Greetings readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors and welcome to The ToiBox of Words. I’m your host Toi Thomas, author of Eternal Curse, and today I’m sharing a special interview with author, Angela Joseph, about her fiction book entitled, Coming Out Of Egypt. Enjoy!
Where did the idea for Coming Out of Egypt come from?
Many years ago when I was a teacher in Trinidad, there were rumors about two sisters who were being sexually abused by their father. Nothing was ever done about it, as far as I know. Fast forward to living in the US, I now work with women, as well as men, who have suffered this horrible fate and who continue to bear the emotional scars of their experience.
How did the title of this book come about?
Coming Out of Egypt is a metaphorical and literal title for the story that depicts the journey of two sisters, Marva and June, out of the bondage of an abusive past. It’s metaphorical because it is based on the exodus of the Israelites from the bondage of slavery. It’s also literal because after Marva, the older sister, commits a horrible crime as a result of that abuse, she and June flee their home in Egypt Village, Trinidad, in order to escape from the law.
What genre is this book and why did you choose to make it so?
Coming Out of Egypt belongs to the women’s fiction genre. While the story has a strong romantic element, the subject matter deals more with the journey of the main characters out of the bondage of their past experiences.
What would you say is the overall message or the theme of this book?
The theme of this book is one of redemption. My aim in writing this book is to bring hope and healing to women, and men, not just those who have been abused, but those who have been in bondage of some sort and feel they are no good and do not deserve to be loved. I want to show them they can “come out of Egypt” with God’s help.
Tell me about the experience of writing this book; how long did it take.
You may not believe this, but this book has been 13 years in the making. First, I could only write on weekends because I worked full time, then I attended a writers’ conference where an editor told me I had too much material in one book. She suggested I make the teacher in the story the protagonist and focus on the romance between her and the detective. This I did, but then I couldn’t get an agent and my writer’s group felt it didn’t have the punch the first book had. Back I went to the keyboard and came up with not two, but three books. My research focused on the effects of sexual abuse on women and their partners.
Tell me about the main storyline within this book.
After accidentally killing her father and dumping his body in a nearby river, seventeen-year-old Marva and her younger sister June flee their home in Egypt Village, Trinidad. Marva ’s goal is to forge a new life for herself and June and forget the memories of their abusive past. But, desperate to elude the ruthless detective, control her rebellious sister, and hold down a job in a man’s domain, Marva’s new life is not what she envisioned. While she yearns for love, understanding and forgiveness, Marva knows she deserves only punishment. Will she get what she yearns for or what she deserves?
Who is the protagonist of this story?
Seventeen-year-old Marva is the protagonist of the story. She is taciturn, strict with few friends, desperately longing for love, but afraid of men in general – although she does harbor some romantic feelings for her childhood friend. She is fiercely devoted to her younger sister June and is not afraid of getting into a fight to protect her.
Thirteen-year-old June is almost the opposite of her sister. Even though she too was abused by her father, she craves the attention of the opposite sex and uses her beauty to win them over. She loves her sister, but tries to wriggle out of her control.
Who is the antagonist of this story?
The antagonist is David, the detective, who is investigating the murder of the girls’ father. Even though he is not a bad guy, he thinks Marva is guilty and is anxious to carry out his duties. She sees him as her archenemy and tries to avoid him at all costs.
What is the major conflict in this story?
The major conflict centers on Marva’s attempts to elude the detective who, she knows, suspects her of murdering her father. She moves to another city where she thinks she will be safe, only to discover that not only does her former teacher, who has always shown an interest in her, now lives in that city, but she is engaged to the detective. As circumstances conspire to bring Marva and June into closer contact with the teacher, Marva wishes she could confide in her, but she is scared, not so much of being brought to justice, but of what might happen to her sister.
Where and when is this story taking place?
The story takes place in Trinidad in the mid-80s. The country, which lies at the northern tip of Venezuela, formerly a British colony, is now a republic, rich in oil, natural gas, and asphalt. The population consists mainly of people of African and East Indian descent with a smaller percentage comprising of Europeans, Chinese, Hispanics, and people from the middle east. The two main characters are of Venezuelan descent. The story makes lavish references to the diverse cultural influences of this fun-loving nation.
Who is your favorite character in this book?
Apart from Marva, the protagonist, my favorite character is Cicely, the school teacher, who plays a great role in helping Marva overcome a lot of her weaknesses and become a child of God. Cicely is kind, warm-hearted and generous. She was also molested by her father as a young girl and was, therefore, able to empathize with Marva and give her the love and support she so much needed.
Are there elements of your personality or life experiences in this book?
Quite a few of my life experiences were brought to bear in writing this book. As I mentioned before, I was a teacher in the same school that I write about in the story and knew two sisters who, it was rumored about, were being molested by their father, but they were never my pupils. Also, I work with patients in behavioral health who have been sexually abused. As far as personality, I think I am somewhat like Cicely.
Okay readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. To obtain your copy of Coming Out of Egypt, please visit the link provided. Amazon.com
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