I am delighted to take part in the tour for Leah the new book by Amanda Bedzrah. I hope you enjoy her interview here. Thank you for taking time to chat with me, Amanda.
Please tell my readers a little about yourself?
I am just a girl who loves Jesus. I have been saved, redeemed and restored by Jesus and my life is dedicated in service to Him. I am married to Francois and I have three wonderful children. I live in the county of Kent, best known as “The Garden of England” in the United Kingdom. I am a writer and author, a passionate Bible teacher, an inspirational speaker, a prayer minister, and a senior NHS professional. I am a Law graduate (LLB Hons), certified in Business Analysis Practice and Project Management. To date, I have written six books (1 fiction) and two Journals on Kindness.
What inspired you to become a writer/author?
Reading inspired me. I love to read. I remember as a little girl, I loved reading books and I enjoyed the ability to be able to be engrossed in another world through reading. However, even as a young girl, I had the desire to tell a story in the way I wanted to tell it and enjoy it. I would read a book and think –I would have written this bit or that bit differently or given it a different end. I wrote my first story when I was about 12 years old, I enjoyed writing the story and being able to create the characters and make them say what I wanted them to say or make them be where I wanted them to be. When I started writing, it was to entertain myself, I would write a story, leave it for a while and come back to read it and enjoy it. Even today, I still write stories I know I would never publish, I entertain myself with my work, and I also develop my craft with these stories. I see writing as a gift, a calling. It is my purpose. It is the thing God created me to do and I absolutely loved it.
What is the best thing about being a writer/author?
The best thing for me is being able to teach principles from the word of God and that is what I love the most. I am thankful that I can use my gift to share the gospel; it excites me and fuels me. The best feeling is getting feedback about how lives have been changed. There is such power in the written word. Through writing, you can educate, empower, entertain and do so much more. I love that I can use my creativity and put my imagination on paper, I love that it enables me to stretch my mind even beyond my own imagination. With a pen, you can create life, you can take life, and you can create new characters, new creatures or even new places. The only limit you have with writing is the limit you place on yourself. I love the freedom of creative thought.
What is your writing routine like?
I actually don’t have a set routine for writing. I have tried to have set times to write or have a set number of words or days but it just doesn’t work. I don’t see writing as a hobby, I see it as a calling and so I take it seriously, which is why I allow myself to be led by God’s Holy Spirit because I know that it is Him who writes through me. So I am on His time table not mine. This means that some days I am writing early in the morning, some days much later at night or some days I am not writing at all.
How much time is spent on research?
I spend a lot of time doing research as I want to ensure that I can take my readers on a journey that is as true and as accurate as possible. Whether I am writing fiction or non-fiction, I want my readers to get the best reading experience possible and research is one of the key ingredients for making that happen. A lot of research went into writing my novel LEAH; particularly into Jewish history and culture and I included some of the research I did in my Authors notes at the back of the book. I read as many books, blogs and articles as I could find as well. I also spent time reading the bible over and over again, making sure that I captured the very essence of the story and looking for things I could include to bring the story to life.
How much of the book is planned out before you start writing it?
It depends on what I am writing. If it is non-fiction, I don’t plan a lot ahead; I just start as soon as I have everything I need. If I am writing fiction, that is a whole different scenario. I write fiction in my head first, I mull over it, live, dream and relive the story in my head. I experience and imagine the characters, their thoughts and emotions; I talk about the book a lot to myself, in my car, in the mirror, in the shower. I experience the story as though I was there until I am so engrossed and immersed that I can write about it. A lot of the book is planned and outlined before I start writing. I can do this for many weeks, months or in the case of Leah, years, before I actually start writing. I have outlined in my head, the beginning, the end and some of the middle before I start writing.
What do you think is most important when writing a book? Characters, plot, setting, etc
I think every aspect of writing is important when writing a book. I can’t think of one aspect more important than the other. It’s a conscious decision on my part; otherwise I run the risk of focusing so much on that aspect and possibly not giving as much thought or attention to the others and that can leave the book unbalanced. Readers can tell when a book is unbalanced. When you know so much about the character and not enough about where the book is set, or you’re not clear on the story line or you have such a good plot but the characters are not clearly defined etc. I think about writing like baking a cake, if there is too much of one thing or if one ingredient is missing it can ruin the whole cake. Yes, you may be able to get away with a few minor ingredients missing or with adding a little more than the recipe calls for, but trust me; it does impact on the taste, texture and quality of the cake (you can tell I like cake). That is the same way I see my writing, I consider every single aspect to be equally important and necessary, giving time and attention to each bit, leaving nothing out and having every aspect balanced.
What is your latest book about?
My latest novel is titled LEAH: Unnoticed. Unwanted. Unloved. It is based on the Bible story of Leah, Jacob and Rachel. It is the ultimate love triangle - One man married to two sisters, what could possibly go wrong? Here is a synopsis from the back cover which share some details about the story - Lying in bed next to ‘the man of her dreams’, Leah is crippled with fear and unable to sleep. She knows that her husband Jacob is going to wake up to her, not “the woman of his dreams”. Jacob worked and served Leah’s father Laban for seven years to marry her younger sister Rachel, but on the night of their wedding, the brides were switched; the right man was married to the wrong bride. As Leah anticipates, his dissatisfaction is not hidden; his rejection is immediate. Seven days later, Jacob marries Rachel after promising to work another seven years for her. Leah is now left in a place of pain and bitterness. A fearsome war erupts. She is in a battle for her husband’s affection – not with an enemy, but with her own sister! Will she ever be loved and accepted? Can God use a woman like Leah: unnoticed, unwanted, and unloved, to change history? This book is a fictional retelling of one of the greatest Bible stories of all time. It is a story of love, deception, betrayal, competition, heartbreak, and forgiveness. It reminds us that God has a plan and purpose for our lives. No pain is ever wasted with God!
What inspired it?
This novel was definitely a God project. I remember reading her story a few years ago, it must be about 4 years ago now and I wondered what it would have been like for her. It was a question that plagued me and I really wanted answers. I was so drawn to Leah, and for many years, I looked for novels based on her from well known authors and it seemed like her story was not written, or none that I could find. I kept waiting, until last year, frustrated I complained to God and He said – you write it. I was like what, me, no way….. I initially allowed fear to deceive me, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling inside me, the direction God had given and the hidden excitement about the challenge that slowly bubbled to the surface. I sat down one day and started writing on my phone and the words just fell out.
Any new books or plans for the future?
Absolutely, I have a new book coming out in a few weeks, titled An Introduction to Women in the Bible. It is a synopsis of 110 women in the Old and New Testament which can be read on its own or used as a reference book or study guide. I am currently writing a novella which is Bible based fiction, this time not a woman which is due to be published in the summer and another fiction book which I plan to write and publish much later in the year. It seems like it will be a busy writing year for me.
What genre do you read most often?
I enjoy reading Christian Fiction especially Bible based fiction.
Is there anything else you would like my readers to know about you, your writing or your book that I have not already asked?
I love to teach the Bible, using practical, everyday examples that people can relate to. I truly believe that even though the Bible was written many years ago, it still has everything that we need to successfully navigate life today. Whilst I enjoy writing non-fiction, I love writing fiction much more, particularly Bible fiction. There are three reasons why I personally love Bible fiction which I would love to share - 1. It can make the Bible easier to read and understand, depending on the extent of fictionalisation, it can be a simpler translation for people to understand as some authors take the time to explain the historical context of the word and the culture of the day to the readers and people suddenly find themselves coming to grips with Bible culture in a way that makes them feel like they’ve been in a very interesting history class. 2. It can ignite a love for Bible reading – there are people who have fallen in love with the bible again from just reading Bible fiction, 3. Also for people new to faith, Bible fiction is a great introduction and can be a wonderful evangelical tool as well. A novel like Leah might be an easier gift to a friend/loved one who you want to tell about Jesus but you don’t know how. Also, I’d love it if they can check out my new novel; it is free on kindle unlimited, and available on Amazon and all the major bookstores around the world. I would be grateful if they read it, share it with their friends and get in touch with me, I love to hear from readers. My greatest desire for my novel Leah is to see it on the big screen. I truly believe it would be such an amazing movie and it will encourage and inspire many. I would be very grateful if your readers to join me in prayers to make this dream a reality
Lying in bed next to ‘the man of her dreams’, Leah is crippled with fear and unable to sleep. She knows that her husband Jacob is going to wake up to her, not “the woman of his dreams”.
Jacob worked and served Leah’s father Laban for seven years to marry her younger sister Rachel, but on the night of their wedding, the brides were switched; the right man was married to the wrong bride.
As Leah anticipates, his dissatisfaction is not hidden; his rejection is immediate.
Seven days later, Jacob marries Rachel after promising to work another seven years for her.
Leah is now left in a place of pain and bitterness. A fearsome war erupts. She is in a battle for her husband’s affection – not with an enemy, but with her own sister!
Will she ever be loved and accepted?
Can God use a woman like Leah: unnoticed, unwanted, and unloved, to change history?
This book is a fictional retelling of one of the greatest Bible stories of all time. It is a story of love, deception, betrayal, competition, heartbreak, and forgiveness.
It reminds us that God has a plan and purpose for our lives. No pain is ever wasted with God!
I am a prayer minister, an inspirational speaker and an NHS professional. I am passionate about seeing people restored and living a full life beyond salvation. I am a passionate bible teacher who uses practical examples to teach godly principles, a Law Graduate (LLBs Hons) from the University of Wolverhampton, a Prince 2 Practitioner, and also certified in Business Analysis Practice.
I am the founder and CEO of Empower a Woman, a registered UK-based non-profit organisation that is set up to meet the needs of vulnerable women. I also run ‘Activate the Real You’ an online ministry that has been set up with the mission “To point Christians to Jesus so He can Rebuild, Repair and Revive those who are hurting and broken-hearted. To help Christians rediscover their true identity in Jesus so they can be restored and live a life of purpose, becoming true disciples of Jesus Christ”. Our ministry scripture is Isaiah 61:3-4.
I saw my brother’s dead body when I was only 12 years old. He was my best friend and my hero. I was with him at home moments before he died, and when I heard he had died in the hospital, I ran all the way there and uncovered his dead body. I had to see him for myself to believe it. His death introduced my little heart to an inexplicable pain. I was broken, and I was afraid.
At 28, I remembered I was sexually abused as a child. That was another of the many traumatic things I had faced in life. My life was a roller coaster of pain, trauma, and bad choices. I put my story about my abuse and how I overcame that into my first book which was self-published in January 2016 titled ‘The Love That Set Me Free (Finding God in the midst of pain and brokenness)’. The book was well received and the feedback has been amazing.
I have experienced so many trials and I have been resilient through it all, even though it has not been easy, I know where I am today is by God’s grace.
Buy Leah at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08NZPGZ8P/
Website - www.AmandaBedzrah.com
Instagram - Amanda_bedzrah
Facebook - @AmandaBedzrahBOOK COVER