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Joy C. Woodbury


Oh my goodness, I am so sorry for the late reply. I didn’t see this until now – maybe the email didn’t go through for some reason? Or it’s probably in my spam folder. I never check that. 😭

Awesome! That’s the Paul one, right?

Yup, it is! I definitely agree that good sibling relationships (especially with adult sibs, as you pointed out) are way too rare.

Your characters sound amazing! Gavril must be under so much pressure being perfect. If I were Liorah though, I’d def be jealous too! XD

I’ll tell you a bit about my characters, too!

Paul and his sister, Temira, have COMPLETELY different personalities. Your point about the conflict is so true, since they have a lot of it although they are good friends, lol. Actually, they don’t start off being good friends. Basically, Paul goes back to Tarsus after his conversion (Acts 9:30) because he knows in his heart he’s got to tell his family. His parents are dead, but he has extended family and his sister left. Long story short, he goes to Temira first, and she lets him know in no uncertain terms how much she hates him. It takes this whole dramatic event to make her change her mind (it would be spoilers if I told you haha).

After that, their conflict is even more interesting, precisely because they become inseparable. Paul is quite overprotective of her (she is his younger sister). He’s everything you would expect St. Paul to be – gentle with her, compassionate, enduring her outbursts over his apostleship. But in the first drafts I made the mistake of making Paul too perfect, and since that’s not realistic or relatable, I did some major deep digging into his character.

He has a good deal of flaws (I know, shocking XD). He tries to hide everything from Temira so she won’t get worked up, but being as sharp as she is, she always finds out and then feels deceived. His “fatal flaw” is that he believes himself too far gone to be truly redeemed. One of the most interesting parts of his character is that he actually feels guilty for loving Temira as much as he does, because he took other brothers away from their sisters in his persecutor past. The result of that is treating Temira harshly enough times that she starts to think he doesn’t care for her at all. These two misunderstand each other so many times that their relationship is often teetering at the edge of a cliff.

Although Temira becomes a Christian, she continues to wrestle with the suffering path Paul has chosen to take, and her flaw is her lack of empathy. She loves him of course, but she lives in denial and can’t (really, doesn’t want to) understand his trauma over his past. She would rather avoid the reality that he used to be a murderer, and every time his past comes into play, she tries to escape it.

Really, the whole reason they run into so much trouble is because they misunderstand each other (due to the fact that they’re so different). It’s so interesting to write! Speaking of which, I didn’t realize I had written so much. Apologies – I tend to ramble about my characters.

But she’s also one of the cleverest and most competent characters and she usually has several knives on her at any given time.

PLEASE LET ME BETA READ THAT BOOK IF YOU EVER NEED IT. I think I would just adore that character! I love seeing girly-girls portrayed as kind and tough gals – because why on earth can’t they be????

Characters who occasionally poke fun at themselves are way more interesting


 competence is generally a likable trait in a character, but it’s so dumb to hear the other characters ranting about how awesome the main character is, especially when you can see they’re the blandest character who ever lived.

Right!? I don’t like books in general where the other characters are always ranting about how awesome the main character is. When they’re not awesome at all, and the characters ranting about them are so much more interesting!

Oh, and the “Lost royal” trope.

Finally someone who agrees with me on that one. It’s so annoying when the author whips out that plot twist. I loved who the character was before – just why??

It’s much more fun to make your villains mean their villainy and make them do it to the best of their ability. Claiming insanity is a cheap cop-out IMO.

Agree with ya on that one as well. I feel that “oh, they’re insane” is what authors do when they can’t think of an actual good reason the villain does these things. It’s a weak excuse that makes me care about neither the protagonist nor the antagonist.

What’s your favorite setting to read, or your favorite setting that you’ve read?

Ooh, great question! I love settings that involve revolutions, prison camps, forests, churches, or even sleepy little towns. My favorite setting is of course the France of Les MisĂ©rables. Prison, revolution, poverty, oppressed people, barricades, a bishop voluntarily deciding to live as the poor and common… it has everything! But I love everything about that book, lol.

In the rain the pavement shines like silver
All the lights are misty in the river

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