Thursday, December 5, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Meet Barbara M. Britton

The Write Way Café welcomes Barbara Britton. Author of romantic adventure, she opens up to our readers.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book?
     I never dreamed of being an author. I enjoyed creative writing in high school, but no one ever mentioned being an author as a career. After teaching chapel for several years to elementary students, I was feeling burned out. I needed to prepare lesson material and music for the next school year, and I prayed to God to hit me with some creativity. I received ideas for my lesson plans, but I also had a prompting to write a story. I sat down and wrote a novel in a year. I continued writing stories and I sold my fourth manuscript eight years later.

What was your path to getting Lioness: Mahlah's Journey written and published? What type of research did you do?
     “Lioness” was the seventh book I had written. I had released three works of Biblical Fiction with my publisher (Pelican Book Group) previously. I was fairly sure my publisher would contract and release “Lioness.”
     I always say that I came in the back door of publishing. I was chosen to be mentored in a program called Pitch Wars. My mentor had taken on an alternate who was an acquiring editor for a Christian publisher. The rest is history. I was asked to submit my manuscript to the editor, and I received my first contract a few months later. My debut novel released three years ago all due to a mentoring program. I have contracted seven books altogether--without an agent.
     Biblical fiction isn’t easy to write because you are dealing with historical research and also theological study. I am married to an ordained minister and my basement is a library of Bible commentaries and historical books. The internet is great for research, but you have to check the facts.

Where did the idea for your story come from? Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real life? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
     I lead a weekly Bible study for women. One of my fellow leaders mentioned a story about five sisters who petitioned for land in the Old Testament. I have been a Christian for a long time, but I had never heard the story of the daughters of Zelophehad. I went home and read the account in the Bible. The next week, I asked if my friend would mind if I wrote about the daughters in my next book. She laughed and said it wasn’t her story. “Lioness” was born.
     Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah are historic girls.  There is quite a bit of Scripture written about these brave sisters. You can find them in Numbers 26:33, 27:1-11, chapter 36, and Joshua 17:3-6.
     Mahlah is much bolder than I am. We both have a strong faith in God. I haven’t faced Moses or an assembly of angry men, but I have faced a long battle with breast cancer. God got me through challenging times, and He was there for the daughters of Zelophehad.

Did you face any blocks while writing Lioness: Mahlah's Journey, and if so, how did you handle them?
     With all the Scripture about the daughters of Zelophehad and with all the chaos in the book of Numbers, I had plenty of material to work with for writing my novel. After I finished the manuscript, I felt like the girls’ story wasn’t done. It took seven years to conquer Canaan, so the girls’ inheritance would not come for a while. I decided to write two more books and follow the sisters through the book of Joshua and make sure they received their inheritance.
     More books should have been easy, right? Since I wasn’t planning on writing a series, I had made the hero in my second book a mute, and the hero for book three was less than stellar as a role model. I had to work harder to bring these character to readers. I also had to tackle some tough Scripture in Joshua.
     I had promised my publisher that I would have the books finished by a certain date. I made my deadline, though it meant I was overly busy during that time period.  I am happy with the way “Heavenly Lights: Noah’s Journey” and “Claiming Canaan: Milcah’s Journey” turned out. All the girls get a happily-ever-after in the three-book series.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey and after?
      My biggest surprise was finding a villain in the book of Numbers who is maligned throughout the Bible. Balaam, son of Beor, has been made famous by being in a Bible story about a talking donkey. How fun. Not really. I discovered he is one of the baddest boys of the Bible and that he is maligned throughout Scripture—even to the book of Revelation. I brought out Balaam’s wickedness in my story to show his sinister ways.
     My other surprise in writing “Lioness,” is how many Christians do not know the story of the daughters of Zelophehad. I hope to change that with my series. And yes, there is a girl in the Bible named Noah.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about Israelites and Zelophehad?
     I learned I could write a book in five months when under a strict deadline. I usually allowed myself a year to finish writing a book, but when I had to get the second and third books done, I forced myself to make my writing a priority and work hard even when I didn’t feel like writing.
     The Bible has so many amazing stories that I have forgotten, or never really studied. I enjoyed being with the Israelites as they followed God into their Promised Land. I also saw how sin affects our lives and draws us away from God.
     The daughters of Zelophehad had a great faith in God. We don’t know much about their father. When the girls speak about their father in Numbers 27:3, it isn’t a glowing eulogy. We know their father sinned and that it wasn’t as bad as Korah’s followers. God had the ground open up and swallow Korah and his followers. This is not lavish praise for Zelophehad, but he and his wife did raise five amazing girls.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
     Consistency is my biggest problem in my writing life because I wear so many hats. I am a marketer, promoter, ambassador, coach, critique partner, teacher and the list goes on and on. These other aspects of being a published author can whisk your writing time away. They can also deplete your creativity and energy. Currently, I am in promotion mode with this series, so I have to get serious and carve out time to work on another story.

What are you working on now?
     You mean, what I should be working on? I have started another Biblical story. I am getting nervous about my writing time as I see Christmas looming. Last year, I did take the month of December off from daily writing goals. After a battle with cancer, I learned that you must take time to make memories with your family. Tomorrow is never a guarantee. Make sure you say, “I love you,” often. Remember, each day is a blessing from God.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
     I have a WWI Historical that will probably release in the fall of 2020. “Until June” is still under the Christian Fiction umbrella. Where my Biblical novels mention God’s name hundreds of times, “Until June” will mention God only a few times. I pitched the novel as “Me Before You” without euthanasia. It’s a caregiver romance set in Alaska in 1918 and based on a true story. We will see what my readers think of the genre switch.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     I would like to be a taste tester at a Godiva or See’s Candies factory. And I would come up with a calorie-free chocolate that tastes fabulous.
     On a serious note, I am grateful to have two of the best jobs in the world—a mom to two young adults and someone who gets paid to write hope-filled stories.

by Barbara M. Britton
While the Israelites struggle to occupy the Promised Land of God, Mahlah bat Zelophehad is orphaned and left to care for her four sisters. But daughters of the dead are unable to inherit land, and it will take a miracle for Mahlah to obtain the means to care for her sisters and uphold the vow she made to her dying mother.

Mahlah must seek Moses, the leader of her people, and request something extraordinary—the right for a daughter to inherit her deceased father’s land. A right that will upset the ox-cart of male inheritance and cast her in the role of a rebel.

But, God is the protector of the orphan and the widow, and five orphaned daughters need His help. With God, anything is possible. Even changing man’s tradition.

Amazon        Barnes & Noble        Pelican Book Group     

Kobo        Google Play    Apple Books

Barbara M. Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. Barb writes romantic adventures for teens and adults in the Christian fiction and Mainstream markets. She is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little known Bible characters to light in her stories. Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Find out more about Barb’s books at Barb is also on Twitter and Facebook.


HiDee said...

What a unique set of stories! I love you incorporated what is obviously important to you. Thank you for sharing your book with us, Barbara!

Barbara Britton said...

Thank you for having me on the blog. I always say that I came in the back door of publishing.

Carol James said...

Congratulations, Barb, on another fabulous novel!

Lynn said...

Your stories sound interesting, and gutsy. Good luck with your writing career. Thank you for being on our blog!

Barbara Britton said...

Thank you, Lynn. There is always something new to learn about publishing books. The book business never gets dull.

Barbara Britton said...

Thank you, Carol. Thanks for joining us.