Anytime Tracy Higley weaves a tale rooted in a biblical story, I’m on board. And her latest release, So Shines the Night, might be her best offering to the biblical fiction genre yet.
So Shines the Night, set in 57 A.D., tells the story of Daria, a widowed teacher who escapes the island of Rhodes with the help of a wealthy merchant, Lucas, who is headed to the bustling city of Ephesus. He hires Daria as a tutor, but it isn’t long before Daria becomes frustrated with a mysterious quest that consumes Lucas’ mind and time. She begins to fear that the evil she has sought to escape in her past has found her in Ephesus, and she pleads with Lucas to keep away from the sorcery that is gaining a hold on the city. In the midst of her mission to save Lucas and avoid evil, she meets followers of The Way, including Paul and Timothy, who help Daria when her questions put her in danger and when Lucas is imprisoned for a brutal crime. A spiritual battle for power follows, and Daria must decide if the One True God of Paul and Timothy is powerful enough to overcome evil.
Check out this video, on location in Ephesus, for another look at the story.
The story is taken from events in Acts 19, and Higley’s writing is so vivid and well-researched that I could see the characters’ actions as I read. Her fiction breathes life into the words of Scripture that sometimes become so familiar we forgot about the feelings and actions of the story’s participants.
I love how Higley’s characters feel and have internal struggles and change over time. And I love the glimpse into first-century Christianity. I don’t often think about how dangerous and joyous and life-changing it was.
And because today is LAUNCH DAY for the book, you could win more books, or at least the money to buy more books. Tracy is giving away a $50 gift card to celebrate the book’s release. To enter, click here or on the graphic.
Want to see the inside of a writer’s mind? (Don’t answer that!) Read on for a quick three questions with Tracy Higley.
What’s one thing you learned about Ephesus and its importance to Christians that you found surprising/interesting/challenging?
I had never realized or noticed until studying this time in Paul’s life, how much time he spent there (nearly three years). I always pictured him hopping around from place to place fairly quickly. I was challenged by the time that he invested in people’s lives, the relationships and bonds he formed. Later, when the Ephesian elders said goodbye to him, the book of Acts tells us that they were literally weeping. It’s easy for me to minister to people “from afar” but I was really challenged by Paul’s relational approach to sharing Christ.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
Keep writing. If you haven’t finished anything, keep writing. If you’ve finished something and are trying to submit and sell it somewhere, don’t wait for an answer, keep writing. If you’ve gotten some interest and it’s moving through the process, keep writing. The publishing industry can move very slowly, and the best way to be ready for your “big break” is to keep improving through practice, practice, practice.
What’s one thing on your bucket list (even if i you don’t have an official “list”)?
I think I might like to skydive someday. I’ve never admitted that before! (And now I’m terrified.)
In exchange for my review, I received a copy of the book from Thomas Nelson through the Booksneeze program.