middle ages, and regency, peppered with a bit of well-written romance.
4. Did you have favourite authors growing up who have influenced you?
To be honest, when I was younger I had not developed real discernment in my reading habits. I read like a sponge without true understanding. It wasn’t until I was more mature that I became a better reader, able to appreciate a writer’s craft. Some of my favorites (I’m going with the American spelling here – hope my Aussie friends forgive me) include Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Dorothy Sayers, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien. Among the contemporary Christian crowd, I find Athol Dickson and Steven James both highly gifted writers. And a good Francine Rivers novel always hits the spot.
5. When did you know you wanted to be an author?
By the time I was thirteen, I knew it. I just didn’t think it was possible. My parents were Mr. and Mrs. Practical. Being a writer just didn’t cut it in the real world.
6. How did you go about becoming an author?
I don’t mean to be annoying; I really mean this. I WROTE! I wrote until I finished my story. I stopped leaving projects half-finished, or coming up with excuses, or listening to the voices of discouragement in my head.
7. If you were not a writer what would you like to be?
Retired, so that I could write for fun.
8. Outside reading and writing what do you like to do?
Hang out with friends and family. Decimate desserts that contain whipped cream. Knit. Cook. Watch movies, especially BBC dramas. Sleep. Sleep while watching BBC dramas.
9. Do you have a place you love to visit or would love to visit?
I travelled a lot in my early life, which has turned me into a genuine homebody. No matter how glamorous or beautiful a destination I visit, the best part is always returning home. ( Jenny here Im the total opposite, I love traveling and don't want to go home.)
10. If you could have a meal with 3 living people who would you choose and why?
Laura Hillenbrand. She has suffered from debilitating illness for many years, and yet she manages to write convincingly about overcoming impossible odds. Jesus, because I just like hanging out with Him. And because there are still a few questions I would like to ask. I don’t think I would invite a third person. I think Laura and would prefer to monopolize Jesus.
11. Finally can you tell us about your current books and/or any that will be coming out soon and where we can find you on the web.
My debut novel was called Pearl in the Sand and it was based on the life of Rahab. I was amazed when I was voted the 2011 New Author of the Year in the Readers Choice Awards.
My next book, coming out in May, is a historical set in the time of the prophet Nehemiah. Harvest of Rubies is the fictional story of a brilliant young Jewish woman named Sarah who is more at home with scrolls and accounts than with people. The Queen of Persia, impressed by her talents, employs her as her Senior Scribe, the only woman in the Persian Empire to achieve such a position. Sarah is catapulted into the center of the Persian court, working too many hours, rubbing elbows with royalty, and solving intrigues for the Queen.
To her dismay, Sarah’s life falls apart as she is forced into marriage with the King’s cousin, Darius. Unintentionally, she offends him publicly on their wedding day; furious and humiliated, Darius abandons her in his palace. But instead of finding herself alone, Sarah learns the joys of true friendship. Discovering irregularities in the running of Darius’s estate, she and her friends face grave danger in order to solve the mystery that surrounds them.
Unannounced, Darius returns, and Sarah finds herself falling in love with a husband who despises her. In the midst of her sufferings, Sarah discovers that God is truly faithful, and that she has something of worth to offer beyond her ability with languages and sums. Sarah learns that her worth is not in her achievements, but in her very being.
Jenny, thank you so much for inviting me to hang out with you. It’s been an absolute pleasure. If you would like to visit me on my website, the address is http://www.tessaafshar.com/ or visit me on my Facebook author page where there is always some new discussion going on: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tessa-Afshar/337761827820?ref=ts (Jenny here Its my pleasure I enjoyed learning more about you along with my readers.)