All your books are written about people who lived in Old or New Testament times. Why do you think your readers connect with these characters who inhabited such different worlds from ours?

The people who inhabit the biblical world have managed to capture our hearts for thousands of years. Most of these characters are flawed men and women through whom God fulfills his purposes. In my experience, all of us struggle with various wounds. Soul wounds.

Biblical stories show us how in God’s hands a broken person can live a healed and healing life. Our souls hunger for that truth regardless of the century we live in.

Please share a little of your personal story. Do you think your unique history influences your writing?

I was born in the Middle East to a nominally Muslim family. After my parents’ divorce, my mother, my sister and I moved to England when I was fourteen. Although I have lived in the Christian West my whole adult life, I never heard the gospel until I was in my mid-twenties.

My journey of faith began with a dream. During a particularly difficult season in my life, I had a vivid dream. In my dream I was on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. From a distance I saw a man walking toward me and I knew instantly that this was Jesus.

As He drew closer, I felt very disappointed. You see, the only Jesus I had seen up to this point was portrayed by a couple of very good-looking actors in TV movies.

But the Jesus of my dream was not handsome by any stretch of the imagination! I thought, This is Jesus?

As He approached I realized, Of course this is Jesus, for in His eyes I saw such depth of love and power that I almost fell to my knees. He asked me to follow Him and I did. In the dream not only did I know Him as Jesus, but I also knew beyond the slightest shadow of doubt that He was the Son of God, very God of very God, and unlike anyone else in the whole universe.

Shortly after that dream, friends began to ask me to go to church and Bible study. It was as though God Himself first opened a door in my inmost being and then He arranged for me to find out the facts! I simply fell in love with Jesus. There’s no one like Him.

Both my upbringing in the Middle East and my powerful conversion experience influence what I write. These experiences seep into my stories, often without my awareness.

Click through to find out why Tessa chose to put an unexpected twist on a familiar Bible passage…

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