Most Life Changing Book of 2008 is
"Havah, the story of Eve"
by Tosca Lee
I thought that "Havah" would be this nice little historical fiction book about Eve and I was looking forward to it. I had no idea what I was getting into...WOW! The scope of this project was huge - we are talking covering about 900 years where we have a little fact in Genesis and a lot of speculation. Tosca manages to take all of that and make Eve a real woman who engineered the downfall of man, birthed the world of man, helped form civilization, went from paradise to life as we have never known it and yet dealt with many of the issues we still deal with today. Tosca makes Eve real in a way that I have never thought of her. The hard thing is that like most Biblical fiction books - it can become hard to separate truth from fiction in our heads, but most importantly this book will make you want to go back and reread Genesis and figure it out. It is beautifully written and will make you think about your real roots.
Now let's meet Tosca..
1) "Havah" is an amazing book. I can't even imagine how many hours of research it took. Did you have any idea of the scope this project would take when you started it?
No! Not at all. Or I’d probably have chickened out. I just had no idea of the scope of research alone—let alone the writing--at the time I proposed the book with my single page prologue.
2) What led you to undertake Eve as your leading lady?
Several years ago, I was contemplating Eve’s experience and what her voice might sound like—Eve, as an old woman, retelling her story. I put it away for a few years until I sold my first book and my publisher (NavPress) asked me what else I had, and then frantically dug it out. It was really the only other idea I had to offer them at the time.3) Reading Havah made me want to go back and read the book of Genesis again to try and determine fact vs. fiction. Does it feel weird to know that a lot of people will start taking things you wrote as fact like we readers often do when we read a fictional account of a Bible story?
That’s definitely weird, and I hope that people won’t accept my version as fact, but examine the scriptures for themselves. The good thing that happened to me in writing it is that I had to ponder a bunch of tough, tough questions.* And I wish that for everyone, even if it’s not for a project like a novel, but only for their own contemplation. Unfortunately, the Adam and Eve story is one most of us know so well that it’s become a clichéd part of our culture. So if people revisit Genesis after reading Havah, I’m glad for that.
* A sample of many of them is on my blog at: http://toscamoon.blogspot.com/2008/10/endless-questions.html
4) The beginning of the book really through me for a loop, it took me a little while to wrap my head around those opening chapters because it seemed so abstract - the more I thought about it the more I realized that was perfect though - how else would you write the realization that someone has of coming into existence when they don't know language? How crazy was it to write the beginning of Havah?
That was one of those first points (of many) where I thought, “What have I done? What have I taken on?” I was overwhelmed at the thought of describing waking to life, perfection, the absence of language, communion with God, the first human error and its ramifications. The scope of the story horrified me. In the end, I could only close my eyes and imagine, and write, and study, and imagine some more—and pray. I prayed on my knees many mornings before starting. I had to.
5) Where did you get the idea for what the mark of Cain actually was, because that was mind blowing in and of itself - what else would keep people from killing Cain - it is kind of like Jesus saying, "Any of you who are without sin can cast the first stone..."
Yes! Thank you for picking up on that. The mark of Cain was one of many questions that plagued me through the telling of this story. We just aren’t told what it is. Some believe it might have been a brand, but that didn’t seem like it, in and of itself, would keep away relatives bent on blood vengeance. Some said it was something like a dog, or that Cain’s skin color changed. That was intriguing to me, but I wasn’t sure it seemed like enough to do more than set him apart, or even frighten others—which might incite violence against him. But the idea of seeing your own guilt in a mark that is like a mirror… no one wants to look at that. We stop persecuting others when we realize our own guilt. So that was the thing that made sense to me.
6) What is your next project that you are working on and when can we as your readers look forward to seeing it in stores (I know, I know, this one has just come out... but still...)?I’m taking a break right now, but will probably have something in the works by spring. I spent much of this last year exhausted between my consulting job, writing deadlines, publicity, and some changing life circumstances. Also, you face a lot of spiritual opposition in undertaking endeavors like this. So I have really needed this rest.
I haven’t been one of those authors who can knock books out every six months, but I’ve had the fortune of being received by the most loyal and patient readers. It is a privilege to write for them. As soon as I begin the next book, (whatever it is—I’m still contemplating), I will do my best to write a story that is hopefully worth the wait.
7) How can readers find you online?
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. My websites are: toscalee.com, demonamemoir.com, and havahstoryofeve.com. I’m also on Facebook, Shoutlife, and MySpace.
Dear readers, do not miss out on this book. For a chance to win a copy from Tosca do this:
leave me a comment (with your email address or way to reach you) telling me what your favorite Bible story is and you will have 1 entry in the drawing! If you tell someone else about this interview with Tosca and they enter and put your name in the comment then you will have 3 extra entries, if you link to this interview from your own blog then you will get 2 extra entries - Good luck!