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Joy C. Woodbury


First off, I’m so sorry that my replies will probably be getting kind of sporadic. I started school this past Monday, and things are getting busy, so I don’t have as much time as I used to. But I love chatting on here with you, so I don’t want you to think that because I don’t reply for a while, it’s ’cause I’m ignoring the notifications or anything like that… Anyways. XD

Pen testing texts are always hilarious because it’s basically whatever popped first into their mind. Several examples that they’ve found: “I am very cold” “The ink is thin” (Complaints about parchment and ink were very common) “Writing is excessive drudgery.” Basically lots of complaints. Though, the oldest Dutch text ever found was a little song-lyric a scribe scrawled in the margins!

Haha, that’s hilarious! I bet their parchment and ink wasn’t always of the best quality. A song-lyric is much more cheerful!

Why have I done so much research about medieval manuscripts? Acyn, one of my characters, is a scribe’s apprentice and then I got distracted by researching it XD

I TOTALLY relate to that!

Because St. Luke was a physician, and he’s obviously a side character in TAS, I dove into research about ancient Greek physicians and their methods, beliefs, etc. One of the subplots in TAS is about Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” (which I assigned as a recurrent illness), and Luke treats him. As a result of my research, I learned tons of interesting (and perhaps somewhat disturbing XD) facts about ancient doctors. My friends won’t let me eagerly share my knowledge with them, LOL, and they ask me why I read about such things. I tell them I’m a writer. XD

But as I kept writing I started weaving more and more light and dark symbolism into the story, so it gets a lot of meaning throughout the story. (But only if you know to look for it.   ) I use the ‘Be the light of the world’ passage as inspiration and worked a lot of stuff around that.

I pick my character names on a lot of factors. I try to have characters from the same tribe have similar language origins. The Lehabim mostly have Hebrew names. (Which is a pain since most girl’s names end in -ah and most boy’s names end in -el XD)

Oh, that’s such beautiful symbolism! I love books with themes of light and dark. It’s awesome that Liorah gets a name that hints at a theme. That’s truly awesome.

I find it so cool how you look for unique names from different origins for your different tribes! Your worldbuilding must be very fun to write!

Oh yes, -ah and -el. XD A while ago I considered changing the spelling of Temira’s name to Temirah, but I decided I highly preferred Temira. I also very briefly gave thought to calling her Zemira, which is also a Hebrew girl name, but no more than a second of thought. XD Zemira just doesn’t fit her character at all. She can never be anything but Temira to me! XD

How about you? What’s the naming process for you?

I found Temira’s name by googling “Hebrew girl names” and looking through several lists before landing on Temira. I thought it was just such a pretty, unique name that fit her sweet, gentle character so perfectly. Funny fact though, the meaning itself doesn’t fit her. Temira means “tall” in Hebrew, and my little Temira is very small. XD

If the character is Hebrew, I’ll search “ancient Hebrew names,” or “ancient Jewish names.” If the character is Gentile, I’ll search “ancient Greek names” or “ancient Roman names.”

For Paul’s two nephews, Reuben and Seth, the naming process was the most interesting of all. Both their names are super symbolic – the most symbolic in the novel.

Reuben means “behold, a son” and was chosen by Leah for her first son because the Lord had removed her shame and Jacob would love her more because she bore him a son. Part of Temira’s backstory is that she was unable to have children, and was abused by her husband, so when she finally had a son she called him Reuben.

Seth means “anointed; compensation” and is symbolic because he ends up being both anointed by God and compensation for Paul and Temira. Anointed because he saves Paul’s life, and the entire Roman Empire in the process! And as for the compensation part, I can’t reveal that because it would be a spoiler. XD

I actually find projecting stuff like that onto my characters helps me work through it. I guess it gives you a lot more perspective, and it just makes your writing feel much more authentic. I can very often tell when an author was writing from experience because it feels so much more raw and detailed. (Good authors can fake that pretty well, but with less practiced ones it’s easy to see which are based on real-life experience.)

I agree. A writer who knows something personally and intimately will make their empathy shine through. It’s like being able to help a friend through a tough time because you went through something similar. Like if you hadn’t gone through something similar, you would still care and try to help, but it would be tougher to understand at times.

Ooh, the struggle between forgiveness and vengeance is the theme of my second book! It was very fun to write about because it’s such a multi-faceted subject! There are so many sides to it and it just stays complicated no matter how you twist it.

That’s awesome! With Ariella, she’s a good person at heart who loves Christ, but vengeance is her demon. Her story breaks my heart!

I think that’s what I’ve always loved about Biblical fiction! It makes them feel like people, and it makes them far easier to connect to. They can feel awfully distant at times XD

I think Paul less than others, maybe because of the medium in which his books were written. They were just meant for a small community, and you can kinda see that it was dictated instead of written down. It’s more stream-of-consciousness and more personal than many of the other gospels. It makes it interesting to read

I know, right!? I want to write Biblical fiction that helps people to know the figures of the Bible intimately and as they were – real people just like us.

I love how personal Paul’s books are! He was so passionate and raw in everything he wrote. It really makes his tenderness shine through.

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

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