Shannon here: Carole Towriss shares her inspiration for her Biblical Fiction title, Sold Into Freedom. Comment or answer the question at the end of any post dated March 12 – 15 to enter the drawing for an e-book copy. Deadline: March 23rd, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Carole!
And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination . . . followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. ~Acts 16:16-18a
And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. ~Acts 16:27
Years ago, when I was still working on my first book, In the Shadow of Sinai, I read about Jason of Thessalonica. Jason is only mentioned twice in Scripture: once in Acts 17, and again at the end of the letter to the Romans when Paul relays Jason’s greetings to the young church there.
I write about little-known bible characters, people whose story is not told. I’ve written about Bezalel—the man who built the Ark of the Tablernacle, Gaddiel—one of Moses’s ten spies who defied God in the wilderness, and Acsah, Caleb’s daughter. I had a series to finish first, but Jason’s story was always in back of my mind.
When I finally turned from the Old Testament to the New, I returned to the idea of Jason. But if I was going to write another series, I would need more than one man’s story. I started looking at Paul’s journeys. Before he takes the gospel to Thessalonica, he visits Philippi.
Acts 16 tells us Paul while in Philippi delivered a slave girl from a spirit of prophecy. A jailer comes to faith in Jesus. A mighty earthquake frees Paul and Silas from a dark prison after a grievous miscarriage of justice. This small but prestigious colony in Macedonia is where Book 1 of the “Planting Faith” series is set.
I wanted to be from somewhere other than Greece or Rome, so in my book she comes from Britannia. I named her Elantia, an authentic Brittonic name, which I got from an expert in ancient languages. Tia inherited her “gift” of divination from her mother and grandmother, and trained for years to perfect her ability. I had to somehow get her to Philippi, so I had slave traders kidnap and sell her.
Now I needed a hero. Much of my research differed on who would be the keeper of the prison in a Roman colony. Some said retired Roman soldiers, others said that would be too demeaning for a warrior. Some said slaves, but from what I learned of the responsibilities of that job, that didn’t make sense to me. As is so often the case, we really don’t know.
So the jailer became Quintus, a tribune who retired due to injury. He retires to Philippi, but a betrayal leaves him without a way to support himself, and the jailer’s job is his only option.
Scripture says the jailer and “all that were in his house” were saved and baptized. Some assert this means he must have been married and had a family. But I needed a romance … how could the slave girl and jailer fall in love if he had a wife and children?
Acts16:15 tells us that Lydia “and her household” were also baptized, and we have no record of a husband for Lydia. She appears to be somewhat wealthy if she had a house big enough to allow Paul, Silas, Timothy and perhaps Luke to stay with her while they were in Philippi. If so, she likely had servants. Scholars say “household” can refer to these other adults living in a house as well as to spouses and children. I gave Quintus some slaves—paid for by the city as part of his job—to be his “household.”
The Roman invasion of Britannia was well underway in 50 ad when Paul visited Macedonia. Tia had been kidnapped by men dressed as Roman soldiers, so she was in no mood to be protected, cared for, or romanced by a tribune. Quintus feels guilty about his part in the invasion, and wants nothing more than to keep her safe from her cruel Roman owners.
She will kill to escape.
He has killed for the Empire.
What will they give for a freedom like no other?
About Carole: An unapologetic Californian, Carole Towriss now lives just north of Washington, DC. She loves her husband, her four children, the beach, and tacos, though not always in that order. In addition to writing, she binge watches British crime dramas and does the dishes four times in one day. Learn more and connect:
About the book – Sold into Freedom: Elantia, a seer, is kidnapped from her home on the coast of Britannia and sold as a slave in Ephesus. Her new owners take her to Philippi, where they put her to work each day in the marketplace telling fortunes. When they take from her the only good thing left in her life, she vows she will take her revenge and find her way home, even if she has to kill to do it.
After a devastating injury and vicious rumors, Tribune Quintus Valerius is forced from the army he loves. Given land in lieu of a cash pension, he settles in Philippi, but a betrayal forces him to become the city’s Keeper of the Prison. At least until the truth comes out.
Everything changes when a simple Jewish preacher visits Philippi. Tia and Quin are both intrigued by Paulos’s message of peace, but it seems too good to be true. Are they willing to leave behind everything they know to experience a freedom like no other?
Sold Into Freedom is book 1 of “The Planting Faith Series.” This series will follow the Apostle Paul though his second missionary journey. Each book will focus on two or more little-known biblical characters who came to faith through his ministry.
Can’t wait for the drawing or worried you won’t win? Get your copy now: Sold into Freedom – Amazon
Question for Readers: Other than Jesus, is there a person mentioned in the Bible you’d like to know more about? What intrigues you about his or her story?
Come back March 15th for Carole’s except!