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Book News! Forgotten Followers: from Broken to Bold

It has been a busy summer preparing my biblical fiction for you.

When I sent out my Advance Reader Copies (ARC) in early June, I estimated the book may be released in early August. However, I ended up making a number of changes to the ARC, not just for grammar and punctuation, but also for the themes and imagery, new insights from research, as well as character development, plot and tension. I may be a bit of a perfectionist, but I am working as to the Lord and not for human masters. I submitted these to my publisher on June 19th as my husband and I headed off for some hiking and sightseeing in Newfoundland & Labrador. On our return, I reviewed the updates and gave further changes to the publisher on July 14th for design and layout.

The Good News:

1. Bargain: Longer Access: If you have not yet read your Advance Reader Copy, you will continue to have access to it until the book is released. We hope you enjoy this inspirational historical fiction, with empowered female characters in biblical times. Please make note of your thoughts and hold onto them until the novel is posted at online retailers. Online reviews and sharing your reactions with your circle of influence and on social media are essential to launching the novel and will help spread the word about biblical equality. If you are looking to discuss new insights from the novel, please contact me so that I can include you in an online discussion I plan to facilitate with a group of like-minded readers.

2. Testimony: God has blessed this biblical fiction with a cover testimony! Sheila Wray Gregoire, author of The Great Sex Rescue and founder of BareMarriage has generously offered a wonderful review for my cover. For quite some time, I have been enjoying her YouTube channel, which has over 7,000 subscribers, and The BareMarriage Podcast, which has had over a million downloads.

When my husband and I go on car trips, we agree the driver can choose the airwaves. We recently drove from Ontario to Newfoundland, over 20 hours each way. Usually, he chooses classical music and I choose podcasts. But when listening to the BareMarriage podcast, we were both so interested that we often continued to listen after switching drivers. In one episode, co-host Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach complimented those who question and test new teaching by examining the scriptures, saying they were like the Bereans in Macedonia:

"The Bereans were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." Acts 17:11 NKJV

Many of Sheila Wray Gregoire's followers are evangelical Christians who are faithfully looking for alternatives to pat answers, and her testimony confirms that my novel provides a refreshing view of how Jesus can free us from our cages. I hope my biblical fiction reaches people who have doubts or are seeking deeper answers in their Christian walk.

3. Interview: I was grateful for the opportunity to meet in person with Tyler Tavares, an Associate Pastor at Cobourg Alliance Church.

We had an informal discussion about the women in my upcoming biblical fiction and the roles of women in the Gospels. We talked about my novel as a parable: a fiction story revealing truth. Like many church denominations, the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada has opened up a path for churches to welcome both men and women serving on the Board of Elders, but it is up to each local congregation to choose its way forward. I have found sometimes the barriers to equality for women are not from the law, but from the heart.

Christ did not come to change the laws, but to fulfil the laws by changing our hearts. Making an emotional connection with my characters can change our hearts. I commend CAC for leading a series of discussions to address confusion and controversy about what the Bible says about the role of women in society, families, and church. I believe it is a model many local churches could follow to study this topic.

Congratulations to CAC for opening up this mutually respectful discussion. It was wonderful to be a part of it.

Please check out my Playlist on YouTube to find my interview and the series as it is posted.

I hope to bring the discussion of biblical equality out of academia and into the hearts and minds of ordinary people who may discuss the ideas with family or at their local church. I write for the normal person in the pew, as opposed to the theological experts. If you are part of a group or church that would like to re-examine various interpretations of Scripture in an atmosphere of respect, please contact me.

Projects In The Works:

1. Interactive Study Guide: What to do when you feel like a Forgotten Follower?

This is the official companion study guide to Forgotten Followers: from Broken to Bold. It is for anyone who sometimes feels like a forgotten follower, doubts their place in God’s family, or has questions. This ten-session guide is for individual reflection or group discussion exploring the themes of the novel: biblical equality, women’s freedoms, abuse, and racism. See how Jesus encourages, equips, and empowers women as patrons, disciples, and apostles. Each interactive study session contains:

  • Biblical References for each chapter of the novel

  • Thought-provoking quotes from the novel and questions for reflection/discussion

  • Historical notes, illustrations, and worksheets

  • Enrichment activities: fill in the blanks, line drawings, matching games, quizzes

  • Menus and Recipes from the novel

  • Songs matching the themes of the novel

  • Prayer Focus

  • Further study resources

2. Swords and Shields: A Card Game to understand Biblical Viewpoints on Gender Equality

Christians, regardless of their views on women's roles, believe the Bible and find biblical support for their viewpoint. Ephesians 6 calls God's word a sword and faith our shield. I have prepared a card game using swords to present various biblical interpretations and defensive shields with matching numbers to present alternate understandings. This book of cards provides brief snapshots showing some of the different ways people may read the Bible. It is a simple introduction for those who are new to the concepts, whether adults or youth. The goal is to increase understanding and respect for fellow Christians who have opposing views so that we are better equipped to love one another.

3. Forgotten Apostles: from Broken to Bold, Book 2

After Stephen is stoned, Joanna flees to Antioch and joins an active community of Greek believers. Susannah escapes to her Palestinian suppliers in Caesarea. Many understand God’s messages as Susannah interprets the prophecies of her four daughters. Joanna travels using her Latin name Junia and speaks boldly about love and acceptance, becoming the woman Paul calls an “outstanding apostle.”

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