Today it is my pleasure to welcome Anna Patricio, author of Asenath. I asked Anna to tell us a little bit about her debut novel. Here's what she had to say.
MY IDEA FOR 'ASENATH'
by Anna Patricio
My debut novel 'Asenath' is about the wife of Joseph of the
coat-of-many-colours. Upon telling people I have written about her,
the most common reaction I get is, "I didn't know Joseph was married!"
Indeed, Asenath is hardly known, probably because she is mentioned
only in passing. All we are told about her is that she was given in
marriage to Joseph as his reward for interpreting Pharaoh's dreams.
That, and she was the mother of his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
After that, Genesis is silent on the rest of her life.
So why did I choose to write about this obscured, nearly forgotten
woman of the Bible? To begin with, I love the Joseph story. Though I
have known it all my life, it was only some years ago that I realised
what a powerful and moving tale it is. Joseph's strength is admirable.
He endured the countless travails that befell him - being sold into
slavery, accused for a crime he did not commit - and yet remained
sweet and kind.
As I delved deeper into Joseph's story, I became curious about the
Egyptian priestess he married. It was as if Asenath was a tiny yet
persistent voice, begging and waiting to be heard.
I then did some research and found hardly anything on her. There were
some stories of her not found in the Bible, such as the first-century
Greek tale 'Joseph and Asenath.' But they were all fictional. I was
given no information on her background, her life before and after
These large gaps then gave way to imagination. I then grew inclined to
perceive Asenath as a strong person, just as her husband was. Perhaps
she too had her own story of travail and triumph.
Perhaps, being the operative. To quote famed historical novelist
Eloise Jarvis McGraw (author of 'Mara, Daughter of the Nile' and
'Pharaoh'): "I am not saying this is how it happened. I am not even
saying this is how it might have happened... I am only saying, 'What
if it happened this way?'"
Most of the fiction I had read about her portrayed her as either a
self-centered aristocratic who changed upon meeting Joseph, or a
neglected trophy wife mostly ignored by her husband. Maybe she was
such a way (though I really wouldn't want to believe the latter). But
maybe, she wasn't. I guess when I didn't see any novel that portrayed
Asenath the way I imagined her, I decided to write one for myself.
Thank you, Anna, for visiting with us today. Your new book sounds most intriguing and one that both fans of history and romance will enjoy. Here's a little bit about Anna's book.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 28th 2011 by Imajin Books
(first published August 28th 2011)