Exciting news you guys!! Firstly, I was invited to be on Katrina’s Hamel’s book launch team for her book, Dividing Sword. Secondly, I had the opportunity to do an interview with Katrina Hamel, my favorite Christian author! Her book, Dividing Sword, blew me away… So, this is a really exciting interview for me to share!
Her novel grabbed my attention. I felt like I was there meeting Jesus for the first time! Before reading her book, I hadn’t ever imagined meeting Him on earth and seeing Him as a person who later proves He is the Messiah. Katrina Hamel really brings the book of Matthew to life!
After reading her book, I had so many questions for her because I was so excited by her book. So, I am beyond thrilled to share my interview with Katrina Hamel.
If you haven’t read Dividing Sword, you can find Dividing Sword here.
Interview with Katrina Hamel: Dividing Sword
1. Have you always wanted to be an author? If not, when did you decide that becoming an author was a dream you wanted to pursue?
I did always want to be a writer. I wrote a few novels as a pre-teen and teen, though I never tried to get them published. Even then I was critical of my own writing! Even into my twenties, I felt like I needed to experience more of life before I could write well. I still feel that way sometimes!
2. The addition of your details and dialogue in the book added so much to the book of Matthew for me. At what age did you start writing dialogue for stories/characters in the Bible?
I didn’t start writing Bible-based fiction until just recently. I loved books like the “Mark of the Lion” series by Francine Rivers, and the classic “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ,” by Lew Wallace. But I didn’t think I personally could tackle writing a book like that. I took the advice “write what you know,” a little too literally! I was rather nervous about tackling the wondrous gospel story as a novel, especially as my first foray into the published world!
About Katrina Hamel’s Book Dividing Sword
3. What made you choose to write from a perspective of Peter’s wife?
I wanted to see through the eyes of Peter’s wife (who I named Beth) because I knew I didn’t want to write from the perspective of one of the apostles, yet I still wanted to be in the thick of the story. Beth could take me there. While my version of Peter’s wife is fictional, Peter’s wife could have traveled with Jesus. Matthew speaks of “many women . . . who had followed Jesus from Galilee while ministering to Him.” This one phrase cracked open the door to a world where any of us could have walked with Jesus and served Him, even as a first-century woman living in a vastly different culture. Beth served as the conduit through which I could voice my own fears and questions about the kingdom of heaven, and where I could explore stepping out in faith, despite my anxieties.
4. Who do you relate to in Dividing Sword most?
I write from two perspectives: Beth, and then her cousin Reuben. In each of them, I see fragments of myself. Beth personifies my own fears for my family’s safety, in an age of uncertainty and random violence. With Reuben, I see my need to question everything! And like him, once I’ve made up my mind, I stubbornly stick to it—a blessing and a curse.
5. Dividing Sword changed how I saw Jesus. He really came alive for me. Did you feel God sharing Himself with you in pursuing this story?
There was never a moment where I felt the Holy Spirit take over and the words just poured onto the page; but, this is the most intricate plot I’ve ever written. I truly feel that God gave me inspiration and encouragement. I grew in my own faith by spending so much time in one book of the Bible. I also believe that God speaks to us through other Christians, and I had numerous wise advisors!
There was a neat moment when I was trying to land on a final title for the book. I asked my family to pray with me about it, and the next morning my Dad and I discovered that we had both felt drawn to Matthew 10:34!
Another one was Beth’s name. I picked it without giving in too much thought—it was soft, like her, and I thought it worked as a shortened form of the Biblical name Elizabeth. It wasn’t until the book was almost finished that I realized Beth is the Jewish word for “house”, such as Bethlehem, which means “house of bread”. Considering Beth’s wishes for a quiet life at home, and her reluctance at leaving home, the name really fits the story! Was that God tinkering in my imagination? I don’t know, but it is fun to wonder.
writing Dividing Sword
6. How long did it take you to write Dividing Sword from start to finish?
By the one year mark, I was done with the second draft of the book. At that point, I felt happy with the story itself, though it was still rather rough. I spent the next year on small detail edits and then formatting the book.
7. What is the most important thing you hope your readers take away?
Oh, it’s hard to pick just one! I’m not trying to replace scripture, and my greatest hope is that the first thing people do when they’re finished Dividing Sword is to go back and read Matthew!
I want my readers to feel the truth of the Bible stories, and to believe that the people of the scriptures were living, breathing men and women just like us. The apostles are not an unattainable standard or fairy-tale characters. God meets us where we are, and works within our individuality. Jesus used Peter’s boldness, even though Peter often had things the wrong way around. Beth is shy, and her journey to faith is not to lose her quiet qualities, but to work within them. There is a scene where her anxieties serve to spread the good news of Christ!
Learn more about God and who He is! 15 Attributes of God
Interview with Katrina Hamel: where to find her
8. Where can we find more stories like this?
In preparation for my book launch, I started blogging in July 2018, and since then I’ve added over 30 short stories to my website and I’m not done yet! Writing the Biblical short stories has done so much to increase my knowledge and understanding of the Bible, and I hope that they bless others.
9. Are there more books in the works?
After taking a month off, I’m just starting research for my next book! I’d like to continue to keep digging into the first-century world. I’m fascinated to learn more about the early church and how it grew, even with all the danger and frustrations. I really enjoy the research, and I’m excited to type the words, “Chapter One” again!
Katrina Hamel Biography
Katrina lives in Alberta, Canada, where the long, dark winters give her ample time to write late into the night at her kitchen table. This summer Katrina is eagerly anticipating long summer days at the lake with her husband and four children, enjoying crackling fires and a good book on the beach.
Katrina Hamel: Dividing Sword Conclusion
I hope you take the opportunity to follow this talented author as she continues to write and share the Gospel through her Bible-based novels. Katrina Hamel: Dividing Sword definitely created a whole new interest for me in Christian fiction.
Above all, even though it is Christian fiction, Katrina Hamel did her research in Dividing Sword and shares all about the Jewish traditions and culture in Jesus’ time. In conclusion, her work is educational and truly inspirational. Not to mention, it is hard to put down!
I am really grateful to have been able to share this interview with Katrina Hamel with you guys! So, if you haven’t already, get your copy of Dividing Sword.