Today in Mondays Are Murder, I’m excited to be featuring a very different kind of book. It isn’t a crime novel or a mystery whodunit, but a story about a murder, nonetheless. In fact, one of the most famous murders of all time. I think you’ll be as fascinated as I am by the tale Rachelle Ayala tells in Michal’s Window.
Laurie: Good morning, Rachelle. I am so pleased you could join me to talk about your fascinating book. Please give us a brief description of your debut novel, Michal’s Window.
Rachelle: Michal’s Window is an experiential treatment of the life of King David through the woman who loved him first. On the surface it is a historical romance, but as in real life, nothing is straightforward and love does not always triumph. Michal loves, loses, celebrates and grieves, but is vindicated in the end by the love of God who would never leave nor forsake her.
Laurie: Without giving away too much of the plot, tell us about the murder that transpires in your novel.
Rachelle: The murder of Uriah is the most famous murder by proxy in history. David, the king, commits adultery with Uriah’s wife and impregnates her. When Uriah fails to cover up by sleeping with his wife, David orders his commander to put Uriah in a dangerous position and then withdraw the rest of the forces so he would die.
Laurie: For those who are familiar with the Biblical story, what surprises will we find in Michal’s Window?
Rachelle: Oh, I’ve embellished it so much, you’d have to have the Bible open as you read along to separate fact from fantasy. Let’s just say there’s a disturbingly hunky Philistine warrior, a goddess worshipping priestess, magic spells and henna painting, a hand-fasting scene with double serpents and a crimson rug of love.
Laurie: It sounds like a story that would appeal to readers of all genres, whether or not they have a particular interest in the Bible. What was it about this particular Bible story that touched you so strongly that you felt you must write a full length novel about it?
Rachelle: While David’s affair with Bathsheba is probably the second most famous Bible story, after David and Goliath, Michal’s role in David’s life has been diminished by Bible scholars, most of whom were men. Here was a princess who fell in love with a lowly servant, who was the only woman the Bible mentions as loving a man, and who sacrificed her comfortable lifestyle, position, family ties, and ultimately her husband David’s love to save him from her father. She lost everything she held dear when she let David escape from her window. Take a moment and realize that Michal saved the line to Jesus Christ. Yes, she made mistakes and was not the perfect wife, but the Bible immortalizes her love for David in two places, and I believe David immortalized his love for her in 2nd Samuel 3:5.
Laurie: There are many stories in the Bible of God using women to bring about epic historical changes. Let’s get back to the murder. How did Michal react to David doing away with Uriah?
Rachelle: She pretty much suspected David of having had an affair with Bathsheba, but the murder of Uriah caught her by surprise and she was horrified. For the first time, she actually walked out on David and refused to play along with his schemes. She matured as a woman and would no longer settle for a one-sided relationship.
Laurie: What about Bathsheba? How did she feel having to marry the man who murdered her husband?
Rachelle: Bathsheba was not a main character so I didn’t delve deeply into her psyche. She appeared aloof and lukewarm during her tenure in the harem. Later on, her grandfather led the conspiracy against David. I would imagine she would have been bitter about losing her husband and put all her hopes into her son, Solomon, to become the next king.
Here’s what she says in a fight with Michal over the Queen’s crown:
“You think I want it? It has cost me. Everyone. I. Love.” Her raging breath spit in my face as she detangled the crown from her hair and smashed it into my cheekbone with a bruising clunk. Ahinoam and Haggith broke us apart. Bathsheba sobbed in Ahinoam’s arms. I picked up her queen’s crown and looped it on my arm. Ayala, Rachelle. Michal’s Window (Kindle Locations 10091-10093). Amiga Books.
Laurie: Do you write full time now?
Rachelle: I’m a retired software engineer, so between my duties as mother and wife, you could say I write full time, although being an indie author, promotion and marketing consume a significant portion of my day.
Laurie: I can sure understand all of those issues. What are you currently working on?
Rachelle: I’m absolutely in love with my current work, Broken Build. It takes my experience as a software engineer and transports it to new levels of danger and excitement not found in the green and grey cubicles of my former life. Let’s just say it’s a Romantic Suspense with a touch of comedy and lots of broken bodies, code, and lives. You can find out more about it at my blog. http://www.rachelleayala.com/p/wip-broken-build.html
Laurie: Hopefully you’ll come back again to talk with me about your new book. What authors inspire your work?
Rachelle: This is actually a difficult question. I read so widely. There’s Agatha Christie, Michael Crichton, Diana Gabaldon and definitely Lisa Gardner, absolutely love her! But these days I read almost nothing but indie work.
Laurie: Lisa Gardner is one of my favorites, too. Wonderful that you support other indie authors–we need all the support we can get. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Rachelle: David’s life is a lesson on God’s love and mercy. He can take a premeditated murderer and give him two sons, Solomon and Nathan, who lead physically to Jesus Christ. David was far from perfect, but his repentance and dependence on God is an object lesson for all of us.
There is no hole too deep Your love cannot fill, no place too far You cannot go.” Michal’s prayer over Tamar, David’s daughter who was raped by his son Amnon.