One of the biggest challenges about writing a novel set in ancient Israel is trying to figure out what daily life was like at the time. What did they eat? What were the homes like? What were the typical family structure and relationships? What did they do for leisure? What was it like to be a soldier in those days? The questions are endless and a bit daunting as I try to answer them. That said, I love doing the research. It's fascinating to track down the answers and grow in my knowledge and appreciation of this time period. I enjoy trying to imagine myself in a totally different culture and circumstances and then recreate that in a creative way in the storyline.
Another challenge...is getting lost in the research. There always seems like so much to learn. I can keep learning forever and never have all the answers. The temptation is to spend inordinate times researching and then minimal time actually writing and creating. Finding a balance lately has been hard. I understand that I'm really just beginning the process and right now it will take a lot of research and understanding to write historical fiction, but I don't want to just do research all the time. I want to write and create.
Currently I'm delving deeper into what we know about the family structure and roles in ancient Israel. Much of my book will deal with family, relationships and how the family responds to difficult circumstances. What did the "family" look like in those days? Obviously the concept was quite different than what we today would call "family." What were the roles and responsibilities of different family members? How might they relate and interact with each other? Questions, questions, questions. The answers are fascinating. I can't wait to create a family with characters that reflect what we know about that time and yet also a family that we in the 21st century can relate to, sympathize with and even learn from.