Happy Monday reader friends! Today I am pleased to welcome R. Rushing to talk about her wonderful book, Seal of the Sand Dweller!
Tell me why you write.
Rushing: I write because I’ve been so moved by the great stories I’ve read. Storytelling can be such therapy and nourishment for the soul of the reader. Nothing is more powerful than a writer who tells a great story and leaves an imprint of hope in the reader’s heart.
What is your debut novel about?
Rushing: Seal of the Sand Dweller is my debut novel about Joseph [known as Yoseph in story] of the Bible becoming vizier of Egypt. I investigate a set of plausible challenges he might have faced going from the position of a foreign Asiatic slave to vizier of one of the greatest and most sophisticated civilizations recorded in history.
What do you want readers to get from reading Seal of the Sand Dweller?
Rushing: I want readers to step back from what they know about the story of Joseph and step forward again into his world and surroundings. I’d like people to respect and appreciate more his extraordinary set of circumstances and understand the challenges of his situation. Ancient Egyptians were not fond of foreigners. The elite class was a small but privileged group of nobles favored by the king. How would they feel about a foreign slave who suddenly became their vizier at the king’s decree?
What is your favorite part of your book?
Rushing: One of my favorite parts of the story is when Joseph attends a garden party after he is named vizier. The awkwardness of the situation still stirs my gut. A lowly Asiatic slave is suddenly dressed in high court fashion and invited to the king’s party. I wouldn’t want to endure the snickers and smirks of the jaded courtiers in attendance. Does anyone really take him seriously? He’s a curious novelty chosen on a king’s whim and very few take him seriously. Very few tolerate him in the long run or even believe he will last.
Yoseph and many (all?) of the other characters are depicted as people of color. This is accurate for the story and the time, yet most versions portray Joseph as white. When did this change in our culture?
Rushing: Hollywood has a way of doing what is convenient for Hollywood. It is, however, sad and somewhat dangerous when storytelling can leave us feeling sated enough to sway us with more emotion than fact. I have yet to see Joseph portrayed as a man of color, who in reality was a lot closer to the equator than to the North Pole. We have only recently seen a truer take on the look of the Ancient Asiatic in films like The Nativity Story where at least Mary seems to be a woman of color and Risen where I celebrated the representation of Jesus as finally being portrayed as a man of color instead of a gorgeous Caucasian male with beautiful blue eyes.
Have you always loved Ancient Egpyt?
Rushing: Like most of the world, I am fascinated with the sophisticated and elegant yet brutal social structure and practices of Ancient Egypt. I have indeed always loved Egypt. Who could resist the intriguing pyramids, the mystery of the mummy, the exotic look of the wealthy with their intricately layered wigs and jewelry?
Tell us a cool fact about Ancient Egpyt that none of us know.
Rushing: It is a popular belief that horses were introduced by the Hyksos rulers during the second intermediate period, around 1700 B.C.E. However, horses were already indigenous to Africa and remains were found in Ancient Egypt as early 3100 B.C.E. So it is likely that the Hyksos rulers probably brought down a certain type of horse or introduced the horse and a popular style of chariot at the time which seemed to give them a bit more credit for introducing the horse to Ancient Egypt then they deserved.
I want book 2! When is it coming out? Please don’t make me wait 5 years!!!!
Rushing: Book 2, Harvest Of The Sand Dweller, is being stretched over the coals and should be out by this spring!
If you could hang out with any of the characters from your book, who would it be?
Rushing: If I could hang out with one character from my book would probably be the king’s cupbearer Lord Hetnu. But I wouldn’t stand too close or beg his attention. Hentu is very exacting but emotional, very knowledgeable but prickly. He’s a character we hate to love, but life is easier with his approval.
What actors would you cast for a movie/TV version of your book?
Rushing: Well, throw Idris Elba in there somewhere, that’s for sure! However, I’d be happy to see a cast of black actors representing Ancient Egyptians for a change. It’s long overdue.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Rushing: I think about writing…not kidding.
Anything else cool you are doing, writing-wise?
Rushing: Yes! I’m delighted to be involved in Christian Authors Traveling Bookfair (C.A.T. Bookfair), a traveling Christian bookfair group that will be visiting local churches in my area to talk about writing. We donate a percentage of the profits and a free book each to the local congregation. We’ll have our first bookfair on December 2nd from 2-5 pm at Shenandoah Heights Baptist Church in Waynesboro Virginia. Meet us there if you can!
Wonderful! I know I’ll be there! Can’t wait to read book two! You really are an amazing author! Thanks so much for taking the time for this interview!
Read more about R. Rushing and her book, Seal of the Sand Dweller, below.
About the Book
Famine threatens the kingdom while neither priest nor sage can decipher the king’s Horus dream. The slave drawn from the garrison is a sand dweller, a vile Asiatic from beyond the northern borders of Egypt. His interpretation seems, at first, a desperate snatch at freedom, but when his words prove true, he is raised to inconceivable heights.
The courtiers of the king’s house are fascinated with the god-kissed Asiatic. But when Yoseph’s astute sense of order reveals extortion, the king must check the integrity of his administrators or remain a pawn of his own government.
Yoseph has paid the price for integrity. The first of heavy fines were exacted by jealous brothers, the next by his master’s lascivious wife. As vizier, he confronts corruption with the authority of a king’s seal.
And this time, integrity might cost him everything.
Enter the columned halls of the king’s house for the retelling of the biblical story of Joseph as you’ve never heard it before.
About the Author
If you’ve ever heard someone sniffing back tears in the movie theater during a Lord of the Rings battle scene, it might have been R. Rushing. She’s always had a penchant for majestic battles, soulish struggles, kingdom intrigues, and complicated romance.
R. Rushing reads the Bible with open-mouthed fascination. There’s enough political and kingdom intrigue, battles and conflict for a lifetime of lessons.
Rushing lives in Virginia with her husband, Ben, and loves to write fiction in the vein of compelling stories such as Ben-Hur, The Robe, and Voice in the Wind.
Seal of the Sand Dweller is her debut novel and the first installment in The Servant Ruler series.