Thursday, May 24, 2012

Love: Old Testament Style: An interview with Rachelle Ayala

Today I'm talking with Rachelle Ayala about her Old Testament-inspired romance, MICHAL'S WINDOW.


1) Tell us about your book.

MICHAL'S WINDOW is an epic love story between the often maligned daughter of King Saul and the beloved king of Israel, David. In a time when women, even royalty, were considered property, Michal asserted herself with her love for David. Ultimately, it is a story that resonates with women everywhere, who must make difficult choices in the face of cultural and sexual pressure.

2) What inspired you to write this book?

Michal struck me as being a strong and unusual woman. She dared to risk her father's alienation to save the man she loved, and later, she dared to rebuke her husband, the king when he danced wildly in the streets of Jerusalem. No other woman in the Bible loved a man. No other woman was married to two men at the same time, and no other woman suffered the fall from cherished princess to dishonored wife.

3) The Old Testament stories of David and his wives, even if one were to include material from the Apocrypha, are relatively sparse on low-level detail. How did you go about filling in the gaps? 

*Laughes* That was easy. Whenever I read the Bible, I daydream. I run a live movie through my mind to visualize the events. The Bible is extremely graphic, but people pass over major tragedies in a few words. I put myself back in time and place, and soon David and his wives are as alive to me as Desperate Housewives. Their personalities fill in, they bicker, they scheme, and most of all, they try to figure out what their lives mean.

4) What sort of themes do you explore in this work?

The surface theme is love and redemption. Michal stands for the nation of Israel. She is loved by her husband, rejected, and redeemed at the end. Her trials and struggles mirror that of the Jewish nation. Some of her choices disturbed me, but given the prophetic nature of Michal, I was constrained to finish the story the way I did. If you know the Bible well, you'll see types and figures in many of the characters. The entire history of Israel from the calling of Abraham in Genesis to the last call in Revelations 22 is portrayed by Michal's fictional life.

5) In addition to the obvious use of the Old Testament, what other sort of research did you do to bring this ancient period to life?

I gathered many reference books, too numerous to list, of life in ancient Israel. My most useful reference was a travelogue I found online, J. W. McGarveyLands of the Bible (1881). The Bible remained my primary source, and I focused on 1st and 2nd Samuel, Psalms and the books of Jeremiah through Malachi.

6) What are your thoughts on these recent archaeological discoveries ( that some suggest are the palace of King David?

I so wish that time machine I ordered two centuries from now would arrive so I can go back to the time of King David and explore his palace and his surroundings. Joking aside, I'm excited that archaeologists have unearthed part of David's kingdom. Of course, skeptics will be skeptics, but David and his wives are as real to me as any people who jump off the page of Scripture.

7) Although the Old Testament has inspired countless dramatic presentations throughout the years for a variety of religions, its religious nature often makes it inherently riskier for story adaptations. Were you concerned about that when you wrote the story? This can be both a difficulty in religious readers worried about potential liberties and non-religious readers being wary of religiously inspired stories (something that influenced the failure of NBC's recent modern take on the King David story, Kings).

I'd like to think my bookw will appeal to both the religious reader who enjoys a more fleshed out, true-to-life presentation as well as the non-religious reader who may want to dip their toe into a fascinating and gritty story based on Biblical characters. I wrote the story that came to me. Did I censor myself? Possibly. I removed several sex scenes. I lived most of my life as an atheist and only twelve years as a Christian, so I feel comfortable writing in a way that does not preach and push a particular viewpoint. I noticed early on that the Philistines were intimately entangled in the lives of the Israelites. Their society was as multicultural as ours is, hence I incorporated Philistine characters to fill out some of the minor roles and expanded on one particular man, Ittai, who has since become a reader favorite.

8) Please tell us about your other projects.

Like all creative people, I have more story ideas than time to write. My next novel, BROKEN BUILD is a contemporary romantic suspense about software engineers in Silicon Valley. Fast cars, fast CPUs, and fast women spanning three weeks around Black Friday 2012. After that, I'm mulling a psychological thriller about two sisters in love with one man and perhaps a romantic triangle between a concert violinist, a man with a valuable violin, and a dashing rogue of a violin maker. But who knows what story idea will grab ahold of me and refuse to let go.


Thanks, Rachelle.

MICHAL'S WINDOW is available for purchase at Amazon.

Author Bio:

Rachelle Ayala was a software engineer until she discovered storytelling works better in fiction than real code. She has over thirty years of writing experience and has always lived in a multi-cultural environment. The tapestry of characters in her books reflect that diversity.

Rachelle is currently working on a romantic suspense involving software engineers. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has three children and has taught violin and made mountain dulcimers.

Visit her at: or follow @AyalaRachelle on Twitter.

1 comment:

Joansz said...

Thank you for this very interesting interview. This book is near the top of my leaning tower of TBR.