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On The Table Read, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author of modern day Bible stories, Michele Chynoweth, talks about the story of her new book, The Wise Man.

JJ Barnes editor of The Table Read online creativity, arts and entertainment magazine

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed author Michele Chynoweth about her life and career, what inspired her to write modern day Bible stories, and basing her new story, The Wise Man, on the story of Solomon.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

I’m the bestselling author of several contemporary suspense novels that reimagine Old Testament stories in the Bible. I call them edgy inspirational fiction, or “Modern Day Bible Stories.” They include The Faithful One based on the Book of Job, The Peace Maker based on the story of David and Abigail, The Runaway Prophet, a thriller based on the Book of Jonah, The Jealous Son, a modern murder mystery based on Cain and Abel, and my newest novel, The Wise Man based on the story of Solomon.  

Michele Chynoweth on The Table Read
Michele Chynoweth

When did you first WANT to write a book?

I’ve dreamed of being an author since I was ten years old, but then life happened. I got a job as a newspaper reporter then an ad agency copywriter, got married, had three children and had to help put food on the table as an ad agency owner. But the dream resurfaced about 25 years ago and I went for it.


When did you take a step to start writing?

I started writing what became my first novel, The Faithful One, back in 2001. I was in a dark place, having just won a fiction contest but then losing the prize of literary agency representation; the agency was located in New York City and 9-11 happened and I lost the prize. It was way before self-publishing was an option.

I was also losing my marriage, my business due to the US recession of the late 90’s, I felt like I was losing my kids who were becoming teenagers, and my health through the disease of alcoholism. I was a lot like Job, and realize now God was calling me to write it.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

That first novel took me eight years to write and get published. God brought me through all of my Job-like trials and tribulations, and I am now living my dream of being a full-time author and book coach, am happily remarried to a wonderful man and together we have a blended family of five adult kids, and I just celebrated 18 years in recovery.

How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?

The Wise Man is my fifth novel and I started writing it in early 2021. It was released in May 2022 so it was a bit of a push but I knew I wanted it to come out before the US Supreme Court decision came out in the Dobbs v. Jackson case (which overturned Roe v. Wade). As it turns out, that decision was leaked right before my book was published.

The main character in my novel, based on Solomon, is a US Supreme Court justice hearing an appeals case between two women fighting over a baby born live from a failed late-term abortion that is very much ripped from the headlines. I guess you could say God has perfect timing. 

Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write The Wise Man?

I participated in the national March for Life in Washington DC in 2020 (when President Donald Trump spoke live to the crowd gathered) and was very moved by it all. I realized God was calling me to write a novel based on Solomon a few years prior (when I met my protagonist, see below) and realized I would make my main character a Supreme Court judge hearing a Roe v. Wade overturn case. Little did I know then what was on the horizon!  

What were your biggest challenges with writing The Wise Man?

I constantly struggled with whether to take a stand on pro-life vs. pro-choice since I knew if I did, I’d alienate half my readers. This came to a head not only in writing the book but then as it was published, in promoting it with an endorsement from actor Kirk Cameron who was the 2022 March for Life keynote.

Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?

I met a very Solomon like character while visiting my stepdaughter in Australia, who was an au pair for a very wealthy family who owned a multi-million-dollar business conglomerate. The business was run by the son, the family heir who had married one of the au pairs and was actually in Forbes magazine as one of the richest men in the world. He is handsome, charming, smart and seems to have it all, yet is an atheist who doesn’t believe in God and seemed to always want more.

Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?

The Wise Man by Michele Chynoweth on The Table Read
The Wise Man

My antagonist is a mash up of a couple of people who are what I’ll call “dark forces” out there—government officials and those who pull their strings—the rich and powerful narcissists who want to rule the world. 

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What is the inciting incident of The Wise Man?

When the main character, Finn Mitchell, is nominated as a candidate for the US Supreme Court and supported by his father, former US President Leif Mitchell. This infuriates Finn’s half-brother who thinks he deserves it and who is backed by opposing political forces.

What is the main conflict of The Wise Man?

The main conflict is within the protagonist, Finn Mitchell, who is wise like Solomon but who starts to turn from God when he marries the daughter of the ruler of communist China and also starts to give in to his pride, greed and lust when his multi-million-dollar tourist island and virtual reality empire take off. The book takes a deep dive into the Bible question, “What good does it profit a man to gain the world yet forfeit his soul?”

Did you plot The Wise Man in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?

I’m a plotter more than a pantser (although I do try to stay flexible and let my characters grow and change as I write them). I teach a Master Class, “Your Book Done Right,” in which I coach fiction and non-fiction writers to become authors – and always teach them to start with a chapter outline to give them a roadmap to follow, keep them going when it gets tough and prevent writer’s block. So you could say I practice what I preach.

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did The Wise Man need?

I was fortunate to be assigned a crackerjack editor with my publisher, Elk Lake Publishing. My major bad habit, she said, is writing long run-on sentences so I had to focus on breaking them up. I also had to do a lot of research for this book, especially on China and its culture, so for the first time I hired a sensitivity reader.

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?

Start by writing a chapter outline! And also, if you need guidance in writing, editing, publishing and marketing your book, take my 8-Week Your Book Done Right Master Class or work with a book coach such as myself. And definitely hire a good editor, it’s the best investment you’ll make. 

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

The next one is either going to be a memoir or the next in my Modern Day Bible Stories line up, a contemporary sci-fi suspense based on Noah in which the ark is a spaceship!

And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

Yes. And yes, absolutely.

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