As a Bible study teacher I’m greatly interested in what happened to Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. and how it affected the Jews, especially the believers in Jesus who were known as followers of The Way. I believe we are at a place in time when we can learn much from these believers as well as from that particular time frame in history.
Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
Rebekah is by far my favorite and the one I was most interested in because she is a wife and mother having to make decisions for herself and family while living in a very dangerous world, much like our world today. And her decisions and actions reflect her faith walk with the Lord. Whether it’s 70 A.D. or 2014, many of these problems are the same, and the answer to them is still the same: faith in a God who is more than able to see you through. The other thread that is constant throughout the book is that of “treasure.” In this materialistic world it is just as important to understand what our true treasure is as it was in Rebekah’s day, and she understood that.
What started you on your writing journey?
Love of story telling. I used to sit around with my friends and we’d make up stories. I starting writing my first novel in the 8th grade, but never finished. Eight graders don’t generally have much staying power for such a lengthy project. I wanted to write stories that were exciting and captivating. After I came to the Lord I still wanted to write stories that where exciting and captivating but that also reflected Judeo-Christian values and perhaps some answers to life’s questions—answers only found in God’s Word. Jesus was a story teller. In His parables He was able to reveal important spiritual truths in a way that was nonthreatening and easy to receive. That’s what I love most about Christian fiction. It too can reveal spiritual truths in a nonthreatening way.
What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Nothing can take me away from my writing faster than my family. I have two wonderful grown children and two wonderful grandchildren, plus in-laws. I can never resist an invitation to a school function or one of the grandchildren’s sporting event or an invitation to lunch or dinner, because this is how family memories are made.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
Although I absolutely love fiction, most of my reading these days is non-fiction since I’m also a Bible study teacher, and with writing and my family, time constraints force me to be selective and opt for something that can aid in my Bible studies. I’ve recently finished reading Ancient Messianic Festivals by Ken Johnson, Th.D., Secrets of the Well by Shane Warren, and The Throne Zone by Keith Duncan, all wonderful.
What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?
I grew up as an “army brat” so I moved nearly every three years and lived in several states, including Hawaii. This accomplished three things. First I was able to see so much of my wonderful America and appreciate its diversity. Secondly, it made me realize that people all over, though they may be diverse in some ways, are basically the same, with the same needs, the same desires, and because of that we can all relate to each other on some level. And lastly, it made me realize that home is truly where the heart is. It doesn’t matter so much where you live but more if you’re with the people you love.
What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
Our family dynamics have changed so much with many moving away and some going home to be with the Lord. But oh, how I remember Sunday dinners at my mother-in-laws. There were always fifteen of us around the dinner table—the immediate family, but if the cousins and aunts and uncles came, too, the tally could go as high as sixty.
The hours flew by as we ate good Italian food and talked and laughed. Having married into a large Italian family it was tradition to celebrate everything with food. And how the Bambolas could eat! My very first meal at my mother-in-law's house was a prelude to my future. It was then that I discovered that a can of Franco American Spaghetti and a loaf of French bread was NOT Italian food.
My mother-in-law served pasta, the kind that came out of a box and had to be boiled in water. And sauce . . . the kind that bubbled for hours and contained meatballs made from scratch, and sausages, and stuffed pig skin. Up until then I had never seen such a sight. That day, the large Bambola tribe sat around a big concrete table in the back yard where I shamelessly gorged myself, then pushed away the empty plate and thanked my hostess for the delicious meal.
My mother-in-law laughed in that sweet way of hers and said, “Dinner? Oh, no. That was first dish. NOW we’ll have dinner.” And out came breaded chicken, a roast beef, salad and several vegetables. The meal lasted for hours as we talked, laughed and joked through it. I can’t think of a nicer way to be introduced to Italian food.
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
My favorite spiritual theme is redemption. I love to write of the love and mercy of God. I believe all my books reflect this either overtly, as in Refiner’s Fire a story about the persecuted church in Rumania, Tears in a Bottle, a story about abortion, or more subtly as in both Waters of Marah and Return to Appleton.
Could you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?
During the past three years I’ve come to experience first hand 2 Corinthians 12:9. “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” This scripture is so special to me because it’s the scripture God gave me when my beloved husband of nearly forty-four years lost his battle with cancer and went home to glory. This passage is not merely words. It truly was and is life to me.
During the blackest times God reminded me again and again that His grace was there for me, that His strength is made perfect in my weakness. And weak as I was, when I stood on it, when I appropriated 2 Corinthians 12:9 in faith, God never failed. NEVER. His grace pulled me through time and time again.
Yes, there was a natural grieving process that took place, but even in the midst of my sorrow, I felt His joy, His love, and His empowerment. We serve a mighty God who says what He means and means what He says. We just need to believe and stand on His Word.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
My next book, The Salt Covenants, will be coming out January 2015. It’s about how a young 15th century Jewish girl, who has converted to Christianity, escapes the Spanish Inquisition and ends up in the New World.
Thanks for sharing with us today!
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Sylvia Bambola is giving away a copy of Rebekah's Treasure. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.