AUTHOR BIO: Jill Eileen Smith is the author of Sarai, book one in the Wives of the Patriarchs series, and the bestselling author of the Wives of King David series. When she isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with her family--in person, over the webcam, or by hopping a plane to fly across the country. She can often be found reading, testing new recipes, grabbing lunch with friends, or snuggling one or both of her adorable cats. She lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

To learn more about Jill or for more information about her books, visit her website at 

What research did you do to prepare you to write this story?

I had to step back 1000 years from King David’s era and move from Israel to Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt and Ancient Canaan. This meant acquiring new research books about culture, worship, customs, geography, and history. It took about a month of reading before I began writing Sarai. But the hardest work always comes with the first book in a series.

Out of all the biblical fiction you've written so far which woman’s story has touched you the most? Why?

That’s tough to say. Each one has taught me something different. I related to Rebekah because she had two sons. I have three. While I cannot understand her favoritism, I do understand a mother’s love for her sons and how strong a bond that can be. I learned from Rebekah what not to do in those relationships!

How did you come about to write biblical fiction? What’s the draw for you?

When I was sixteen, I read Marjorie Holmes’ Two From Galilee. That story changed the way I saw the people in Scripture. Suddenly, they were real! I was drawn to biblical fiction from that moment on and read nearly every book I could find in the genre.

Do you see yourself writing stories other than characters from the Bible? If you could write in any genre (and guarantee it would sell) what would you write about? Why?

I've actually written several books in other genres that are not yet sold. Biblical fiction was not popular when I got into it, and it took many years before that big break came. In the meantime, I wrote women’s fiction and romantic suspense. If I were not writing biblical fiction, I would write romantic suspense, both historical and contemporary.

I've liked how your books bring the Bible character to life, humanize them and give the reader a glimpse into how it might have been. All Bible characters weren’t super heroes but real people like you and me. I like your writing style too. My question is this: how did you develop your gift of writing? Did you always have this desire, talent? If not when did you catch the writing bug?

Thank you for those kind words! I developed my knowledge of the writing craft in a rather backward way. I had always been able to communicate fairly well in writing, but fiction writing is a study all its own. I jumped in with both feet without really knowing what I was doing. I had co-taught a Bible study on King David, and when we finished I wanted to read a novel about his life. I couldn’t find one that satisfied, so I wrote the book I wanted to read. Twenty years later, I was finally good enough to see a completely different version of that story in print.

You mentioned in the author notes that this book was hard to write and almost didn’t come together. What was the struggle? What was hard?
Rebekah's Book Cover

Isaac is kind of an enigma in Scripture. We are told so little about him, and to many, he comes across as weak-willed in comparison to the decisive, deceptive Rebekah. (Especially in the story of Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing.) Genesis tells us a lot about Abraham and Jacob, but Isaac just gets a quick mention. The struggle came in finding the story that was there. I couldn't see it when I began writing it and prayed over every scene. But by the end, I had a new appreciation for Isaac and Rebekah and the complex nature of marriage and family relationships.

What has surprised you about being an author?
Me with the books in print at the time
The amount of time needed for secondary things – social media, publicity, keeping up with my blog, and then juggling edits with first drafts, dual deadlines, and interview requests. Sometimes I wish I could afford to pay an assistant to help with additional necessary work, but I’m managing. Maybe someday.


A friend of yours had a time machine and they are going to let you use it for a while. Where would you go? What would you do?

I would travel to the courts of King David and King Solomon and just watch what was going on around me.

You have the opportunity to hang out with two people for 48 hours. Who would those people be and what would you do? (We know that you’d want to spend time with Jesus – wondering who else).
On a whale watching boat in Monterey, CA

Besides my family and friends? I would love to be on a movie set with my kids as directors and hang out with whoever would have time to talk to me. I’d love to meet Stephen Spielberg.

The second choice: A Messianic Jewish rabbi who has a vast knowledge of the Scriptures. I would love to sit and learn from him and ask questions about the people I’ve written about.

You are shipwrecked on an uninhabited tropical island with a group of Christians – all friends and relatives of yours. You all have to work as a team to survive. Many roles have to be filled. Which role do you think you’d play?
My Cat Tiger

Peacemaker. I am a strong believer in forgiving each other and not letting the sun go down on our anger. A group like that, Christian or not, is going to have some strife at some point. I would want to try to fix that.
What movie greatly impacted you as a child? Why? If you didn't watch movies as a kid what book affected you?

I did watch movies as a child, but I was more impacted by books. Besides Two From Galilee in my teens, I loved Little Women and several other Louisa May Alcott books. I loved the Stormy, Misty’s Foal stories and the Little House on the Prairie books. All of these books increased my love of story.

What things would you not want to live without? (Besides your family and friends, what creature comforts would not want to do with out)
Tiger eating my page proofs

Indoor plumbing! Electricity. Automobiles. Airplanes. Skype. Computers. My iPhone! I love to live in the past in my romantic imagination, but I am a modern girl in all creature comforts!


Thank you for all of the great support for my books! I am grateful to each one of you for taking your valuable time to read my work. And if you enjoyed what you read, thank you for passing the word along to your friends and family. I truly appreciate all of the kind emails I've received over the years, and hope my work blesses you.

Readers can contact me at my website. You can also contact me at  I love hearing from her readers. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


I’m Thrilled that you’ll be at The Book Club Network this month. Revell is giving away 5 copies of Rebekah  this month. I’m looking forward to the interaction you’ll be having with readers. Great discussions and book fun ahead! I learned so much from your book. You have a gift of bringing biblical characters to life.

Thanks for helping us get to know you and your books betters.

HEAD on OVER TO TBCN and ENTER the DRAWING for Jill's books TODAY!! ALL ENTRIES MUST BE MADE AT TBCN - No entries are on this blog!!


Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to reading this one. I'll be sure to enter at TCBN today!
    LOVE your cat Jill! Beautiful markings on his fur!