Welcome to The Cross & The Pen, Crosswalk.com’s author-to-author interview column!

You know, I receive a lot of books in the mail, either from writer friends or from publicists. And, as many of you know, I’m a Bible scholar. Recently, someone sent me a book titled "Face to Face" (Cladach Publishing), which tells the fictionalized story of the woman Jesus called Daughter of Abraham in Luke 13. I was fascinated! Fascinated enough to contact the author, Catherine Lawton, so we could chat about it for a bit. Wanna listen in?

Eva:  Catherine, tell my readers a bit about yourself.

Catherine:  I was born in Colorado, but my parents moved to California when I was a baby. I grew up as a pastor's daughter in many towns of California. From my first memories, I was fascinated with my minister-father's books and was often scolded for scribbling in them. Undaunted, though, I dreamed of writing and making books. At 12 I had a poem published in a national periodical -- our Sunday school take-home paper.

After earning a B.A. degree in English, enjoying both creative writing and the study of literature, I got married and had two babies. Then, in the midst of busy homemaking, church involvement, and piano teaching -- I got quite serious about two things: 1) seeking a closer walk with God, and 2) writing for publication.

This dual quest led me to prolonged periods of prayer, deeper and more joyful study of the Bible, freeing experiences of inner healing, involvement in world missions, and learning to share through the written and spoken word the insights the Lord was giving to me.

My husband, Larry, an accountant, and I have lived in Santa Rosa, Calif. for 33 years. Our married children provided us just this last year with two beautiful granddaughters. One of those babies and her parents live in Colorado, and that's where we are planning to move soon!

Eva:  Your book, "Face To Face," is (as a novelist) an interesting exercise in taking what little we know about a subject, and expanding upon it to tell a story. Fill us in.

Catherine:  You're right; we know little about this woman. Only Luke mentions her. He tells us that the woman "could in no way lift herself." This indicated to me that she had tried ... Perhaps she tried "cures" such as positive thinking, self-help techniques, legalistic religious practice, witchcraft and magic, etc. All these represent philosophies influential in our world today, as well.

Jesus told the woman she was released and he said that Satan had kept her bound. This part is very personal. I have known people who are bound by various things -- memories, addictions, sins, wrong thinking, bitterness, and even evil spirits. And I've seen people set free. I wanted to know what sort of spirit had taken hold of this woman, how Satan could keep a religious person of faith bound, and what might have caused that spirit to enter into her body and life.

Luke also tells us that Jesus called this woman a "daughter of Abraham." Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. He believed God's word when circumstances looked impossible. So I expanded on that as well. This broken woman had attended the synagogue; she would have heard the scriptures. Perhaps they had spoken to her heart very personally and directly about her specific need, and her faith had taken hold of them. Then when her moment came and Jesus spoke to her, her heart was prepared.

Bible scholars have interpreted this miracle in several ways. Some see this bent-over woman as a picture of the human heart that is "bent toward sin" and "missing the mark" -- that can only be "straightened" by an instantaneous touch from God. Others see this as a an example of the blessings that come to those who are faithful to the "means of grace." Still others emphasize the compassion of Jesus for the downtrodden and they say that He was demonstrating his desire to lift the yoke of slavery to sin as well as political oppression from his people.