I’m so excited to share my interview with M.H. Elrich! She shares the heart behind Etania’s Worth, the inspiration she hopes readers find in the story, and her plans for the rest of The Daughters of Tamnarae series!
Etania’s Worth is such a powerful, redemptive story. What inspired you to include characters who are struggling to receive grace and accept God’s calling on their lives?
First off, thank you for the compliment. I definitely wanted that to come across in my book, so it makes me happy that you discovered it! I was actually inspired by real life circumstance. I have also struggled with receiving grace and accepting God’s calling on my life. For a long time, I vacillated between doing an office job and teaching. Eventually, God convinced me to teach, albeit kicking and screaming, and I discovered he was right, I love it! So I can relate to Etania very much about not being sure if this is what God really wants. I also have thought I didn’t deserve God’s love or grace, so writing that for Etania came through easily.
What made you choose to write in the Christian fantasy genre? How do you think this genre uniquely speaks into readers’ fears or struggles?
I chose to write in the Christian fantasy genre because I realized it was impossible for me to separate my faith elements from my fiction. Many people are able to write clean fiction without faith elements, and maybe one day I will be able to do that. But right now, I find it easier to have a God character in Melchizedek and focus on the Christian audience. I think this genre speaks uniquely to Christians in that it inspires them in their faith. I think that more Christians need books that help them grow in their faith, and not through nonfiction, but through the fiction format. Plus, this helps the nerds like me out there who love fantasy, but also love God.
Parents are typically absent from young adult stories. I love that your book is different! What led you to give the parents such pivotal roles in the story?
I actually want to reverse reader expectations, so that’s a good catch. 😁 As a reader myself, I saw the absentee parents trope and thought: that’s not realistic! Most people have one or two parents. So I wanted to create a relationship dynamic with parents that was realistic. As a young woman, I wasn’t as close to my father as I am now. Formulating Etania’s relationship with Jakin was easier because of these experiences. I haven’t gone through exactly what Etania went through with her mother, but I know how I would feel if I did. Thus, I created parents that reminded me of my own, but different.
I walked away from Etania’s story with a fresh understanding of Who God is and who I am in Him. What do you most hope that readers take away from reading Etania’s Worth?
Honestly, that is the message I wanted people to take away from my story! I’m so happy you got it! 😀 I recently added to the novel the key verse, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her worth is far above rubies.”-Proverbs 31:10 KJV. I want every young woman who reads this book to realize that God loves them and values them far more than rubies.
Can we look forward to a sequel to Etania’s story?
Yes! Finally, after two years of finishing my credential and the draft of Etania’s Calling, I am able to work on finishing it. I hope to come out with the sequel in December, God willing, and publish the next book in Etania’s series the year after that. Therefore, Etania’s story will take place over three novels, Etania’s Worth, Etania’s Calling, and Etania’s Destiny. After I finish working on Etania’s stories, I intend to start publishing three books on Etania’s daughter, Lavanna, and at least one book on Etania’s mother, Tala. That should complete my Daughters of Tamnarae series, but who knows? God may inspire me to write more. The best way to stay tuned to my book progress is to join my email list or to follow me on Instagram.
I talk about it more on those two platforms than anywhere else.
Thank you so much for the interview!
Next week, I’ll be featuring my review of A Tapestry of Light and an interview with the author, Kimberly Duffy! I can’t wait!