Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Author of the Month: Exclusive Interview With Eva!

Eva Marie Everson is one of my favorite authors--and NOT just because she likes me! But it IS cool when an author becomes a dear friend:-) Eva co-wrote The Potluck Club novels with author and friend Linda Evans Shepherd. Their recent release is "The Secret's In The Sauce", released by Revell.

But, TODAY, I'm here to share a very special email interview about a book project close to Eva's heart and close to mine as well. Her gorgeous project, "Reflections On God's Holy Land" came into my life and I found myself rejoicing and weeping as I read through it's pages.


So, naturally, I HAD to chat with her! Make sure you read every drop, 'cause there's a prize in the box--I mean, interview!!

Here's what I discovered from this amazing and God-hearted woman:

1) How did your trip to Israel come about?

In 2002 I was invited as a Christian journalist (along with five others) to come to the Holy Land for a 10 day press tour. While I was initially unsure as to whether or not I wanted to go (I'd been in NYC on 9/11) my husband insisted that I go. "You've wanted to see Israel your whole life," he told me. He knew I was concerned about the news from Israel, about bombs going off on every corner. So he added, "If it's your time time to go, it's your time to go. Doesn't matter if you are in Israel or Orlando."

So I went.

2) You share in the book about "falling into the Bible". Can you tell that story to my readers?

Like most tours, ours went to biblical sites or the remnants thereof. A few days into the tour we were taken to the ruins of Hazor (Tel Hazor), the only northern city burned to the ground by Joshua during the conquest of the Promised Land, somewhere around 1400 BC. We stood in an open field with the park’s director, Mr. Hsein el Heib, who spoke in broken English and mostly Hebrew as Miriam interpreted for him.
“We have found something intere sting,” Mr el Heib said. “We don’t allow everyone to see it, but I would like for you to see it. Would you like to go and see?” There would be some difficult climbing down and up again, however. Three of us—along with Dana and Miriam—volunteered to go. After descending several centuries to the bottom level of the tel, we approached a wall covered by blue tarp.
Mr. el Heib pulled back the tarp with his tanned hands. We saw the old stone wall with something dark weaving through it. "This could be," Mr. el Heib said, "the soot from Joshua's fire." We could, he said, touch it. The two other journalists went first. Then it was my turn. I felt a bit lightheaded, I admit. After all, as an Old Testament theology teacher, I taught about Joshua’s bravery and the destruction of Hazor. But, this was not mere words about a fire. This was the evidence of it.

I placed my hand on a low bolder to secure myself, then reached my hand toward the wall. Dana aimed her camera as Mr. el Heib leaned toward me. “You are touching the Bible,” he whispered in my ear, in as clear English as I9ve ever heard.

At that moment, I fell. To this day, I don't know how I could have fallen, but fall I did.

“Eva falls into the Bible,” Dana quipped.

Mr. el Heib helped me up and I dusted myself off. Moments later, I touched the Bible, truly touched the Bible, for the first time in my life. That night I wrote in my journal: Today I fell into the Bible. Literally. And in love with God all over again.

You see, I discovered in that moment of falling that if Joshua’s fire was such that it left its sooty remains after all these thousands of years, I wanted to know that the Holy Spirit’s fire w as so strong within me, were my bones to be discovered thousands of years from now, the evidence of His dwelling within me would remain.

3) What sparked the idea for the book?

During the ten-day tour, Miriam and I became closer and closer. Her knowledge about the Land of the Bible excited me. Connected with me. I remember walking along the Old City wall in Jerusalem and listening as Miriam talked. Suddenly an idea struck me to write a book about the sites, have Miriam write the historical, traditional, biblical information and then--taking my notes--have a section about how the Spirit of God speaks to your heart while in Israel.

4) How much of the "Reflections" writings come from your journals?

Most of it. I took my journal with me to every site on this second trip. Sometimes I would sit at the site and journal. Sometimes, when we got back in the car, I would journal. Other times I would sit in my room (one of Miriam's guest rooms at her home in Har Adar), at night and journal. There were times when my journal reflections were like this: cool breeze, wind in hair, yellow leaf in water.

Other times it was, almost verbatim, what you read in the book.

5) What is the one overall purpose behind the creation of "Reflections of God's Holy Land"?

To draw others to the heartbeat of God, whether they actually go to the Holy Land or simply read and dream about it. God has been speaking to His children for ... well, forever. He speaks through history, through the here and now, and through His Word. It's all right there, in Israel.

6) I noticed that in the title you call it "God's Holy Land" rather than "The Holy Land". Why is that?

Because that's what the titling committee named it. :)

But I certainly agree! This is God's inheritance! He said so Himself in His Word. In Deuteronomy we read: The Lord your God has given you this land to take possession of it ... But as for you, the Lord took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are.

It was God's land to give. It is His holy land.

7) Any travel plans back to Israel?

Oh, yes! Hopefully the first of next year. (NOTE TO SELF: Hide in Eva's largest piece of luggage--and have passport handy:-)

8) What's one memory, other than falling into the Bible, that sticks with you most vividly?

Ohmygoodness! I have so many!! Why do I have to choose just one? Can I give you two? I will give you two.

One: climbing the steep trail at Ein Gedi, heading toward Upper Wadi David. I thought of the fugitive David, running from Saul, being right where I was walking. I thought of the "mountain goats" (Ein Gedi means: Spring of the Kid (Goat)) that ran along the cliffs next to us. I started to hum the tune to "As the Deer" and then, after a few notes, began to sing it. (Very, very quietly.) Then I heard Miriam singing it beside me. I didn't look at her. She didn't look at me. We just kept climbing higher. Later that evening I read to Miriam from my journal in which I mentioned our singing together (that part didn't make it to the book). She said, "I didn't know you could hear me!" Then I told her I wondered how it was she knew that song (because she is Jewish). As soon as the words came out, I said, "Oh, yeah! That's from the Psalms!" And we laughed.

Another BIG moment I had was watching (and photographing) a Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. I have never felt so much joy in one place in my life! I was literally laughing out loud. There was a young Jewish man dancing who, I told Miriam, looked "like Jesus." (Insert laughter here) I saw "Jesus" dancing at the Western Wall.

9) Share with my readers some of your other writing projects. Anything new we can look forward to?

On the fiction front, my fourth Potluck Club novel has just been released. A novel, Things Left Unspoken, will be released in June. And, I'm working on the final Potluck as well as a stand alone novel (working title), This Fine Life. I also have hopes for more Holy Land projects. Stay tuned.
(2nd NOTE TO SELF: Bug Eva till we get copies of future projects to share with readers:-)


Now, would you like to own a copy of this amazing piece of historical and literary book?? You WOULD??

Great! Leave me a comment on where you most want to visit in Israel, and you could win a BRAND NEW COPY of "Reflections of God's Holy Land"!!! I'll draw a winner December 15th, so spread the word!!

Happy Reading!



ForstRose said...

Ooooh! I love Bible history and have never been to Israel so would like to see it all. LOL


Abi said...

Oh, how interesting. I'd love to go to the Holy Land. Most of all this time of the year I think Bethlehem would be wonderful.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Sunny said...

Oh wow! Very fascinating! I havent ever been, so I'd really want to see it all.

sj3girls AT hotmail DOT com

ChristyJan said...

I'd love to take a Holy Land tour.


Mary said...

Jerusalem... well, all of Israel would be amazing to see! This book has been on my wish list since you first featured it, thanks for a chance to win it.

Anonymous said...

Bethlehem is the place I would love to see the most!