Our interview today is with Paula Rose Micheson. Thanks Paula for being here today and for agreeing to do this interview.
Question: What do you think prepared you or qualifies you to write in your chosen genre?
Answer: Nothing qualified me to write except my desire to do something for God. Years before I began writing about Naomi, a friend heard me speak at various Women’s Ministries events. She noticed that each time I spoke I had written something, and wanted to publish my work. Long story short, we talked about doing one book together. That novel was going to be about three women who meet while hiking the Appalachian Trail and how the believing one’s faith impacts the others. Since one of the character was going to be a Sephardic (Spanish) Jew whose family was baptized into the Catholic faith to survive the Inquisition, I had to do some research about that time and what happened to the Spanish Jews and afterward. At that time, I did not know that God would use Naomi to bring me to the place where I had to admit that I could not do what I wanted to, without Naomi and ultimately Messiah’s help. Many call me an author, however, I know myself to be a very dyslectic scribe for God!
Question: Tell us a little about your “real” (Non-writing) life — family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help, from people or circumstances?
Answer: There is no division between my “real life and my writing life” because my husband, Ron is both a field missionary with Chosen People Ministries and a Lutheran Pastor. Prior to God gifting me the work I am now doing, I worked for the mission too. Our church is our family because our children are either far away or not walking with Messiah at this time. Either way, God knows their hearts are sealed in His and Ron and I know that He, the Lord of all, is building their testimony!
Question: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
Answer: The Casa de Naomi: House of Blessing Books were partner published. I learned a lot as I went through that process, during which I developed some wonderful caring relationships with other believers who generiously offered to help me when I started to edit Beginning Anew: The Naomi Chronicles, Book One. From the cover to the format (beautify done by my dear friend and fellow author, Karen Arnpriester), from the spelling to the punctuation (proofread by my dear English friend, Julia Gibbs), an editor whose father is a Pastor, (Tobi Helton), and because of the work being bathed in prayer by those who read the first two books and most especially because my Shuvah Yisrael Ladies Writers mishpuka (Yiddish for my extended family), I found myself blessed beyond belief to be able to gift this to my Kinsman Redeemer. Furthermore, from the prerelease to this very moment believers and nonbelievers, authors, proofreader, designers, and those who develop release strategies have poured their heart into this work. Because of these people, I can happily admit this isn’t just my offering to the Lord but through the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) this is a gift given by many; some who know and some that seem to be almost ready to claim Yeshua’s (Jesus’) forever atonement!
And, since many ask about my amazing covers, I’ll share that Karen let me select the bits and pieces and then being the talented graphic artist that she is, she set about to make the images I found on Istock uniquely mine!
Question: Since you have several books out, tell us what you think works for promotion. What are your thoughts on ebooks versus print books and different ways to let people know about you and your books?
Answer: Having depended upon my publisher to book signings for me in big box bookstores, I became sadly aware that just as my first book was being released many bookstores were closing. I also discovered that until new authors book sales reach 5000 the booksellers don’t want them due to high overhead. Furthermore, having attended signings for a few author friends, I soon realized that an unknown author trying to convince shoppers to buy their book when there are many authors the shopper may be looking for can be disheartening. With the demise of many small bookstores and the reality that books seem expensive and bulky many readers have transitioned to the E-reader format. I like my Kindle Paperwhite because I can store many more books on it than I can in my very small two bedroom abode. Furthermore, when I feel that I’m finished editing I send my books pdf to my Kindle for review. Doing this helps me see what I may not have noticed before because a change in format causes me to read the manuscript as if I’d bought the book. And, since I review books it allows me to do that without asking the author to pay for their book and ship it to me. All in all, though I love books and at the end of the age, when the earth is reduced to… books will be what is left, so I thank God that all my books are available in both paperback and e-reader formats on Amazon.
As far as what works in the marketing of books, I believe authors will do best when they use what suits them. Since I’m what many call a ‘working author’, which means, I’m able to hone my craft daily, I use Twitter to make friends who are likeminded and bookish things just naturally happen. And of course checking in with my Facebook family is a must. However, I have found, as many speakers do, that if invited to speak those that come to hear me will want a book or two. On rare occasions, I’ve been invited to speak at some very well-known Christian University libraries, and a few art galleries since some gallery owners believe my books are literature, which in writer shorthand means while they enjoy the read they learn something they believe to be valuable. I have also enjoyed doing outdoor book signs with my author friends.
Currently I am writing a readers theater script titled “From Fear to Faith: Excerpts for the Naomi Books.” I’m eager to see how the singers, music and readings come together, and grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to both direct stage productions and help a playwright friend of mine edit and stage some of her work. I say this because anytime an author can entertain an audience either with a reading, which I have done and love to do, or entertain using elements of their work, they become relatable and those who hear them become their fans. The first reading I did after my first book was published was attended by a handful of people. One woman stayed afterward, bought and read a book and arranged for me to speak at a woman’s event where 75 were in attendance. Because of this ladies high praise for my faith story all the books I brought were snatched up making it necessary for to return again.
Question: Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.
Answer: My latest book continues Naomi and Chaz’s story and can best be summed up by sharing two of my favorite five star reviews for Beginning Anew: The Naomi Chronicles, in which says,
Author, William Struse’s 5 star review of this sweet Christian romance with a Messianic twist, says, “A heroine learning to love the man she needs and a hero in love with a woman whose duty is tearing her apart. Together they find the strength to face their fears with love built upon an unshakable faith. Author Paula Rose Michelson captures the complexities of human emotion like few authors I’ve read. Passion, duty, fear, revenge, courage, prejudice and love are woven into this truly gripping story which so well illustrates that which makes us human.”
And author, Author, Lindsay Townsend‘s 5 star review says, “A Sweet Romance that is also a Journey of Faith. A bride and groom write letters of faith, hope and love to each other, a richly romantic gesture. They have discovered a new home for both of them, generously given. Will this home become a house of blessing?
As Naomi and Chaz begin their lives together, each embracing a deep religious heritage, they must learn to trust and to accept each other. All is not perfect. Naomi is highly strung and used to managing things in her own way. Chaz is beginning to understand the responsibilities of being the head of their new household. The pair also encounters some ugly bitterness because of their faith. The evil of anti-Semitism is powerfully revealed, and so are Chaz’s very real spiritual struggles as he comes to terms with a faith that is both old and new to him. Reading ‘Beginning Anew’ I was saddened to learn that such religious intolerance still exists, and shocked at the speed that ‘friends’ could change so swiftly from welcoming Chaz to turning away from him.
Yet there is much to celebrate. There is also friendship and support, the blessings of small and large gifts and sweet considerations, such as dining at a restaurant where the table for every newly-wed couple is laid using the same tablecloth as the restaurant owners did on their wedding day. The novel is full of fascinating insights into the Spanish Jews and also the American-Spanish Jews. I also really enjoyed the way Paula Rose Michelson describes and illuminates the light and love of marriage: the delights of the couple learning each other, the taking care of each other in sickness and health, and the rich anticipation of marriage, of becoming one. Their union is spiritual first and the struggles of the young couple to defer their earthly marriage until the right moment are charmingly and tellingly shown.
There are large themes in this novel: the search and yearning for family, the personal impact that the Jewish diaspora had on people and families. Naomi’s desire to search for her family but fears that they might not accept her now. And will two religious communities with deep shared roots, the Jewish and Christian, accept each other? At the end of the story there is hope.”
Question: What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?)
Answer: Once more, I find myself answering your question with a 5 star review, this time from Author, Katie Mettner of the wonderful “Sugar” books, who said, “The continuation of Naomi’s story is no less than spiritually riveting. As the title, “Beginning Anew” suggests Naomi and Chaz are doing just that, as husband and wife. They are trying to put the past behind them, but the master wordsmith, Ms. Michelson does not allow that to happen. The past is indeed a huge part of this story. Chaz is tested in his faith and while he walks through the valley of the shadow of doubt, Naomi is there to comfort him and show him the way. Naomi is going through her own challenges of deceit and vengeance. The Lord leads her to the answers and she in turn finds herself helping the same person who has hurt her. Throughout the book Naomi also learns more about her American “Tía” and the relationships Tía had in the past.”
Ms. Michelson relies heavily on the word of the Lord in her writing to show us exactly how Naomi and Chaz are feeling. She does it in a way that demonstrates her faithfulness and wisdom in Scripture and instills an inspirational feeling and understanding in the reader. Chaz and Naomi’s story is about redeeming love and the importance of letting God lead you and carry you in times of turmoil. Beginning Anew is the renewed commitment to a love story of the ages. Naomi and Chaz’s story will captivate you and leave you feeling inspired, and the end leaves you ready to find out more about how their story unfolds. I give Beginning Anew five stars for being a captivating labor of love that leaves you speechless, breathless and profoundly altered in your beliefs about love.”
Question: Share something that’s amazing, touching, or that makes you angry.
Answer: Amazing… that would be God letting me know who the Messiah was when I was 14 and then waiting for me to claim Him as my own when I was 40! Touching…Him caring for me and carrying me through the painful reality of my life. Because of all I went through, my worldly training, and what I learned when I came to Him, God gifted me LAMB Ministries, which exits to help women who suffered abuse and trauma by purging out the dross though the effective use of Scripture and prayer!
Question: What’s your next project? Tell us so we can’t wait for it to come out!
Answer: Since only three of the six Naomi books have been published, readers can look forward to the next novel “Sorrow Season: The Naomi Chronicles, Book Two being released towards the end of 2015. Between now and then, I’ll release an article called: From “’Why Johnny Can’t Read’ To “See Paula Write”, and the first LAMB Ministries recovery book titled: “How Did We Become Angry? Lamb Ministries 7×7: Biblical Recovery for Women Suffering from Trauma & Abuse, Book One”, which I’m glad to say has been endorsed by pastors, survivors, and teachers as well.
Question: How many books do you have out?
Answer: Three of the Naomi faith stories are available in paper back and e-reader formats.
Question: What is your writing style?
Answer: I write sweet Christian romance with a Messianic twist and a hint of history. Since style is something that matters less if one likes the story, I hope those who are here will take a moment to read first chapter of Beginning Anew and see if this book is…
Chaz carried Naomi over the threshold and into the vestibule. His gaze caressed her every feature, resting at last on her eyes. They were a striking couple. She, a petite woman with olive skin, azure blue eyes, and curly hair that, when let loose, fell to her waist; he, a lanky man with close cut, dark brown hair and strong features who had once again married the woman his heart yearned for. As Naomi met his gaze with her own, she found herself believing that the Spanish tiles and sideboard stood as silent witnesses to the love encompassing them. She felt Chaz tighten his hold on her and remembered the first time she came to this casa, a teenager handcuffed and dragged here against her will.
He nuzzled her neck, and her thoughts turned toward Chaz coming to this casa the first time they wed, unaware of her secrets. When they looked at each other, Naomi believed each of them were experiencing the magic that surrounded them, magic carried on the soft velvety breeze that drifted in through the front door, enfolding them in its embrace. Noticing that they breathed in unison, her heart rejoiced, for their unity affirmed to her that this was the beginning of all their tomorrows as their yesterdays faded away. She smiled, certain each of them was remembering the vows they had reaffirmed, the promise of the night they shared, and the many promises they made; promises to love, cherish, and obey.
Naomi drank in her surroundings, amazed that the place of fear and trepidation that had become a refuge for her while serving others, and from which she had fled weeks ago, was now a place of love and joy. Bringing her thoughts back to the present, she saw Chaz’s gaze sweep the casa and noticed his scowl. She wondered if he was remembering their first wedding night a little more than a month ago that for him, she believed, was a night of unmet…She blushed and was about to ask him when he turned toward her. Though she believed, she would never be sure, his look seemed to say…Nomi, you take my breath away!
She flicked a piece of lint from his tuxedo jacket.
“Nomi! Did you hear me?” He stared at her.
Though not given to mind reading, because of the way Chaz looked at her, Naomi wonder if he was remembering the way they meet years ago when he was on the street inebriated. Before their life had fallen apart, he had told her that the few moments they spent then changed him forever. Now, as she relieved the moment, Chaz had called her “Nomi” she realized once more the manifold blessings of remarrying this man who used the same endearment her papá had. Chaz had called her “Nomi” before, but this time, when he spoke that name it sounded like a benediction, and her heart filled with joy. She was certain he truly loved her as her family had, for none but her family had ever called what her papá had until Chaz claimed her heart.
“Nomi, you take my breath away!”
“Oh, Chaz, I thought I imagined you saying that.”
Chaz smiled and kissed her. “Dear one, let us remember what we went through to come to this place and this time. Let us never take lightly the love we have for each other.”
“I promise…I will not forget.”
“Amore, time has robbed us of many things. Commitments unconsecrated at the beginning of our marriage and your promise of their completion on that first Sunday night.”
She blushed. “This is true, but there is nothing we can do about that now.”
“We can have our special Sunday as you planned.”
Naomi took the measure of her man with new insight. “Do you mean to tell me that after all of this, you are willing to wait?”
“Sí, that is exactly what I mean. If there is one thing I have learned from all of this, it is that I need to be patient with you…with us.”
“Are you trying to develop this trait by putting off our union?”
“I believe we should come together after we have sorted things out. I must confess, you were not the only one hiding. I came to you with one suitcase and allowed you to think I was less than I am. For that, I ask you to forgive me. It is because both of us have not been open with each other that we need this time. Besides, waiting until Sunday will be wonderful agony for us both. After all, what is it they say, ‘waiting makes the moment more special’? I believe we should wait as you originally requested.”
“What do you mean, you made yourself to be less than you are? Who exactly are you?”
“See, you are aware that we do not really know each other, or you would not be reacting this way.”
“That is true. I can see the wisdom in what you suggest. But…”
Chaz watched his bride’s emotions as they flitted across her face. “What are you thinking about?” he asked as he put her down.
Seconds ticked by. She smiled at him. “I was thinking about the sign.”
Chaz drew her close. “I am glad you like it.”
“Well…who would not be surprised…I mean pleased, to come home and discover the casa had been named after them, with a sign saying so now hanging above the front door?” She remembered asking him, “Why did you pick these words?” Though she hated having her name where everyone could see it, she smiled when he answered, “I told you before, you are my casa, Naomi. I am at home in you!” Amazed by her response, “I never thought of this as my casa,” Naomi knew she sounded happy like new brides do. Now, those words seemed to reverberate within the walls of the casa, as if the house was rejoicing with her because it somehow knew that home had always been an illusion to her until now.
She thought of the yellow butterfly on the sign and asked, “Chaz, are you one who watches butterflies?”
“No, my sweet, I am one who watches you.”
“What do you mean?”
“What were you thinking of that made you blush when I proposed?”
“Well…I said I would date you…because outside my bedroom’s French doors each spring, I watched caterpillars spin their cocoons and emerge later in the season as beautiful butterflies. I wondered if…if I…could be like them…becoming all I was meant to be by…marrying you.”
“When hearts beat as one like yours and mine, in time we come to understand each other’s secret yearnings.”
“And what is my secret yearning?”
“That we be happy—”
“Oh yes, I want us to be happy and… hope for…”
“Una mariposa amarilla, sí?”
“How did you know my secret wish was to be free like a yellow butterfly is?”
“Naomi, for one who was taught that observing the Jewish faith could lead to her death, who sought freedom in America, then needed to live in isolation because she had entered the land illegally, thinking of a butterfly that goes where it wants and does what it pleases must have seemed like heaven. As for yellow, that, my lovely, is no secret. Given the choice, if you are not trying to be invisible, or dressing to please me, you wear something yellow.”
Naomi thought of the lovely yellow sunhat with embroidered red roses Chaz had bought her and nodded. “Yes, you are right.”
“Un momento.” Chaz hurried away, returning a moment later with that hat in hand. She smiled at him as he placed it on her head and draped the matching scarf artfully around her neck. “I promised myself that when you came back we would begin again with good memories. For me, this hat and dancing with you on the patio are the best!”
She smiled at him.
He picked her up, and hurried towards the backdoor. Before he crossed the kitchen’s threshold, she motioned for him to put her down. “Is there a problem?”
She frowned. “It is going to be hard enough to wait until Sunday, so…”
He saw her frown and understood all she had not said. “Sí…dancing with you is out of the question! Now I wish you had not agreed to wait until…”
“No. I know you were right…though it seems odd to be married twice in such a short time and never come together.”
Chaz chuckled. “When you put it that way, I can see the humor in our situation.”
“It might not seem funny when some will insist that we wed on June fifteenth, 1967 instead of on July twenty-sixth, 1967.”
“I do not care what date we use. All that matters is that we are really and truly married.”
“Yes, a new beginning.”
“Now there are things we need to do.”
“We must go shopping for some new bedding and other things for the master
At the mention of bedding, Naomi blushed.
“What is it?”
Aware that if she shared her desire, Chaz’s plan might go awry, Naomi cast her eyes down. “Nothing…nothing at all…”
“Naomi, do not hide from me again.”
Oh, God, how do I do this? she wondered as her color deepened.
“Naomi…please, please…” The way Chaz looked when he uttered those two
words made her feel weak in the knees.
Talk about something else, she told herself. “All right…since you spoke of Madre Vida and the sign, I must share that her name is misspelled.”
“Is that all?”
“I am so sorry that I did not clear out her room for you.”
“Nomi, it is all right. We can do that together.”
“I could not let go of her presence. With your help, now I can.”
“Good! Let us make that room our own.”
“I am glad you will help because that way the room will really be ours. What should we do with Madre Vida’s things?”
“We could pack them away,” he suggested. Then seeing his bride frown, Chaz exclaimed, “Why not pick some of her things and frame them!”
“Oh, Chaz, that is a wonderful idea, but…”
“Well,” she looked at him for assurance. Seeing him nod, she continued, “It might be silly to speak of such things now, but though I lived with Madre Vida for more than five years, I do not know anything about her except her work with girls like me, and the market she owned and passed on to me along with all her other commitments. Though not my real mother, she gave me this life.”
“Maybe, in her things, you will find what you want.”
“I hope so. I would like to know…” Naomi smiled at him. “She was my only family here in America.”
Chaz hugged her tight. “Now you have me.”
“We have each other.”
Chaz heard the kitchen clock chime, marking the midnight hour. He escorted his wife to her bedroom door and forced a smile. “Then we agree, tomorrow we begin to make the suite fit for us.”
Naomi smiled and opened her door. “Yes, tomorrow we begin to be us instead of you and me….Us, as only a couple in love can…”
“Will be,” Chaz finished her sentence, then he kissed her lips longingly. Drawing circles in her right hand, he moved closer, so close each could feel the other’s heart beating. “Naomi, I…” he pulled her to him.
“Whatever you want, I am yours,” she murmured as his lips encircled hers.
“Naomi,” he moaned, “I must leave you now or I will never go!” He forced himself to turn away and walk down the hall.
Beginning Anew: The Naomi Chronicles, Book One, Sales Links:
Beginning Anew; The Naomi Chronicles, Book One is now available at:
Amazon Beginning Anew: The Naomi Chronicles, paperback & Kindle: http://amzn.to/1gW5xya
Amazon Author Page & Paperback & Kindle for all books: http://amzn.to/1d2BOl2
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1aIMqJL
E-reader formats available at Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/401017
Smashwords: About the Author: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/PaulaWordsmith Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20696651-beginning-anew
Paula Rose Michelson
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