Romancing History

Tag: Barbara Britton

Historic Triumphs & Trials, Guest Post & Giveaway by Barbara Britton

Please welcome my friend and fellow Pelican Book Group author, Barbara Britton, back to Romancing History. Barb’s latest novel, Heavenly Lights, releases today and she’s here to share the challenges she faced creating a main character who is hearing impaired.

I’m currently reading Lioness, the first book in the “Daughters of Zelophehad” series. If you haven’t had a chance to read this one yet, or any of Barb’s books, I encourage you to check out her Amazon page here and start reading. Her stories are filled with action, Biblical history, and characters that grab your heart.

Barb has generously offered an E-copy of Heavenly Lights to one Romancing History reader. So, be sure to see the details at the bottom of the post.

Historic Triumphs and Trials

Guest Post by Barbara Britton


I am happy to be spending my release day for Heavenly Lights: Noah’s Journey with my friend and fellow Pelican author, Kelly, and with all her blog readers. When I started writing about the daughters of Zelophehad, I only thought I would write one book. After I finished my manuscript, I realized these brave sisters did not have their inheritance of land. The girls had the promise of land, and they were told who they could marry, but they didn’t own anything yet. The Israelites took more than seven years to conquer Canaan, and if I included all of the stories in the book of Joshua in my manuscript, I would have a 100,000-word story. Publishers do not buy books of that length anymore. I decided to follow the sisters through the book of Joshua with two more books—Heavenly Lights and Claiming Canaan. Easy, right?

Heavenly Lights would have been easier to write if I hadn’t made my hero in the story a shepherd who couldn’t hear and who couldn’t speak (This is why my advice to authors is to plan a series before you write it). What was I going to do with Jeremiah, a shepherd, and Noah’s love interest (Noah is a woman for those who haven’t read my novels)? Before I panicked too much, I realized that I could write a deaf character since my mother had lost her hearing. I knew firsthand the issues involved in communicating with someone who can’t hear.

American Sign Language did not exist in the period of Joshua and the daughters of Zelophehad. I had to create hand signals that Noah and Jeremiah could share. Personally, I do not know ASL, but I have specific hand movements that I use with my mom.

Noah would have to incorporate certain communication skills into her life. What would those be?

She would have to face Jeremiah when she spoke to him, so he could read her lips. She might have to touch him to get his attention if he was focused on his flocks. Yelling across a field is useless. I learned calling from another room to my mother wasn’t going to get a response. I laugh when she calls to me from another room. I have pretty good hearing, but sometimes I can’t figure out what she is saying.

At times, you may have to repeat what you say to someone who has a hearing deficiency. I find after three attempts that a talk-to-text app on a smart phone works well, or a small white board with Expo markers gets my point across. Of course, Jeremiah doesn’t have an i-phone and he certainly doesn’t have a caption phone. I gave Noah a healthy helping of patience and understanding to befriend Jeremiah.

If someone has a small amount of hearing left, a pocket talker can magnify words into a good ear. Technology was nil in the days of the daughters of Zelophehad, and unfortunately deaf people were seen as being cursed. When I crafted Jeremiah, I gave him an awareness of his surroundings that was unique. Jeremiah’s faith in God did not waver even though he faced challenges being deaf.

Would I change Jeremiah’s character if I had it to do it over again? Nope. Jeremiah is perfect the way I created him. He is one of my favorite characters and so far, he is a favorite of readers, too. Noah isn’t too bad herself.

I hope you enjoy my story about the daughters of Zelophehad and how they go forth with God into the challenging times of the conquest of Canaan. A rugged shepherd is by their side and so is the Good Shepherd.

About the Book


Book blurb for “Heavenly Lights: Noah’s Journey”—Fiction from Joshua 5-8:

Noah bat Zelophehad might have broken tradition by being able to inherit her father’s land, but her heart’s desire is to have the finest herds in all of Israel, something an orphaned and unmarried woman has never achieved.

Jeremiah ben Abishua cannot speak, nor hear. God has made his thoughts captive to his mind. But he can communicate with one shepherdess, a woman who sees his skill with animals and treats him like a man worthy of respect.

When their people disobey God and incur his wrath, Noah and Jeremiah must overcome tragedy in order to change perceptions in the tribes of Israel. Will their kinship desire to care for one another and the four-legged creatures God has placed in their care, be able to flourish in a land filled with enemies of the One True God?

God gave Noah bat Zelophehad four sisters, a way with four-legged creatures, and a strong spirit. She will need all three gifts to thrive in the Promised Land of God and find love with a special shepherd.

Heavenly Lights on Amazon, B&N, or Apple Books.

About Barb

Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little-known Bible characters to light in her stories. Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Find out more about Barb’s books on her website, or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads.


This Giveaway is now closed!

Congrats to Nicole, the winner of a copy of Heavenly Lights!

The Daughters of Zelophehad series is about a group of women who change history by seeking and securing a land inheritance that was unheard of in their day. To enter the drawing for the E-copy of Heavenly Lights, tell us what aspect of being a woman in Biblical times would be the most challenging for you.

*Giveaway ends, midnight Wednesday, February 26, 2020.


Barbara Britton Brings the Bible to Life

Today I’m excited to introduce you to a new writing friend and fellow Pelican Book Group author, Barbara Britton. Barb writes Biblical fiction infused with rich details from  Hebrew Scriptures–the Old Testament. Her latest book, Jerusalem Rising: Adah’s Journey, takes place during the time of Nehemiah.

AND, there’s a giveaway! Details at the bottom of the post!

Before we start the interview, here’s a bit about , “Jerusalem Rising: Adah’s Journey.”

When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah’s unexpected visit—God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David.

Nehemiah challenges the men of Jerusalem to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Should her father who rules a half-district of Jerusalem be forgotten forever?

Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city’s wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside of the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God’s call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same rocks they hope to raise.

Welcome, Barbara. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your writing.

Hi Kelly! I am happy to be here talking about history and romance.

I’m a California girl who has lived in Connecticut, Texas, Illinois, and for the past sixteen years—Wisconsin. I’m celebrating thirty years married this month. Yahoo! I have two boys who are twenty-somethings. I love the Lord and I taught chapel for many years at a Christian school. Bible stories are the best. My husband gave me wonderful advice for teaching kids…don’t bore them with the Bible. It’s the most exciting book ever. I have to agree, that’s why writing Biblical fiction is so much fun. I say I write Bible stories with kissing.

What was the inspiration behind your recent novel?

“Jerusalem Rising” follows the narrative of Nehemiah, chapters 1-8. I always say, “God has the best story lines.” Nehemiah left the comforts of the palace at Susa and returned to the city of his fathers to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. This wasn’t an easy task even with the king’s blessing. Bad guys show up and the politics among the Hebrew people weigh on Nehemiah’s heart. The wall gets built in 52 days with God’s provision. Nehemiah was a man of prayer who boldly followed God in this task of restoring Jerusalem.

What historical facts did you learn in writing this book?

I have taught the story of Nehemiah many times, but the lessons did not include some of the women in this narrative. How did I miss Nehemiah 3:12 where Shallum and his daughters are listed as wall builders? Women construction workers? Yes, in the Bible. We don’t know how many daughters Shallum had, or their names, but I gave him two daughters Adah and Judith.

Also, there is a prophetess named in the book of Nehemiah. Her name is Noadiah (Neh. 6:14) and she works against Nehemiah. In fact, Nehemiah asks God to remember Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who “have been trying to intimidate me.” Whoa! That’s not very prophet—y. All those years of teaching and I missed these women who played important roles in God’s plan.

What are some other fun facts you’ve learned about writing Biblical fiction?

It’s difficult to write romance in Biblical fiction because there was no PDA in Bible times. Men and women did not touch, let alone kiss, in public. My characters have kissed in a dark cave, behind a door, and in a vacant shepherd’s pit. Not the most romantic of places!

Barb’s eldest son visited Israel in January and had his picture taken outside of Jerusalem with “Jerusalem Rising.”

Here’s an excerpt from “Jerusalem Rising: Adah’s Journey.”

She reached for the mint-scented oil and dabbed a drop on a piece of cloth. The aroma of the crushed leaves usually calmed her spirit. One breath. Rest. A second. She opened her eyes and stood with insides wrapped tighter than a weaver’s thread. How was she going to stack stones when she could barely lift them?

She shuffled her jar back and forth over a flat knot in the table’s grain. “Lord, I need guidance,” she prayed.

“If you rub that bottle any faster it may break.”

Adah whipped around at the sound of Othniel’s voice.

He leaned against the threshold to her workshop, arms crossed and resting comfortably across his belt.

Had he heard her prayer? She glanced at her hand. A small tremor unsteadied her fingers.

“I’m mixing oils.” He can see that.

He strolled closer, his smile as content as a well-fed lamb. “May I?” He held out his hand for the vessel. No dust covered his skin this morning and the curls she spied escaping from under his turban were dark as charcoal. He hadn’t been in the fields digging in forsaken soil. Not yet anyway.

She offered him a different jar. “I hope you find this soothing.”

He breathed deep. “Ahh. I am in a shady grove with a sea of moss and buds aplenty.”

“Will you take me there, so I can flee humiliation?”

“You cannot leave.” He returned the fragrant mixture to her. “All around the market people are talking about how Shallum and his daughters are going to restore a section of the wall.”

Turning slightly toward her wares, she attempted to cap the bottle of tuberose and agar wood oils. Her fingers fumbled the carved poplar cap. Three tries later her mixture was stoppled and set with the others. “I would not doubt King Artaxerxes has heard of my madness.”

Her belly cramped. She had volunteered to rebuild the wall, so her family would be remembered not ridiculed. She faced Othniel and forced a reluctant grin

“Come now.” His voice calmed her soul more than the mint leaves. “Your father agreed to the work as did your family.”

“Alas, I am convincing as well as conniving. My father cannot labor like a young man. I will be the death of him.” Her heart beat as swift as the rhythm Othniel drummed on the table. She sighed. “I will speak with Nehemiah today.”

“Then he should refuse your appointment.” He opened his arms wide as if to embrace her.

She stood as still as a statue.

He stepped closer. “I am here to assist you.”

Could God have acted this swiftly in answering her plea? Or was Othniel offering his services out of pity? She shook her head. The gossip muttered among the barterers could not have been kind.

Barb’s Giveaway

Barb has graciously offered to giveaway one copy of any of her books in either E-reader or paperback format–winner’s choice. To enter, comment below by Thursday, May 10, and tell us which Biblical story inspires you the most and why?

The Giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Deborah Hackett who will win a copy of any of Barb’s books!

Barbara M. Britton lives in Wisconsin and writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb brings little known Bible characters to light in her Tribes of Israel series. You can find out about Barb’s books on her website, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.



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