An ancient legend is reborn . . . One that might prove the Bible false.
For centuries, historians have theorized the Queen of Sheba as only a seductive legend, and scholars have debated over the legitimacy of King David or King Solomon. When undercover Israeli agent, Omar Zagouri, stumbles onto a tomb in Northern Jerusalem he unknowingly finds the final clue that threatens to overthrow government claim to the Holy Land, pits wealthy collectors against one another, and sends ruthless archaeologists scrambling to find the queen’s secret burial place. An assassination attempt on the Coptic Pope, His Holiness, Patriarch Stephanus II, is only the first in the chain of lethal crimes. Omar must find a way to prevent the greatest discovery of the century from becoming the most deadly.
Author Heather B. Moore
Heather B. Moore is the award-winning author of ten novels, two inspirational non-fiction books, and two anthologies, including The Newport Ladies Book Club Series, A Timeless Romance Anthology, and Christ’s Gifts to Women (co-authored by Angela Eschler).
Her historical fiction is published under the pen name H.B. Moore. She is the two-time recipient of Best of State in Literary Fiction, two-time Whitney Award Winner, and two-time Golden Quill Winner for Best Novel. Her most recent historical novel under H.B. Moore is Daughters of Jared (2012 LUW Gold Award of Excellence & 2012 LUW Best Book Trailer).
For every novel I have written, there is a story behind the writing, and there is also a story behind the publication.Finding Sheba has extensive stories on both accounts. I’m a “discovery writer” or a “pantser writer.” This means I often don’t know what will happen next in the story. I’ll sit down to write and read the pages I wrote the day before and hope (crossing fingers) that I can pick up where I left off and come up with something interesting.
Finding Sheba will be released in August 2013, but if you can believe it, I started the first draft of this book in 2005. I had two historical novels out by then and was working on my third. I remember doing a book signing at the Provo mall and walking into the bookstore. On the front display was The DaVinci Code, which I’d read and loved, but even more interesting was the fact that there were a half dozen books surrounding The DaVinci Code written about the novel… trying to explain the symbolism behind Dan Brown’s story, busting the myths, or commenting on some of the theories brought out in the novel.
I thought to myself: “Wow, how would it be to write a book in which others write books about the subject matter to explain in more detail the theories in my novel.” Of course this was a pipe dream and who knows if someone will ever do that forFinding Sheba, but it set my imagination on fire as I tried to come up with a story that had fantastic arguments on both sides.
I settled on the queen of Sheba because, first, she’s a queen! And not only that, her story is told in the Bible, which not everyone believes is a true and accurate historical account. This meant that I already had a subject that was debatable. In a conversation with my father (who happens to be a Biblical scholar, convenient for me, yes), he said there was no archaeological evidence that the queen of Sheba ever existed. In fact… there’s no archaeological evidence that King Solomon, or his father, King David, ever existed either. This means that if these kings didn’t exist then Israel’s claim to the Holy Land is a false claim.
So I thought… what if evidence was found? Indisputable evidence? Then I turned that on its head… but what if, first… evidence to the contrary was found? I found a fascinating book by Nicholas Clapp called Sheba: Through the Desert in Search of the Legendary Queen. Mr. Clapp explained some of the theories behind the queen’s life and the different countries that claim her as their own (Yemen, Oman, Egypt, and Ethiopia).
Now all I needed was the main conflict… why was it important to find the tomb, and what obstacles would be thrown in the way? Since I could see that plot getting too big to wrap my arms around, I decided to Plot. For the very first time. I’d written six novels (3 unpublished at the time, and those will remain so), but had never officially plotted or outlined any scenes. This would be different, and I was determined to make decisions in advance and to follow them. It worked all right for about five or six chapters, then I started to deviate. And before I knew it, I wasn’t following my plot at all.
In fact, I had written 200 pages and realized that something major was missing. I had Jade, the American woman trying to complete her professor’s work; Alem, the Ethiopian on his own personal quest to find the queen he was descended from; and the queen’s own story, told in flashbacks in time . . . but I needed a character to tie Jade and Alem together, and to set the conflict in motion, and to get the country of Israel involved. Omar Zagouri was then created, and true to his character, he then promptly took over as the main character.
For more about the publishing journey of Finding Sheba, visit my blog.
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