Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Author Interview: And Their Numbers Grew

And Their Numbers Grew JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for And Their Numbers Grew by Naomi Craig & Donna E. Lane, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

And Their Numbers Grew

Title: And Their Numbers Grew
Naomi Craig and Donna E. Lane
Bear's Place Publishing
Release Date: November 7, 2023
Biblical Historical Fiction

Four lives. Four destinies. One gospel.  

Fans of Mesu Andrews and Connilyn Cossette will love And Their Numbers Grew.  

If you love The Chosen, the story continues in And Their Numbers Grew.

Rumors of the risen Christ spread through Jerusalem like a wildfire—and the Sanhedrin is paying attention. 

Their efforts to stifle the name of Jesus only fuel the cause until a young Pharisee gets involved, breathing threats of imprisonment—or worse. Stephen’s brutal stoning accelerates the persecution and sends the faithful fleeing the city for their lives. 

They are afflicted in every way, but not crushed. As the fledgling church disperses, their numbers continue to grow. Now, the apostles must train the new believers in the ways and words of Jesus—and what it means to live in God's Kingdom here on earth. 

The Kingdom of God spreads to Damascus, Joppa, Caesarea, Antioch, and Tarsus through the testimonies of Ananias, Tabitha, and Barnabas. While an outraged Saul sets out for Damascus to arrest them all, the followers press on fervently, with the help of the Holy Spirit—though it may cost them their lives.  

Four disciples whose lives are intertwined, told in four novellas, chronicling the birth pains of the early church.

PURCHASE LINKSGoodreads | Amazon | BookBub

About the Authors

Author of Biblical fiction, avid reader, pastor's wife, Naomi Craig loves reading the Bible and imagining how things were at the time. When she’s not serving in various areas at church or trying to stay on top of mountains of dishes, you'll most likely find her enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee. Naomi co-hosts #BehindTheStory on YouTube and helps facilitate Biblical Fiction Aficionados Community on Facebook. When not writing or trying to wrangle social media, Naomi attempts to get her rescue dog to be cute on command for the many pics she takes throughout the day.

Connect with Naomi by visiting naomicraig.com to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

Donna E. Lane is an award-winning, multi-genre author with a passion for exploring all aspects of the human experience. As a Christian counselor and spiritual director, Dr. Lane has dedicated herself to guiding individuals on their spiritual journeys, offering solace and wisdom through her integrated approach. Her 46 years of experience in this field have provided her with insights which she seamlessly weaves into her writing, delving into the complexities of relationships and the depths of the human heart.

With a boundless imagination, a fervent devotion to Jesus, a love for history, and a fascination with time, she crafts stories that resonate deeply with readers, offering the opportunity to embark on unforgettable journeys to other worlds, across time, and into space. 

A devoted wife of 44 years and mother of three, she now cherishes her role as a grandmother and mom to her new puppy, a little white furball named Rosie Cotton. 

Connect with Donna by visiting thedoctorslane.com to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

Author Interview with Naomi and Donna

Q: What do you hope readers take away from And Their Numbers Grew?

NAOMI: I love the evangelistic heartbeat of ATNG. I would love for readers to come away inspired to live boldly like the disciples and the apostles. To come to rely on the Holy Spirit and his power while sharing their faith in Jesus.

DONNA: I hope readers feel encouraged by seeing the characters’ flaws, their failings, and their fears in the midst of trying to follow Christ’s direction, and how they continue to fight the good fight despite those vulnerabilities. I hope they see themselves and recognize their own courage and strength rather than feeling inadequate to the call of Christ.

Q: Do you have a favorite character from the series and can you tell more about him or her?

NAOMI: My favorite character is Ananias of Damascus (not the guy who sold land and donated money to the church, while lying about the entire profit). In ATNG, Ananias and his wife are in Jerusalem for the birth of the church, and he scatters after Stephen’s stoning. He is unsure of himself--Have I shared enough information? Is this person’s conversion genuine? How will I share the good news if I don’t have all the answers?—and changes as the Lord works through him. My grandma always shared her testimony of how someone read John 3:16 to her. Then had her read it this time inserting her name in it. I have Ananias leading someone to Christ in that same way.

DONNA: One of my favorite characters in Scripture is Stephen, which is why I chose him for one of my two main characters in And Their Numbers Grew. I’ve always been impressed by his courage, strength, and faith as he made his case before the Sanhedrin, knowing it could mean his death, and I’m in awe of how he stood with his eyes fixed on the Lord as they stoned him (Acts 6-7). Stephen’s willingness to confront falsehoods, handle conflict, and maintain his composure are some of his strengths. He is described as “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5) and “full of grace and power” (v. 8). In the book, I imagine him as intelligent, passionate, and headstrong. I envision the strength of his faith producing boldness as he preaches the truth of Christ and heals through the power of the Holy Spirit. Based on his fervor for Christ, I picture him expressing the same deep passion in his relationship with the woman he loves. He’s someone who is “all-in”, whatever he does.

As for weaknesses, Stephen’s harsh words for the elders indicate his tendency to act as judge and jury when he sees injustice. In And Their Numbers Grew, Stephen must acknowledge his judgmental reactions toward the other followers, the Pharisees, and even at times toward God, and allow the Holy Spirit to transform his heart to one of love.

Q: How long did it take to write these novellas?

NAOMI: Much longer than Donna! She writes so fast and clean. My first draft looks like a thesaurus and an encyclopedia had a collision and are in the intensive care unit. 😂

DONNA: It took me about 3 months to write my two sections, but it took longer to pull everything together, coordinate the four stories, and finish the final edits.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

NAOMI: I love when my books impact readers and their faith is strengthened by the story I told. So many times I get feedback that my story has helped the reader understand a portion of the Bible better and that’s the best!

DONNA: I love the process of allowing a story to unfold like a movie in my mind. My favorite element is deep-diving into the characters, using my experience as a Christian counselor to help shape realistic, three-dimensional characters with strengths and flaws, and exploring real-life difficulties without sugar-coating those experiences

Q: Would you share something about yourself that most readers would not know?

NAOMI: I know the words to the song Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart in Mongolian. I went on a mission trip to Mongolia with Teen Missions International when I was 14. The locals taught us that song. Years later when I was touring China with Covenant Players Theater Company, my team sat next to a Mongolian man on a train. If I remember correctly, he was a believer, but had gotten off track. When we prayed with him, the Lord put it on my heart to sing Give Thanks. I felt the Spirit say to me “This was why you were in Mongolia, all those years ago, for this moment.”

Most people don’t know that I was a professional singer from age 16 until 20 and was once offered a contract to “go to Nashville” (as the saying goes), but I chose to go to college instead. I used the money I made to help pay for college.

Q: Do you prefer to read ebooks or physical copies?

NAOMI: I prefer paperbacks, but have grown so accustomed to using the kindle app on my phone.

DONNA: Several years ago, I would’ve answered I love the feel of a physical book in my hand, but I’ve learned to enjoy the ease of a Kindle reader since we travel quite a bit. So, my answer now would be I prefer ebooks.

Q: How many bookcases are in your home?

NAOMI: I actually only have one. I don’t often re-read books, so I guess storage space is another point for ebooks. My daughter, on the other hand…. Books in cubbies, books on shelves, books everywhere. I’m so proud!

DONNA: We have eighteen bookcases in our home, all in the room we call the Joe Library. Let me explain. At one point, the bookcases were filled with hard cover books, but we ran out of storage space. When we started reading ebooks, we cleaned out and sold all but one bookcase of books. Now, most of the shelves are filled with my husband’s collectibles, mainly vintage GI Joes and action figures—thus the name. One of the short walls houses my Fontanini Bethlehem collection. The room is quite a conversation piece.

Q: What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Reading, spending time with my family, serving in church. I founded Biblical Fiction Aficionados over on Facebook. I like talking with people about Biblical and Early Church era fiction. I also co-host Behind the Story on Youtube, where we interview Christian and sweet & clean authors about their latest books.

DONNA: Most of my nonwriting time is spent seeing clients, but in my free time, I love hiking in the mountains, painting, watching movies with my husband, and singing.

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will win a paperback copy of And Their Numbers Grew and a $25 amazon gift card!

And Their Numbers Grew JustRead Blog Tour Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight December 4, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 11, 2023. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours


  1. Thanks so much for hosting us today!

  2. This will be a wonderful book for anyone who enjoys Biblical fiction.

  3. Thank you for sharing your interview, bio and the book details, I have enjoyed reading about you and your work and I am looking forward to reading your stories

  4. Interesting Title

  5. what a great interview! Thanks for sharing it :)

  6. Great interview. This looks like a great novel.

  7. thanks for hosting and sharing. thanks for the interview ladies. so wonderful to meet you. cant wait to read this series. quilting dash lady at comcast dot net