Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Susan Dayley: Author Interview and Book Giveaway

It's been awhile since I've had a new author interview and giveaway to share with you. Today, Susan Dayley has kindly consented to talk to us about her novel, Redemption, based on the Biblical story of Jonah, followed by...yes!...a giveaway for a gently used copy of the same title. (USA ENTRIES ONLY)

JDP: Welcome to JDP NEWS, Susan. Please tell us a little about Redemption.

Susan: Redemption is the story of Jonah from his early beginnings as a lad in Zarephath to his tutoring with Elisha and finally his call to go to Nineveh. The story takes the reader into the cargo hold of the ship of Tarshish, along the caravan routes across the desert, and through the massive gates of Nineveh.

JDP: Redemption is set in ancient Mesopotamia, in approximately 785 BC. What did you find most fascinating about this time period?

Susan: How long it took to get anywhere. There is a reason the known world was so small then. Also I admired the freedom of trade and travel where men accepted the risks—storms, bandits, marauding armies—for the profit and ability to be their own master. I was intrigued with the architecture and literature. Records of battles became palace artwork and scribes held positions of honor at court.

JDP: I’m always interested in how authors research their historical novels. I know you address this subject in an endnote to your novel, but for those who have not yet read Redemption, could you tell us a little about how you researched your novel's historical background?

Susan: A few years ago, I taught at American Heritage School of Spanish Fork. The first three years I taught Kindergarten and among the lullabies, Aesop's Fables, Little House in the Big Woods, and others, the curriculum included the story of Jonah from the Bible. To teach background and setting, I researched at the time from the school library, online sources, and my own collection of history books that have long since been donated to the school. I did not record sources then because, after all, they were kindergarteners. We focused on writing captions under pictures like: "Jonah repented and chose to obey."

When I gathered my notes together to write a book I expanded what I had. My favorite sources came from archeological digs, particularly the published works of Sir Austen Henry Layard. I also became intrigued with Jewish sites and still receive a weekly Jewish Newsletter. (No cravings for Matzo ball soup yet though.) A couple of my details such as: Jonah being the son of the widow of Zarephath and Jonah being ordained a prophet by Elisha come from the Mishnah.

JDP: Can you share with us your top three favorite research books or other resources?

Susan: In addition to the above, The Bible. (I’m a believer in original sources. :-) )

JDP: Are there any historical figures from the era of Redemption who particularly intrigue you? (Aside from Jonah, of course. ;-) ) 

Susan: Elisha and Elijah. Though mostly I focused on Jonah.

JDP: What inspired you to write Redemption?

Susan: The book of Jonah was part of the literature curriculum at the private school where I taught. Part of that included researching background and setting. While studying about Ships of Tarshish, the ancient Assyrian Empire, and the vast city of Nineveh, I realized that Jonah was more than another “big fish story” or a story only for children. I also loved the poetry of chapter 2 (book of Jonah in the Bible). Sooner or later, heroes all go through the “belly of the fish.”

JDP: Are you working on any new projects?

Susan: I am (hopefully) in my final rewrite of the story of King Hezekiah. Talk about epic! I had no idea what I was getting into. He is definitely one of my favorite historical people now. Like Jonah, Hezekiah becomes a man who changes a piece of the world he lives in.

JDP: I love the story of Hezekiah in the Bible. I'll be looking forward to that! Thank you so much for joining us today, Susan.

You can purchase copies of Redemption through Susan's website and blog, or click on the Amazon link at the end of this post.

Okay, now for the giveaway! If you would like to win my gently used copy of Redemption: the Story of Jonah, do one, two, or all three of the following. Each counts as a separate entry, so please do NOT combine your answers into one email, or you will only be counted once.

(1) Leave a comment on this blog, then email your NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS to jdipastena@yahoo.com and type "#1: Boy, that was a big fish!" into the subject line.

(2) Visit Susan Dayley's blog, click on the About Susan tab, find her favorite sweet treat (in her bio, not a blog post), and email the answer WITH YOUR NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS to jdipastena@yahoo.com. Type "#2: Yum!" into the subject line.

(3) Visit Susan Dayley's website, click on the Books tab, read the summary of Susan's upcoming book, Yesterday's King, and tell me the name of King Hezekiah's father. Email the answer WITH YOUR NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS to jdipastena@yahoo.com. Type: "#3: I love Bible stories!" into the subject line.

Deadline for entries is November 9, midnight PST. The winner will be announced here at JDP NEWS on November 10.


traveler said...

I am very interested in this captivating story. Thanks for this fascinating post. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Inspired Kathy said...

Thanks for the giveaway.

Andrea I said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I've always been interested in the story of Jonah.


❤Stephanie! said...

Redemption: the Story of Jonah sounds soo good. I would love to read it! :)


Judy said...

I have enjoyed the interview!! Your story looks very interesting.
Thanks for the giveaway!!

flsongbyrd said...

Book sounds terrific. Can't wait to read it. We were just discussing Jonah in our Sunday School class 2 weeks ago.

Rachel Rager said...

Great interview, Joyce!!! It sounds like an interesting book! Good luck to Susan in her endeavors! :)

Cathy W said...

Thanks for the giveaway.

Donna Hatch said...

Sounds like a great book. Good luck.

JoAnn Arnold said...

Enjoyed the interview. Would certainly enjoy reading this story of Jonah.

kbrebes said...

Sounds fascinating!

Donna Hatch said...

What a great idea to write a story about Jonah! It sounds great!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have an awesome read for us fans.This IS a must read for me!!!Great Interview as always.Thanks for the giveaway!!!

Laura H. said...

Thanks for the giveaway! E-mailed you with "#1: Boy, that was a big fish!" in the subject line.