Today, we have a guest blog from Lois Drake, author of Issa: The Greatest Story Never Told. Don't forget to read her interview and my review of the book!
Please note: Guest blogs are purely the work of the contributing author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog, its owner or other represented authors.
Writing religious fiction offers blessings and challenges
A few of the questions I’m most frequently asked during interviews are, “What was it like to write a book about Jesus? Aren’t you taking on a lot to portray someone that people have strong beliefs about?”
These are good questions and ones that I have asked myself since first receiving the inner prompting to write Issa. If I did not have faith that I was intended to do this and if I did not have supportive friends who prayed for me and believed this project was God’s will, I don’t think the book would have made it to completion. The challenge was to overcome my anxiety and keep going.
The blessing was that as I prayed and sat down to research or write I felt a wonderful sense of drawing closer to the master. If there is something good and inspiring in Issa I know it is not my own. I give that credit to God. But finding words to depict such a wonderful character was not easy. They were not delivered to me on a golden platter—nor did they miraculously appear on my laptop! I had to struggle with the dialogue and descriptions, working through my own limitations of psychology and understanding. The comfort to me is that Jesus’ message to us is not about becoming humanly perfect but to become like him and let our inner divinity shine. Writing religious fiction is an exercise in trying to let the light of the Christ, the Buddha, the Krishna or whatever name you call the Higher Self come through.
On a less mystical level, I did my best to study the stories of traditional Christianity and Judaism, and then based my ideas of how Jesus as a teen might react to different situations from what we know of him in the Bible and legends. From there I imagined what it might have been like for this extraordinary young man to go to India and the Himalayas as told in Buddhist texts published in The Lost Years of Jesus. What would he have encountered that was different than Nazareth? What would he have learned? What would he have taught? How would the answers to those questions affect traditional Christian thought?
Jesus was a revolutionary with ideas that sparked both love and anger toward him. When writing about such a figure, it’s impossible to avoid controversy, but worth every minute of painful—yet necessary—growth.
Thank you to Lois Drake for spending the past three days with us!