When her parents divorced, Tessa Afshar found herself in a strange new world. Growing up as a child of nominal Muslims in Iran, she’d vaguely believed in God, but had never been particularly religious. Yet here she was now, attending a girls’ boarding school in England—and, as with most such schools, that meant that on Sundays, she went to a church.

The congregation’s rules weren’t too stringent: During the service, foreign students were even invited to sit in the balcony and silently read their own books of faith. Tessa, however, could only read English and Persian—not the Qur’an’s Arabic. Instead, then, she read romance novels.

Though she didn’t know it at the time, Tessa’s covert Sunday reading would one day provide a groundwork for her calling: After her conversion to Christianity in her twenties, Tessa began writing biblical novels—and she hasn’t stopped since. Her award-winning retellings of biblical narratives (including the recently released Bread of Angels, which reimagines the story of the New Testament’s Lydia) continue to delight her fans, even as her speaking and prayer ministry has helped to deepen her relationships with her readers beyond the printed page.

For today’s episode of The Calling, Tessa joins CT managing editor Richard Clark to share more about her childhood in Iran and England, her unexpected discovery of faith, and the fascination with the human heart that drives her to set pen to page.

On connecting to others through prayer: “Your starting point is that deep connection with your Father—but from that place you start learning about other people. When you look at someone, you see a human being, and behind ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.