How did you create the setting?
She was a woman of Samaria and though there is not a great deal to be found on ancient Samaria, I did find one book in the library of the Christian college where I worked: The Samaritans, Their History, Theology and Literature by James Allan Montgomery PhD. While it was about the current day Samaritans (1930’s) It was helpful in showing the difference between the Jewish customs and those of the Samaritans, as in the Passover celebration on Mt. Gerazim. I used books on Jewish customs, birds of the Bible, flowers of the Bible, etc. to add other pertinent information.
How long did Journey to the Well take you to complete?
Would you believe twenty-five years? When I first did a little research on her, I was separated from my first husband who was an alcoholic. After twenty-One years, we were divorced for the safety of my oldest son and my own health. I worked on the book off and on, shelving it for long periods of time in between. After the divorce I was so lacking in self-esteem and lonely I was prey to several wolves in sheep’s clothing, some from our own church. When I married my present husband in 1990 and moved to Northern California, the Lord whispered to my heart to finish the book. By that time, I knew Marah and could feel and understand what she’d been through.
Do you have a favorite character in Journey to the Well? Why?
Ahmal, for he represents all the good characteristics that I appreciate in my husband. Twelve years older than I, he has brought love and stability to my life.
How much research did Journey to the Well take?
Months, hours! I poured through information on customs, the town of Shechem, birds, flowers, seasons of the year, wedding and funeral ceremonies, etc. I needed to get a firm picture in my mind of daily life in Samaria so my writing would ring true. Paul McShane, the book reviewer for Good News, Etc. a Christian newspaper with a circulation of a round 50,000, wrote in an excerpt from his full review:
“Taylor has crafted a story that takes us deep into this woman’s life and experience in such a way as to draw the reader into the mind of a woman scorned. Taylor is a master storyteller. The thing that is most compelling about this book is that I actually believed I was reading a historical document rife with people and places I could understand and identify with…”
This is the effect I was striving for and has created the same reaction in those who have read the story.