Carlene Havel has lived in numerous US states, the Philippines, and Turkey. Like most writers, Carlene has always loved to read, and her taste is eclectic. Her other hobbies include sewing, knitting, crochet and embroidery. She especially enjoys Bible study, normally devoting one day each week to delving into the scriptures with a small focus group. The Havels make their home in Texas, in the midst of a big, extended family.
Carlene, it’s great to have you at Novel PASTimes today. Could you share with us some of the surprises you’ve encountered along the road to publishing?
I am continually surprised by reactions to my books. Because of what each person brings to a reading experience, every reader sees things from a unique perspective. It is delightful to see how varied this can be.
The author’s learning curve seems to extend beyond the rainbow. My biggest surprise as a new writer came when I realized finishing a novel is nowhere near “the end.” The lengthy editing process, waiting in line for months to be published, and the effort involved in promoting a book once it has been released were all eye-openers for me.>
Please tell us something about your biblical novel, Daughter of the King.
Daughter of the King is a story of enduring love, based on information contained in the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. Princess Michal was the youngest daughter of ancient Israel's first monarch. Although fathers arranged marriages, she dared to fall in love. The Bible tells how Michal helped the youthful David escape from her jealous father. Saul punished his daughter by giving her to a sadistic drunkard. After years of banishment, the princess unknowingly became a pawn in negotiations between Judea and Israel. Michal longs to bear a son to inherit David’s crown and reestablish the line of King Saul. Yet other royal wives are equally ambitious for their sons. Michal must draw on her faith, patriotism, and love for David to sustain her through disappointment, infidelity, and betrayal.
What drew you to write biblical fiction and particularly the story of Michal?
After the publication of my first novel, I was considering what to do next. When I read the Biblical account of King Saul’s daughter, some questions about her took hold of me. How would it feel to live in a time when kings had absolute authority? To be bartered away through an arranged marriage? To be one wife among many? The more I thought about Michal, the more I wanted to write the story of this ancient princess, who loved and married one of the most famous kings of antiquity.>
Have you found that similar themes throughout your writing? Why? Or why not?
My objective is to write uplifting, encouraging stories. I like to explore relationships and the effect of extraordinary circumstances on ordinary people. After I’ve created a cast of characters, I want to give them at least a “happy for now” ending.
What drew you to writing historical novels?
Historical settings provide a treasure of enriching details for a story. Hearts remain the same across the ages; however, houses, occupations, transportation, communication, food, clothing, and customs are vastly different in past times and exotic places. Skillfully done, incorporating those different ways of living greatly enriches a novel.
If you’re anything like I am, one favorite book is hard to pick! Do you have two or three top picks among the historical genre that you would care to recommend?
Reading has always been my passion, and my taste is eclectic. The books that come to mind right away are To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. My all-time number one fave is Homer’s Odyssey. Now, this is my list as of today. It will shift tomorrow as I recall wonderful reads I neglected to mention.
What do you consider the best resources for historical research?
More tomorrow from author, Carlene Havel. She is giving away two copies of Daughter of the King, print or ebook, winner’s choice.
Here’s your Novel PASTimes’ question of the week, from Carlene, to answer for the drawing:
Where does Daughter of the King take place?
To be entered in this week’s drawings, please do the following:>
1) Answer the question.
2) Leave your email addy in the form of name[at]domain[dot]com.
3) Leave your answer in the comments before 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 3rd. Thank you!
Sharon also has another more recent release from Prism Book Group called
A Sharecropper Christmas.