One question I am frequently asked is, “Where inspired your books?” For “SISTERS OF LAZARUS; Beauty Unveiled,” it was sibling rivalry, a song and supermodels.
Whenever I have read the New Testament story of Mary listening to Jesus while Martha is stressed over being the perfect hostess, it was obvious that the two sisters didn’t get along. We often think of people in the Bible as being stained-glass saints and above something as petty as sibling rivalry. But they weren’t. They had flaws and strengths, likes and dislikes, favorite foods, hopes and fears, pride and insecurities.
Just like us.
One reason I like writing biblical novels is that, for me, when I view these people as simple humans—when I learn more about their time period and their culture—the Bible stories come alive and I glean answers to some of my personal struggles.
The second inspiration for this novel was birthed in 1982, when the Contemporary Christian group Harvest released their song, “Because I Am.” With rich vocals and epic music, Jerry Williams and Ed Kerr related the interaction between Jesus and Mary outside the tomb of Lazarus. As I listened to the song, the biblical story resonated and I could see Mary falling at the feet of Jesus, crying out her grief for the loss of a beloved brother, and Jesus reminding her of ‘all the words that I have said.’
One of the first things I did after I signed the book contract for “Beauty Unveiled” was to pull out the album—yes, I still have it on vinyl—and listen to that song. Even with the skips and scratches of a 30-year-old album, the song was just as powerful as the first time I heard it. Every day, before I would begin that day’s writing, I would listen to the song.
About the time I began writing this story, I read a news report that stated the acceptable size for “plus” models had grown smaller. The supermodels from the 1980s and 1990s would be considered plus-size models today.
That is not only sad, it is tragic considering how many girls and young women believe society’s claim that if you’re not as beautiful or skinny as an actress or a fashion model, then you have no value. It is not just appearance; there are many who place a person’s value on their skills, their accomplishments, their possessions or their intellect.
All of these are lies; these things are temporal and, according to scripture, our value is not found there. Jesus Christ said that we were worth so much more than birds of the air or flowers in the field. Our value is not based upon what we have, what we do or how we appear. It is based upon the fact that we are created and loved by God.
Due to the encouraging interest of my readers and the fact that I couldn’t get these characters out of my mind, I wrote a sequel. “SISTERS OF LAZARUS; Glory Revealed” will be released by WordCrafts Press on July 12
About SISTERS OF LAZARUS
Martha and Mary, the two sisters of Lazarus, couldn’t be
Martha, the elder, is plain and self-conscious; Mary, the
younger, is beautiful. One sees her value only in serving,
while the other believes her outward appearance is her only
asset. Their worlds are turned upside down when Lazarus
offers hospitality to an intriguing new teacher named Jesus.
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About Paula K. Parker
Paula K. Parker is a freelance writer living near Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband Mike, who is also a writer. Paula writes books, articles, plays, celebrity profiles, entertainment reviews and inspirational devotionals. Her latest biblical novel, “SISTERS OF LAZARUS: Beauty Unveiled,” reached Amazon’s Top Ten Best-seller’s list for biblical fiction. When not writing, she spends her days hanging with her hubby, playing with their three dogs, visiting with their five grown children and four grandbabies, playing the harp, restoring their vintage home and working in their garden.