Happy Monday, Reader Friends!
I hope you had a great weekend. Today I have the awesome Michele Chynoweth with me to talk about her novel, The Jealous Son. Have you read her books? If not, read our convo and check out her links below! Grab a cup of tea (or coffee) and chat with us!
Toni: Welcome, Michele! Thank you for taking the time to sit down with me. Let’s jump right into the questions. What’s your writing process like?
Michele: When I sit down to write I usually need several hours alone, no distractions, because I get lost in the story (which is a good thing I guess!) so I try to start early like 7 am and write until 1 or 2 (or as long as I can until I have to let the “world” back in with all its distractions—emails, texts, calls, social media, etc. etc. And I am totally a plotter vs. a pantser (I need a detailed chapter outline to tell me where my story is headed next)—which by the way is unlike me with the rest of life!
Toni: Isn’t that funny how being a plotter or pantser doesn’t necessarily line up with how you are with everything else? When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Michele: When I was ten years old! I wrote a novel back then in a spiral-bound notebook about a girl and her dog. Then “life” happened…high school, college, marriage, three kids, a career as a newspaper and TV reporter then as an ad agency owner and corporate marketing director, divorce, remarriage, two more kids…but the novel-writing bug bit me along the way about 23 years ago (and then I heard that “still small voice,” I look back now and know it was God, calling me to write a modern-day novel based on the Book of Job)…and four novels later the rest is history as they say.
Toni: Love how He called you to write. Tell us a little about your story?
Michele: The story starts with Alex and Eliza Trellis (aka Adam and Eve) being banned from their home in the Navajo nation in Arizona. They get married and raise two sons. Life is “normal” for a while…but their oldest son Cameron develops a jealousy of his younger brother Austin when he seems to unfairly gain the accolades of his parents, the attention of the music industry and the love of his girl…and Cameron sets out to seek justice once and for all.
Toni: Wow! What a way to grab our attention. What life verse would your main character choose and why?
Michele: The Jealous Son is a modern-day murder mystery based on the Bible story of Cain and Abel in Genesis. The story is mainly told through the eyes of Eliza Trellis, or the “Eve” character, who comes face to face with her own demons, addiction, guilt and remorse on top of that of her eldest son’s. She questions God and her faith through all of the tragedy that besets her and her family but finally finds her way back when she hears Jesus say, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Toni: I love that verse. What would be the verse that fits your story and why?
Michele: The scripture reading that opens the book is, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” (James, 3:16-NIV) Of course envy and selfish ambition are at the root of the character Cameron Trellis and drive him to do unspeakable things…and his entire family to unravel.
Toni: That scripture makes perfect sense for the story! What message do you hope readers will get out of reading your story?
Michele: The Jealous Son is the latest novel in my genre of “Modern Day Bible Stories,” or contemporary suspense/romance novels that re-imagine Old Testament stories in the Bible. I call them “edgy Christian fiction” because they are fast-paced and entertaining yet carry the message of the particular Bible story on which each is based. In this case, the novel begs the question—what happens when envy goes too far…and faced with unimaginable loss, how can a family find their way back to God again?
Toni: Why should a reader choose your books if this is the first time they’ve heard of you?
Michele: I call my novels “edgy Christian fiction” or fast-paced, action-packed books that also happen to be inspirational—that fill the gap between the usual Christian novel and secular fiction. So if you’re looking for an edge-of-your-seat story, and if you’re curious to see what a Bible story might look like in modern times with a plot, characters and message to which you can relate today, my books are for you!
Toni: Who would you cast to play the characters in your book?
Michele: Love this question because I always write the characters and scenes like a movie playing in my head – and in fact, plan on having my books made into movies soon. Eva Longoria/Eliza, Ben Affleck/Alex, and maybe Cameron and Austin being played by the Jonas brothers (Joe and Nick).
Toni: Great lineup! So let’s get a little personal. Do you like coffee or tea?
Michele: I’m a coffee lover!
Toni: Chocolate or candy?
Michele: Chocolate – any kind although dark is my favorite
Toni: Last but not least, how can we pray for you?
Michele: I would love it if you prayed for me as I write my next novel, The Wise Man, based on Solomon…I feel with COVID I’ve been facing some writer’s block so I would greatly appreciate it as I go full throttle in the New Year!
Toni: We’ll certainly do that. Readers, do you have any questions for Michele?
About the Author
Michele Chynoweth is the best-selling and award-winning author of The Faithful One, The Peace Maker, The Runaway Prophet and The Jealous Son, contemporary suspense/romance novels that re-imagine Bible stories. Michele is also a sought-after public speaker who has addressed a variety of writers’ conferences and other organizations across the country, a book coach/editor, a college writing instructor, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, and lives with her husband in North East, Maryland.
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About the Book
“A bold, tragic, and emotionally exploratory drama.” ~ Kirkus Reviews
Banned from their home in the Navajo Nation as a result of their disobedience, Eliza and Alex Trellis build a new life for themselves and their two sons. Although life is a daily struggle, the boys grow up healthy and happy—until the oldest son Cameron starts to become envious of his younger brother and bandmate Austin, who gets everything he wants—fame, fortune and all that goes with it. Jealous that his brother seems to unfairly gain the attention of their parents, the accolades of the world and the love of his girl, Cameron seeks to find justice once and for all. A modern-day murder mystery based on the story of Cain and Abel, The Jealous Son portrays what happens when envy goes too far.
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4 thoughts on “Author Interview with Michele Chynoweth”
Your book sounds very intriguing and the book cover looks very intriguing also. Thank you so much for sharing about this book. I will be adding it to my TBR list. Do your book characters talk to you, and if they do, have you had to change anything in the story because of it? Have a Great day and stay safe. God Bless you.
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Hi Alicia, Thank you for your kind comments about my novel, The Jealous Son and please let me know what you think of it after you read it…and of course I would love a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. In answer to your question, yes, sometimes I hear my characters’ “voices” in my head (ie., how they’d react to a situation or someone, or their thoughts) and it will drive the story in a particular direction or prompt me to add a new scene. Eliza Trellis (the Eve character who starts narrating the book in Chapter 1) and her son Cameron (based on Cain) were the most prominent voices in The Jealous Son and sometimes they went to some pretty dark places…which was hard for me but made the story more suspenseful! Thanks again for your question and comment and please feel free to stay in touch! (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) God bless, Michele
Thank you for sharing, this sounds like a really good book. I like the modern re-telling of Biblical stoires as I think they can impact us a bit more when we see them in ways we can relate to based on how we live our lives in this day and age.
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Thank you for your comment! It’s funny, I never set out to write novels based on Bible stories…but I guess God had a plan when He called me to write the first one based on Job (and helped me through my own Job-like crises and despair at the time.) This whole writing journey has helped me look at the Scriptures in a whole new way and identify and relate to the people in them and the messages I believe God is trying to convey to us today – and see the Bible’s relevance to us right here, right now. Thanks again for reminding me of this. God bless!