In the fall of 2004, I got a phone call from my agent. He had a publisher begging him for a novel on the life of Jesus. A big publisher. With some big promo plans. And my agent wanted me to be the author. Partly because I’d been researching first-century Jerusalem since the early 1980s. And partly because I’d already written my award-winning City of God series set in that place and time. So I was the obvious choice to write this novel.
That sounded totally cool to me. I like big ideas. If there’s a big publisher and some big promo that comes along for free, that’s gravy. But I like big ideas, and there has been nothing bigger in the last couple of thousand years than Jesus of Nazareth.
So I wrote a proposal. My agent sold the proposal to the big publisher. I wrote the manuscript and sent it in for editing. My test readers loved the characters and the story.
And then the whole thing fell apart in January of 2006. That happens sometimes in publishing. It’s not fun, but it happens, and you deal with it.
I came out of the deal with no big publisher and no big promo plan. My agent couldn’t find any other publishers interested in the project. But I owned the manuscript free and clear. So I sat on it to see what would happen. Because I loved the story. I loved the characters. I loved the whole thing. I just didn’t have any way to publish it. So I waited. And I built up my career as a teacher of fiction writing — enough to cut back my day job to half time.
Somewhere around 2010, I realized that a quiet revolution had changed the publishing world practically overnight. It was suddenly possible to self-publish a book and earn actual money. In 2011, I began reworking my out-of-print novels. One by one, I put them back in print and started making money on them. I finished that up by the summer of 2014. And I hired a couple of editors to look at the manuscript for my novel about Jesus. They gave me a long list of suggested revisions. I began reworking the book as a four-book series — now titled Crown of Thorns.
In the summer of 2015, I worked on an archaeological dig on Mount Zion in Jerusalem as research for Crown of Thorns. I also spent a week working on the dig at Magdala, the hometown of Mary Magdalene on the shores of the sea of Galilee. I worked on the dig on Mount Zion again in 2016 and 2017. And during all that time, I was writing, editing, polishing. And then rewriting it all again. And again. And again. Because I wanted it to be my best work.
Finally in 2020, I got Book 1 in good enough shape to show the world and published it on Amazon. Now, I’m working on Book 2, and I have parts of Book 3 done. I know roughly how Book 4 is going to look.
I love this series. I hope you will too. Stay tuned.
Son of Mary is Book 1 in the Crown of Thorns series--four novels on the life, death, and resurrection of Yeshua of Nazareth.
Yeshua has been told all his life that he is to redeem Israel someday. But how is he to do that? The man who redeems Israel must be a man of blood, a man of the sword. There is nothing in Yeshua to love the sword.
When a new prophet arises in Israel, Yeshua goes to ask how he is to redeem Israel. The prophet gives Yeshua a mysterious oracle: the man who would redeem Israel must find and destroy the "four Powers."
But who are these mysterious Powers? In each book, Yeshua must discover the next Power and destroy it ... or be killed.
Son of Mary is available on Amazon now.More info →
Yeshua of Nazareth desperately wants to be the prophesied Mashiach, the anointed king of Israel, the son of David.
He knows the tales of King David. How David was a man after God's own heart. A man who could charm away evil spirits with a harp.
But King David was also a man of blood. A man of violence. A man of dark passions.
Yeshua must find a way to destroy the second Power--the one that destroyed King David. But first, he has to learn what the second Power is.More info →