Your book sounds fascinating. Tell us: Is there a story behind the Prophecy of the Heir?
I left home at 17, convinced by my father, a pastor, that God couldn't look at me, let alone hear my prayers. Thus I pretty much ignored Him, hoping He would ignore me. A few years later, I hit rock bottom and then went Goth until one day I stumbled upon a Bible handbook and was dumbfounded to realize God loved me. Immediately, I bought a Bible and read the whole thing in six months.
Reading it that fast really highlighted the fact that it was ONE story—a love story between God and humankind. I immediately wanted to share this newfound knowledge with the world, but knew that jumping up and down trying to convince people the Bible wasn’t boring, and that they should read it really fast, wouldn’t be very successful. A few months later, I got the idea to rewrite it, if you will, as a fantasy novel with angel and demons as the main characters.
How do you incorporate fantasy into a book about the Bible?
For character names and settings, I use Hebrew. So God the Father is King Elyon (Hebrew for God Most High), the Prince is the pre-incarnate Christ. My angels are referred to as Malakim (Hebrew for angels) and the demons are Shaityrim (a derivative of Shaitan, Aramaic for Satan). King Elyon rules from Shamayim (the Hebrew word for heaven). Hoping to reach people who wouldn’t ordinarily read the Bible, I don‘t use any Christian terms, so sin is called treason, converting is called defecting, being forgiven is being granted pardon, and so forth.
For my bestiary, I used everything we know about angels and/or the spirit realm from the Bible, plus a lot of apocalyptic imagery. For instance, my warrior angels do not have wings, they ride winged horses that look like fire (2 Kings 2:11), the demons ride Chimeras (Rev 9:17-19), the Centaurs are the demons currently awaiting release from the abyss, described in the Bible as winged horses with the faces of men (Rev 9:7-10), and the Prince rides a white unicorn (Rev 19:11 says he returns on a white horse, I made it a unicorn because they are often portrayed as symbolic of resurrection).
How long did it take you to write the book?
Eight years. During my first draft, I did a lot of world-building, but the story itself was really, really corny. The second draft was slightly less corny, but was merely angels telling Bible stories. By the third draft, the angels and demons started having unique personalities. Fourth and fifth drafts were when the story was (finally!) about Michael, and the plot centered on his relationship with the Prince and other angels (tense at times), with the demons (many of whom have personal vendettas against him), and of course, Michael’s involvement with mortals. Draft six and seven, I worked on my writing skills. Not that I hadn’t before then, but once the plot was fully fleshed out, I could focus just on the words. I have 50+ how-to-write books, and that doesn’t count all the ones I read in the cafe of Borders and Barnes & Noble. For the last two years, I have done nothing but edit, revise, edit, revise; I have over seven printed versions of book that I have marked up with a red pen. Needless to say, I am a perfectionist.
And none of that takes into account the research; Prophecy of the Heir has a 20-page appendix. My personal library consists of more than 250 books on ancient cultures and religions, biblical history and archeology, as well as Bible atlases, handbooks, and commentaries.
What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Nothing. Writing distracts me from the rest of life. The house is a mess, hampers overflow, bills are late, bellies are starving, the cupboards are bare, the mailbox is overstuffed, dust bunnies have moved in, and so forth. I go into a zone, and nothing else exists. Every time I finish a draft, I have to embark on Spring cleaning just to find the front door.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading? Mostly non-fiction, relating to Bible times. Right now, I am reading The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim, a 1,000+ page tome with the tiniest print imaginable.
Which character in Prophecy of the Heir interested you while you wrote? Why?Without a doubt, the Prince. He plays a very active role in the novel, because his character portrays not only the Angel of the LORD, but also the one referred to anytime the Bible says, “And the LORD appeared to…” since mortals can’t look on God the Father and live.
The prologue opens up before time as we know it with the Prince completing the book of life “that was written before the world was made” (Rev 17:8). On the cover of this book is the name Ariel (Isaiah 29:1-8), with whom He is in love--the personification of all believers who make up his betrothed bride (2 Cor 11:2, Rev 19:7-9, Rev 21:2). So much of what He says in the novel comes straight from Scripture such as “She used to love me once, like a bride on her wedding day.” So to me, the novel is the Prince’s story, as seen through the eyes of Michael the archangel (similar to how Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mocking Bird is the story of Atticus Finch as seen through the eyes of his daughter, Scout, or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes as portrayed to us by Dr. Watson).
If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
Well, I guess I’d have to say I’d be an instrumental movie soundtracks as the last 8 years of my life have been consumed with writing Prophecy of the Heir, and that’s what I listen to when I write: LOTR, The Passion of the Christ, The Nativity, LadyHawke, Princess Bride, etc.
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
Predominantly, my book focuses on God’s love for us, despite the numerous things we do against Him. Many, many people struggle with the God of the Old Testament, and “new” atheists play up on this, condemning Him as a harsh, wrathful dictator who smites you with His fist if you as much as stray a smidgeon from the rules. This is exactly how my earthly father was, and is why I never read the Bible as a young adult. I already felt worthless in God’s eyes; I didn’t need the Bible to confirm it. Experts have found that it’s very difficult for a person with an abusive father to relate to God as a father, so considering my background, I couldn’t have found the God of love in the pages of the Old Testament if he wasn’t there to be found.
Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
“Do you think that I like to see wicked people die?” says the Sovereign LORD. “Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live. As surely as I live,” says the Sovereign LORD, “I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness! Why should you die?” (Ez. 18:23, 33:11)
“If you look for me with all your heart, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the LORD (Jer. 29:13, 14).
In these passages, I hear the pain in God’s voice. People say the God of love cannot be found in the Old Testament, but nothing could be further from the truth (which I hope my book demonstrates). Yes, He was and is a judge, but it takes A LOT to provoke Him, and I think many people remember only his punishments and think they stem from wrath, when in actuality they stemmed for a broken heart by humans who left him no other recourse but to take action.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I am currently working on the second book in the trilogy, which covers the life of Christ (whom I refer to as Jeshua). The first half expands on his childhood and young adult life, culturally setting up the reader for a deeper understanding of the second half, which will cover his ministry. This may concern some people, but I am very careful to be theologically sound and historically accurate. For instance, by law, traveling Roman soldiers could order someone to carry their equipment for a mile in order to give them or their horses a rest. One day during Jeshua’s teen years, a soldier demands him to do just that. They mock him for being a Jew and such the whole way, but at the end of the mile, much to their discomfiture, Jeshua asks if he can carry it another mile. This obviously will tie in later when he tells people if someone asks you to walk one mile, offer to walk two (Matt 5:41).
Another example is when, as a young adult, Jeshua is celebrating Passover in Jerusalem with relatives that they find the main gates closed for the night. The only way in or out is through a narrow, single file passageway the Jews called the eye of the needle. While onlookers laugh, a merchant with a heavily-laden camel has to unload every package and carry it in one-by-one, then force the camel to its knees, and pull him through inch-by-inch. Once the camel is finally in, Jeshua says, “There’s a message in that somewhere, but I don’t know what it is.” One relative responds, “Knowing you, I’m sure you’ll think of something.” And obviously he does, when He later says it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matt 19:24).
And of course, throughout the book, there is much angelic and demonic warfare going on behind the scenes, especially in regard to the many attempts made on Jesus’ life, some of which the Bible merely mentions in passing such as in John 10:31.
Where is Prophecy of the Heir available?
In trade paperback, it’s available on Amazon for $18.99, or you can purchase an autographed
copy from me through Amazon for $16.99, both of which can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0615623204. The eBook (4.99) is available at Amazon, Barns&Nobles.com, the Apple iBookstore, Sony, Kobo, Stanza, Aldiko and others.
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