As of this month, “novelist” can be added to Beth Moore’s impressive resume as a prominent evangelical teacher and author, including New York Times bestseller status.Known for her public speaking travels and heart for women’s ministry, Beth Moore makes her home in Houston, Texas, where she leads Living Proof Ministries and an adult Sunday school class. Her new contemporary novel with publisher Tyndale House, The Undoing of Saint Silvanus, is her first endeavor in the realm of fiction.

Beth’s lifelong fascination with story and narrative comes to life in the lives of her characters, who find themselves tangled in drama and mystery against the backdrop of a church-turned-apartment in the bustling city of New Orleans. Beth says of her setting: “New Orleans is second in my heart only to Houston. I’m not sure I can explain exactly why. I’ve had a complex relationship with it. But that’s just it. I’m somehow rarely drawn to simple relationships.”

When Jillian Slater returns to her hometown as a result of her father’s death, her expectations of a reunion with her grandmother are far from accurate. While the invitation was extended from Adella Atwater, her grandmother’s apartment manager, she was not forthcoming with all of the facts. Jillian’s estrangement might have come to an end, but her disgruntlement with the circumstances around her return only amplify her dissatisfaction. Amidst an investigation of the events surrounding her father’s death and mounting personal danger, these characters must endure the unraveling only God can orchestrate in the seeming chaos.

Writing has always been an outlet of expression for Beth. “Through the years of writing Bible study curriculum and nonfiction trade books, I’ve been drawn like a magnet to the stories of the men and women in Scripture that seemed particularly complex. David and Absalom, for instance. Miriam and Moses. I love narrative. I love imagining what these lives of faith were like away from the page and how these men and women in the sacred pages interacted with those in their sphere of influence. Sometimes those imaginations would turn into creative writings.” With this clear interest in relationship dynamics, this story seems a natural progression and investment of her time.

Beth’s imaginings grew into the seed of a story in her heart. She is hopeful this novel will reach others with a message of Christ’s power over sin and mistakes. She addresses themes of compromise and self-worth within this story, citing Jesus as the true definer of worth and identity. “Women develop an inordinate measure of their identity from how men respond to them. You’ll see some of the effects of that in the novel … I’m pro-relationship and still believe in romance, but how on earth do we know what we have to offer any relationship when we do not even know who we are?” With this novel, Beth hopes this message of worth transcends her typical audience. “I’m praying for someone to pick it up who could never picture herself as the type Jesus would seek out.”

Beth found the writing process enjoyable and was pleased with her family’s encouraging support. Her daughter, Melissa, was her first reader. While Beth says there are no plans for another fiction book in the works, she also candidly offers there were no plans for this one, either. Regarding her goals, she says “I want my life to bear fruit in the name of Jesus to the glory of God. If my shot at this genre bears very little fruit in the lives of readers, I’ll know my job is to stick entirely with nonfiction … but I so hope and pray someone is also served and helped by the story woven through the chapters of this novel.”

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