I read A Skeleton in God's Closet when it first came out, so I knew I wanted to feature this author and book on my blog as soon as I heard about its release. Welcome, Paul.
Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I don’t intentionally get autobiographical in my novels, but there’s no question but that the protagonist in the Skeleton series reflects my own attitudes and values. Some have said that I’m the Jonathan Weber figure in those novels, but my reply is always, “No, I’m not that good.”
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I accidentally wandered across the Israeli-Syrian border at the
Sea of Galilee, and was arrested, put before a makeshift firing-squad, but survived by the grace of God and the command of a uniformed Syrian officer.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I really never set out to be a writer, but I knew that I had to record the life story of my famous father, Dr. Walter A. Maier, who founded “The Lutheran Hour” radio program. And my writing career took off from there.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
History and historical fiction are my favorites, with a thriller thrown in from time to time.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Sometimes I simply have to tune that world out, which may account for the fact that, a times, as many as 350 e-mails get backed up in my internet queue.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Simply by what sounds naturally in the context. When it comes to Popes, however, I simply looked in the World Almanac to see what papal names hadn’t been used. And that’s how I invented a pope named Benedict XVI for my Skeleton series back in 1994 – years before the present pope actually took that name. I have quite a few e-mails addressed to “Paul the Prophet!”
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Establishing an exact date for Jesus’ Crucifixion – April 3, A.D. 33 – and uncovering the Roman politics behind the crucifixion.
What is your favorite food?
French onion soup.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
How to end a novel most appropriately, rather than drawing it out. – I overcome that with a bit of editorial self-discipline.
Tell us about the featured book?
In the Skeleton series I deal with the greatest possible challenges that could affect Christianity. But in the third volume, The Constantine Codex, I cover instead a rare manuscript discovery that would be of tremendous benefit to the church. The challenge of Islam, however, is a major sub-plot in the novel.
How can readers find you on the Internet?My e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, Paul, for spending this time with us.
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