Biblical fiction (historical fiction set in biblical times) is like the old song: when it’s hot, it’s hot, and when it’s not, it’s not. When I began to think about the story that became DREAMERS, I was praying that I’d strike at a “hot” time. Otherwise, I’d never sell it.
In any case, I’ve always loved the story of Joseph, but I couldn’t imagine how to tell it in a way that was fresh and new. But one day I was sitting in the crowd at youth camp, and the speaker was preaching a sermon about Joseph. As he read the story from Genesis, a part of a verse struck me–it was as if I’d never read it before.
After reading that Potiphar was the captain of the guard, the Bible tells us that when Joseph was cast into prison (after Potiphar’s wife accused him of attempted rape), he was placed into a prison located in the house of the captain of the guard. In other words, Joseph was placed into a prison that was only a few feet away from Potiphar’s wife . . . the bitter woman who had schemed to possess Joseph and now would never have him.
Well–that was a delicious tidbit, worthy of savoring. And so I began to think about Potiphar’s Wife–in fact, I originally wanted to call the book “Potiphar’s Wife.” I wanted this unnamed woman to be the protagonist, and I wanted to tell Joseph’s story through her eyes . . . but then I realized that such an approach would be extremely limiting. Most people want to like the protagonist, and Potiphar’s wife has had such a bad reputation over the years . . .
So I invented the lovely Tuya, slave and best friend to the woman who would one day become Potiphar’s wife. And I began my research into Egyptian customs and practices and religion, and in those facts I found the seeds for my story . . .