top of page
  • jbeltowski3

A Short History of “Esther”

Updated: Oct 25

My novel is officially published! Check it out at Marian Press, Through Esther’s Eyes (

I asked the Holy Spirit what I could write about regarding my new novel. The thought came to me that I could give readers a quick background on the creation of Through Esther’s Eyes.

It began in 8th grade. I remember being in school and somehow coming up with the idea that it would be cool to write about a friend of Jesus. In truth, I wanted to be that friend. I told the idea to a friend and classmate, who liked my idea and said along the lines of “And just as Jesus used a nail to work with wood, little did Esther know that she would watch the nail pound through His hands at the crucifixion.”

So, began my adventure. My first draft was short and very

close to Sacred Scripture—almost verbatim. Also, Esther was a woman who never married. Yet, as I began to research the time of Jesus, I found it most likely that Esther would have been married.

Lazarus! I don’t know exactly why I thought of him as Esther’s husband. Maybe it was in part, the amazing rise from the dead, or the fact that Lazarus was sister to Martha and Mary.

Next, I started coming up with more of a plot. It was all about hate and forgiveness, but I found it weak.

My senior year in high school, I took an independent study in writing my novel. I thought I would finish the whole book by the end of the semester, but that goal was far away. Still, for our senior trip, we went to the Holy Land

. What a perfect place to discover Jesus. The place where so many people first discovered Jesus.

Soon after high school, I entered the Monastery of the Poor Clare Colettine Nuns. I had to let “Esther” go, as I decided that writing a book was not a part of the postulancy/formation of a Poor Clare. One thing I really learned at the Poor Clares was how essential Mary was to the spiritual life. I found out how much Mary was a par

t of my life. It blew me away!

After six months, I left the monastery. I picked up where I had left off with Esther.

There was a big changing point by the time I was in college. I was further contemplating the role of Mary and realized that Aunt Mary needed to become a more prominent character. In fact, all women needed to be more prominent characters. Women who were broken but healed by Jesus. Just as Jesus healed broken men.

I changed my story from present tense to past tense—something a friend helped me do.

Also in my college years, I went for a hiking young adult pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This time that I went to the Holy Land, I was very prepared with a long list of questions and a journal filled with notes and drawings—much of which were later inserted in my novel. I wanted my readers to hear, see, smell, and breathe the Holy Land. I wanted to go and bring back all that I found. Through Esther’s Eyes would not be the same without my Holy Land pilgrimages.

To further research life at the time of Jesus, I took

one independent study on the Second Temple Period at Central Michigan University. Later, I took another independent study at Wayne State University, particularly geared toward the movement of my manuscript. Even my college education leaned toward writing Through Esther’s Eyes. I majored in Near Eastern Studies and minored in Israeli Studies and Creative Writing.

After the 15th or so draft (I’m just guessing), I started submitting my manuscript to different publishers. Marian Press was the second publis

her that took in my novel. There was another publisher that wanted me to shorten the novel and I wasn’t willing to do that. I was all too happy when Marian Press reached out. And that it was Marian Press!

COVID came, which delayed the printing of this book, but now it is finally here. I see how Mary played such a big part of my spiritual life and how “Aunt Mary” would impact Esther in the same way; would impact you in the same way.

I hope and pray that you enjoy Through Esther’s Eyes. Please share the novel with your family and friends.

6 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page