Bethlehem’s Baby: Five-Minute Bible Stories

Bethlehem's Baby, By Sheila Deeth

Bethlehem’s Baby, By Sheila Deeth


Author in the House: Meet Sheila Deeth!

It’s a pleasure to feature an interview with author Sheila Deeth today. Sheila’s work spans multiple genres, including several novels and novellas, Bible Picture Books for children, and the Five-Minute Bible Stories. A life-long Christian, she has spent many years in Christian education and teaching Sunday School. She has Bachelors and Masters degrees in mathematics from Cambridge University. Without further ado, let’s learn more about this prolific author!

Silverberry: What inspired you to write five-minute Bible stories?


Deeth: Partly they were inspired by telling stories as children’s sermons in church, partly by reading The Silmarillion in college, and partly by the fact that so many of my sons’ friends in England dismissed the Bible as a book of fairy tales, and I wanted to counter that.


Silverberry: What are some of the stories that you tell in Book Six, Bethlehem’s Baby, and why did you select these?


Deeth: I wanted to include all the well-known stories—three kings with camels, angels appearing to shepherds, no room at the inn, and so on. But I wanted to tell them from a different point of view, to encourage readers to think about them. So I wrote about the wise men’s research student who never got any credit for figuring out the star, the old shepherd who kept complaining about the noise and suddenly heard angels, and the friends and relatives in Bethlehem struggling to fit the clan into a tiny two-room house


Silverberry: What were the most memorable Bible stories for you as a child?


Deeth: One of the most memorable Bible stories for me was the parting of the Red Sea, mainly because I spent so very long trying to work out how it could be done. After all, when Jesus calms the storm, the disciples are really impressed that he can control nature. But I didn’t know until relatively recently that there was a natural event which could have parted the Red Sea. Now the story means even more to me because it’s so clearly miraculous and NOT a fairytale.


Silverberry: What ways can parents and Sunday School teachers use these stories to teach children about the Bible?


Deeth: I hope the stories give children a real-world anchor for reading the Bible, and a real way to enjoy what they learn. They’re written to invite children to relate, imagine, and ask questions—a teacher might use the author’s notes to answer some of the questions, and might ask children to apply the same imagination to other Bible stories, or even to seeing God’s influence in their own lives.


Silverberry: What were the joys and challenges of retelling these stories?


Deeth: The main challenge is in trying to keep the stories true to the Bible, and true to science and history. But I really love doing the research, so that’s also the greatest joy for me.


Silverberry: You have a background in the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Free Evangelical, Presbyterian and Christian Reformed churches; and a master’s degree in mathematics from Cambridge University, England. What does that background bring to your writing?


Deeth: When I was a child, my mixed background meant I could never believe without first questioning. I knew different Christians interpreted the same passages differently, so that gap between word and interpretation became very important to me. As an adult, I’m moderately logical, and very well-trained in math and science. So when faith and science seem to disagree, I automatically look for the gap again—what is known, what is guessed, and what is just interpretation? Then I write.


Silverberry: Tell us about some of your other books? Do you have a favorite?


Deeth: My first novel, Divide by Zero, came out last year, then the publisher closed. In a way, I guess that’s my favorite because it was such a milestone. And it’s just been accepted as the first of a set of three by another publisher, so I’m really excited! I’ve had three spiritual speculative novellas released as ebooks, and I have a particular fondness for the third of them too. It’s called Flower Child, and it grew out of a childhood misunderstanding and my own experience with miscarriage. I have a romantic novel “coming soon” with another publisher too.


Silverberry: What’s ahead for you?


Deeth: Now I’ve got contracts for those three novels, finishing the edits on the second (Infinite Sum), and reworking the third (Imaginary Numbers) are pretty high on my list. I’m currently editing the seventh book of Five-Minute Bible stories too, and the eighth and ninth are due to be released next year, so I’ll be working hard on researching and writing them.


Silverberry: Thanks, Sheila!


Deeth: Thank you for inviting me, A. R.!


Bethlehem’s Baby:


Meet the Emperor Augustus’s advisors, the quiet research student helping wise men study stars, the shepherd whose granddad keeps complaining, an Egyptian fisherboy, a Roman soldier, and more in this set of 40 5-minute read-aloud stories based around the events of the Christ Child’s birth in Bethlehem.


Purchase links:


Amazon Kindle


Barnes and Noble Nook






Find out more about the Five-Minute Bible StoryTM Series on the publisher’s website.


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Sheila Deeth, Author of Bethlehem's Baby

Sheila Deeth, Author of Bethlehem’s Baby

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