January 18, 2024

The Legend of St. Valentine


Of Love and Treason
centers on a historical figure. Where did your interest in the legend of St. Valentine come from?

I was never really a fan of Valentine's Day. I thought it was a dumb, commercialized holiday, and my research began as an attempt to justify how stupid I thought it all was. But the more I dug into Valentine, ancient Rome, and church history, I found myself falling in love with the story. As scenes and snippets of conversations popped into my head, I started to write them down, and soon I’d written the first draft of the novel.

This story touches on themes of surrender and sacrifice. How have your own life experiences shaped your exploration of these topics?

I’m a planner, a plotter, and a perfectionist—which are fine qualities for a writer, but sort of a detriment when it comes to things like trust and surrender. However, this whole writing and publishing journey has been one of constant surrender and trust that while I can do the work God has called me to, the results are not in my hands. It’s a lesson I am learning and relearning all the time.

This is your debut novel! What has the process of getting your first book published been like?

Like most authors who pursue traditional publishing, there were so many highs and lows (and a lot of rejections) along the way, but God was so faithful to lead, guide, and encourage me through it all. I didn't know if the result of the work would be a published novel or if it was going to be a journey where God would grow my faith—it turned out to be both! Getting to publish with Tyndale is a total dream come true!

What do you enjoy about historical fiction? What was it like writing a fictional retelling?

I love that historical fiction lets us explore the adventures of the past, while showing that the inner struggles and desires of people then are still similar and relatable to us today. It's a dichotomy of being both an escape and a mirror. Writing a historical retelling was an interesting challenge! The history of Saint Valentine has turned to stuff of legend over time, with each version of the story differing here and there. I had to operate under a mindset of "If these stories are true, how could they have happened based on what we know of the culture at that time?" After many edits and revisions, it was exciting to see it all fit together, even though there were a few things that I wish didn't have to be historically accurate.

Who is your favorite character in the novel?

I don't know why, but whether I'm reading or writing, I always find myself more attached to a secondary character over a main character. It just happens. Titus was that character for me in Of Love and Treason. In the original drafts, he was always there, doing his job as a secondary character, but when I realized we needed to hear his own side of the events in the story, he took on a whole new level of complexity and became my favorite character to explore.

How does faith play a role in this story?

Within the story, we find each of the characters putting their faith in different things. Some place their faith in God; others look to pagan gods, themselves, alcohol, peer acceptance, etc., in hopes that these things will satisfy and solve the problems they face. It’s so easy to look to other things to satisfy—I’ve done it in my own life over and over, and I’m so glad God continually calls us back to what will truly fill our longings (Himself). I think Augustine of Hippo said it best when he wrote, “You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless til they find their rest in You.”

What do you hope readers take away from reading Love and Treason?

I hope readers are as captivated by this story as I was. Digging into the courageous stories of how our spiritual ancestors deemed God worthy of their worship and obedience no matter the cost changed me and challenged my own faith to go deeper. The thing I love most about history, and especially church history, is that in the darkest moments, when all seems lost, there’s always a spark of light rebelliously pushing back the dark. I find these stories incredibly hopeful, because if God could use ordinary people to do extraordinary things back then, He can do the same with us today. I hope readers come away from this story with that same knowledge.

Of Love and Treason releases January 23, 2024

Jamie Ogle is a predawn writer, a homeschool mom by day, and a reader by night. Inspired by her fascination with the storied history of faith, she writes historical fiction infused with hope, adventure, and courageous rebels. A Minnesota native, she now lives in Iowa with her husband and their three children, and she can usually be found gardening, beekeeping, and tromping through the woods.

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