How I came to write The Deeper Song
When I was a child attending Sunday School, one of my favorite pastimes was looking at the pictures of ancient Jerusalem in the storybooks my teachers provided. I didn’t pay much attention to what the teachers were saying, but I loved imagining that hot, desert wind, the blinding bright sunlight, the flowing robes wrapping my legs, my sandaled feet walking along sandy paths. As I grew older I read books like The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare which were set in that faraway land. And when I realized that my passion and profession were were writing, I longed to write a book set in that ancient time and place. But I couldn’t write a book about a setting—I needed a character with a problem. I needed a plot, and a theme. So I kept that idea in the back of my mind while I wrote books and stories set in other historical periods.
After we moved to our farm in southwestern Wisconsin, one of my husband’s favorite pastimes was listening to NPR—especially during his long commute to the school where he taught high school math. And he shared the most interesting stories he heard on the radio with me.
One evening when he parked the car and came into the house, he said, “Did you know that the oldest parts of the Bible might have been written by a woman?”
Bells started chiming in my head. I turned from the soup I was stirring on the wood cookstove in our big farm kitchen and stared at him. “What?”
“It’s called the ‘J’ manuscript and it may have been written by a woman,” he said. “I just heard an interview with a literary critic, Harold Bloom, who wrote the forward to a new translation of that manuscript.”
I forgot about the soup. “Jack! That’s my novel!”
I knew it would be years before I could actually write it—I had too much to learn about the political situation in the period, the daily life of the people, and the struggles that faced women of that time. But I knew who my character was, and I knew the plot and the theme. I had my story.