Today I am please to welcome author Angela Hunt to I & R. Angela is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 150 published books, with nearly 6 million copies of her books sold worldwide. Angela’s novels have won or been nominated for the RWA RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Christian Book Award, and the Holt Medallion. Four of her novels have received ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award, and Angela is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from both the Romantic Times Book Club and ACFW. Angela holds a doctorate in biblical studies and another in theology. She and her husband make their home in Florida.
Today, Angela is going to talk to us about her latest book (and our Book of the Month for July), The Woman From Lydia. And we are giving away a print copy to one lucky winner in Canada and one winner in the States!
Angela, welcome to Interviews & Reviews!
Can you tell us a little about your new novel The Woman from Lydia, book one in THE EMISSARIES series?
The first novel in this new series focuses on the women mentioned in Acts as Lydia, the first European convert to Christianity. I loved investigating her story and had several questions about what happened to the slave girl who had been freed from demon possession.
What inspired the idea behind a series focusing on major Gentile cities in the Roman Empire?
After writing eight novels centered on the Jews, I was eager to explore how the advent of the Messiah affected the Gentiles of the first century. The Woman from Lydia gave me a wonderful opportunity to do that.
How is this series different from other biblically based novels you’ve written?
Most biblical stories focus on the Jews—as is only natural—but Yeshua came to save the world, including Gentiles. This series allows me the opportunity to look at how Yeshua disrupted a pagan society, one that’s not too far removed from the world we live in today.
The woman from Lydia is more of a background character in the events of the New Testament. Why did you think her story worth telling?
First, she is a woman and yet she’s the first recorded Christian in Europe, and that’s remarkable. Second, she ran her own business, hosted the Corinthian church in her home, and was a pillar of the early Church—talk about being an example for us to emulate! She was amazing.
Holding two doctorates on the subject, you know quite a bit about the history of the Christian faith. What do you think readers should know about this period in history where your new series is set?
I’ve always felt that Gentle Christians, including myself, have done ourselves a disservice by not learning all we can about the Jews of this period. So much of the Old Testament, the prophets, and even the Intertestamental Period are important when we consider Jesus the Messiah. Moreover, we must honor those brave Gentiles who brought the gospel message to the pagan world of Rome, long before Christianity was an established and “respectable” religion.
We Christians in the twenty-first century should be inspired by their examples of courage and dedication.
What lessons can the lives and experiences of early believers teach modern Christians today?
The early believers spoke up when it was right to do so, despite threats to their lives, their wealth, and their reputations. They stood against the tide of public opinion and bravely obeyed a God they had not known in childhood or even in their culture. But the emissaries—the disciples and apostles Yeshua sent out—carried the light of the gospel into their dark world, and they willingly received it, sometimes at great cost to themselves.
What led you to pursue degrees in biblical studies and theology?
Two things: First, I love learning, and theology really is the Queen of Sciences. Without knowing God, none of the other sciences make sense. Second, I feel a great responsibility to “get it right” in my novels. I don’t want to stand before Jesus and learn that I made a theological mistake that misled someone.
Do you think it’s important for believers to be well versed in the history of their faith?
I think it’s important to know history, but more important than knowing dates and names and facts is being able to take the lessons of history and apply it to our lives. What happened to the fathers will happen to the sons, and we will face the same temptations, trials, and situations those people faced—even more so as the days grow short.
What are you working on next?
I’m currently writing book two in THE EMISSARIES series, I’ve just written a passion play for a group of believers in Memphis, and I’m excited about an Advent devotional coming out in the fall of 2023. I’ve learned so much about the historical basis of Christmas, and I can’t wait to share the way things really were and the amazing miracle of the Messiah’s birth.
I'll be looking forward to that. How can readers connect with you?
My website (www.angelahuntbooks.com) has a contact page that sends emails straight to my inbox. I love hearing from readers and am grateful for each email.
Thank you for sharing with us today, Angela! If you would like to win a copy of The Woman From Lydia, fill out the form below! One winner will be chosen from Canada to receive a print copy and one winner will be chosen from the U.S. to receive a print copy. This giveaway will end Wednesday, August 9, 2023. Winners will be announced here, on Facebook, and notified by email.
Congratulations to Beverly L. & Bonny R.