Born in Romania in 1945, Sylvia Bambola lived her early years in Germany. At seven she relocated with her adopted family and saw the Statue of Liberty and America for the first time. But the memory of those years in Germany inspired her to write Refiner’s Fire, which won a Silver Angel Award, and was a Christy Finalist. Her frequent moves as an “army brat” gave her an opportunity to see America and fall in love with her new country. Bambola has authored seven novels, has two grown children, teaches women’s Bible studies, and is learning the guitar.
Sylvia, 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?
Publishing is a business not a marriage. In other words, the partnerships you develop with a certain house, agent, or editor may not last. Houses get annexed by larger houses, agents retire and editors move to other jobs. The other surprise is that most publishers expect you, the writer, to do the lion’s share of the marketing. And marketing doesn’t come easy to many writers, myself included. Writers are creative and generally not interested in business. But if a writer wants to have any measure of success he/she will have to learn the business end of publishing and apply it.
Please tell us something about your latest novel, The Salt Covenants.
The novel is set in 1493 Spain. The Inquisition is in full force. Isabel, a Jewess, has broken her mother’s heart by becoming a sincere convert to Christianity. But when she is noticed by Friar Alonso at La Casa Santa, the Holy House, she is forced to flee by entering into a loveless marriage and sailing with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World. But all too soon Isabel is forced to struggle alone in her new life and new faith. With all the risks and hardships, her very survival is brought into question. Loneliness is also a problem, and she wonders if she’ll ever find love in this strange land. And what of the dangerous Enrique Vivar? Will his hidden agenda cost her her life?
The novel addresses such issues as: faith, love, loneliness, fear, courage, and forgiveness.
It was given a starred review by Publishers Weekly in their 12/22/14 edition.
Congratulations on your starred review, Sylvia!
The Salt Covenants is set in 1493 Spain. What drew you to write about this time period and the location of your story?
When I learned about the treatment of Jews by the Church and the rabid anti-Semitism during the Spanish Inquisition, it troubled me greatly because I’ve noticed many similarities in modern history such as during World War II. And unfortunately I am beginning to see them again.
Have you found that similar themes throughout your writing? Why? Or why not?
One of the themes that keeps reemerging in my writing is that of “forgiveness.” I find God’s forgiveness of us breathtaking and have seen, not only in my life, but in the lives of others, the healing power of forgiveness. I’ve also seen how destructive unforgiveness can be.
What drew you to writing historical novels?
There is so much we can learn from history if only we care to. And since history does tend to repeat itself, I think it valuable and useful to try. So writing historical novels was a natural fit for me since they can be both entertaining as well as informative.
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?
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of Francine Rivers’ books. I think they are excellent and usually have a powerful message. Other writers I admire are Bodie and Brock Thoene and Thom Lemmons. But I mention only a few because you are right! There are many other excellent historical novels out there.
What do you consider the best resources for historical research?a Rafflecopter giveaway
More tomorrow from Sylvia Bambola!
More tomorrow from Sylvia Bambola!
Readers, don’t forget to enter our Rafflecopter drawing below for your chance to win a copy of Sylvia Bambola’s latest novel, The Salt Covenants. (Paperback to available to US readers only. E-book available to all others.) Just click the button and answer Sylvia’s question. The drawing will be open until 12:00 a.m. Friday morning. Thanks for stopping by!