Dear Readers, I’ve known Randy Ingermanson for decades, and I’ve loved every book of his I’ve read. Many of them were outside the box for the time period when they were published. He’s an amazing author, and like me, he spends time helping other authors improve their work—and work easier.
Welcome back after a long time, Randy. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Every character of mine gets a little of my DNA. Some of them get only a little and some get a lot, but I’d say none of them ever gets more than about 1/3 of their genes from me. Of all my characters, probably my man Dillon Richard in my novel Double Vision is most like me, but I’d say Ari Kazan from my City of
series is also a lot like me. And Yoni,
from my Crown of Thorns series has a striking resemblance to me at the age of
I absolutely loved Double Vision. It helped my brother understand his grandson who is high-functioning on the autistism scale. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I don’t know if this counts as quirky, but my wife and I were accosted by a team of pickpockets in
several years ago. Jerusalem
In that particular part of the city, the difference between a safe neighborhood and an unsafe neighborhood can be a hundred yards or so. We found ourselves in an unsafe place where there were two of us and three of them. They were young and nimble, and we were not.
The only advantage we had was that we knew they were pickpockets, and they didn’t know that we knew.
At one point, one of them had his hands on my iPhone. Unfortunately for him, I had a stronger grip.
It’s too long of a story to tell here, but we stayed calm and did what we had to, and we got back to a safe neighborhood with our wallets still in our pockets.
And the whole time, I was thinking this will go into a novel, someday.
That’s what novelists do. I’m still waiting for the book where I can use being caught in a riptide on a beach in
where I nearly drowned. When did you first discover that you were a writer? Mexico
I wrote my first book when I was in grade school. The title of the book was The Lion That Didn’t Like Noise.
Nobody told me to. I just sat down and wrote it out. I don’t remember exactly when, but probably second or third grade, because I was obsessed with lions in second grade.
I have no idea what happened to that story, but from that time on, I knew that someday I was going to write fiction and get it published.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
In a pinch, I’ll read practically anything, even the back of the Cheerios box.
I read quite a lot of nonfiction, most of it as research for my novels. So I’ve read at least a couple of hundred books on the New Testament world, history, archaeology, Biblical studies, cultural anthropology, and sometimes philosophy. Once in a while, I even read a book on theology, although that’s not my main interest.
I also read tons of fiction. In graduate school, I got a taste for spy novels, so for a while I read a lot of Robert Ludlum, John LeCarre, Tom Clancy, etc. I like a good legal thriller. I was also a huge fan of both The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series. I also like World War II novels, and just about anything by Ken Follett will get my money.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
It sounds like you imagine that I’ve kept my sanity, so I’ll play along and pretend I have.
The truth is that real life is chaos, this year more than any I can ever remember. My wife helps keep me on balance, more or less, and I have a circle of 12 very close friends who I stay in touch with constantly.
As for dealing with the chaos, I’ve steadily gotten better over the years at managing tasks and projects. I’m a big fan of a tool at KanbanFlow.com that helps me track all the things I’m not doing. And I’ve found David Allen’s bestselling book Getting Things Done to be exceptionally powerful.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Lately, that’s been very easy, because I’ve been focusing on historical novels set in the New Testament time period, and so most of the character names are handed to me.
When I add in a fictitious character, I make sure to use names that were actually used in the first century in
or in Galilee. Archaeologists and Biblical
scholars have compiled lists of those names along with their frequencies, so we
know that half of all women in
were named either Miryam or Shlomzion. And we know that around 15 to 20% of all
men had the name Shimon. Jerusalem
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’d say it’s earning a PhD in theoretical physics from UC Berkeley. The reason I’m proud of that is that there was no luck involved. Nobody hands you a PhD at UCB for just showing up. You have to do the work and earn it.
I don’t come from a family of academic people. My dad was a diesel mechanic for the US Army and my mother never went to college. So we had no family tradition of college or graduate school.
But I decided in high school that I wanted to understand how the universe works, so I majored in physics in college, and ten years later, I had the PhD.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I have several cats, and they seem to have it pretty easy, so I’ll go with a cat.
What is your favorite food?
My wife makes a mean stir-fry, with tofu.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Honestly, I don’t have a lot of time for writing. There’s a lot going on in my life besides writing.
I have a day job that keeps me thinking hard all the time, and I have a wife and family. My daughters are now grown and on their own, but it was a constant scramble for many years to earn a living. And we have about two and a half acres of land that needs attention.
I have only one hour per day budgeted for actual writing. So that’s my challenge, to manage what little time I have and get my books written.
I do what I do with help from the tools I mentioned above—KanbanFlow.com and the methods of the Getting Things Done book.
Tell us about the featured book.
My novel, Son of Mary, is the first book in a series of four novels about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
In this book, I’m focusing on what should be an obvious question. And yet I’ve never yet read a book that raises this question: What did Mary tell the village about how she got pregnant?
Christians looking back over 20 centuries somehow think it was “obvious” that everyone knew that Mary got pregnant via a miracle.
But that is not obvious at all. Nobody at the time believed the Messiah would be born to a virgin. Nobody read the prophecies of Isaiah that way at that time.
If one of my daughters had come home pregnant at the age of 12, I wouldn’t believe a story about a miraculous conception. If your daughter did it, you wouldn’t believe it either.
And it seems very, very, very likely that Mary never told anyone anything about how she got pregnant.
How can I say that with such confidence?
Because I read the Bible. If Mary had told anyone that her child was due to a miracle by God, who would she have told first? Obviously, Joseph. Because he was the guy who was going to marry her. If anyone would have demanded an explanation, it was Joseph.
But the Bible clearly tells us that Joseph didn’t get a satisfactory explanation from Mary. Read it yourself here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+1%3A19-20&version=NASB
Matthew 1:19 tells us that Joseph wanted to break off the wedding. Does that sound like a man who got a good explanation from his fiancée?
Matthew 1:20 tells us that an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and explained it to him. If he already had a good explanation, why did he need an angel?
So we have only two possibilities:
Mary told Joseph, but he didn’t believe her, so it took an angel to convince him.
Mary never told Joseph at all, so he needed an angel to explain it to him.
I think Mary was smart enough to know that Joseph wouldn’t believe her. So she didn’t tell him. And if she didn’t tell him, she didn’t tell anyone. And you can bet Joseph didn’t tell anyone either, for the exact same reason—farmers would never believe such a thing. Farmers are not stupid, and they would resent being treated as if they were gullible fools.
Now think about that situation. The village knows Mary is pregnant. They know that Joseph is not the father, because they know Joseph is a righteous man AND he almost divorced her over the matter (see Matthew 1:16). They conclude that some other man of the village must be the father.
See what’s happened? Everyone blames Mary. Everyone hates Mary. And everyone is going to rub her nose in it for the rest of her life, until she comes clean and confesses her sin and tells the village who is the blood father of her son Jesus.
And Mary can never set the record straight, because how can she do that? There’s no way in the world to prove a virgin conception. There’s no way. Mary has to endure humiliation from the village year after year in shame, and it never gets better.
And that’s the problem Jesus has to solve in Son of Mary. Can he clear his mother’s name? Can he remove the stigma from his own name?
And by the way, if he can’t, then there’s no way he’s ever going to convince anyone he’s the Messiah, because the true son of David needs to be a legitimate son of the line of David. That’s in the Bible too.
Jesus has a serious problem. How’s he going to solve it?
I so agree with you, Randy. I’ve written a series of dramatic monologues around the birth of Jesus. And that aspect is included in them. Please give us the first page of the book.
My son Yeshua is making a scandal again.
He just came in the village gate holding the hand of a woman.
That is not done in
. It is a big scandal if a
man talks with a woman. A bigger scandal to walk with a woman. Bigger yet to
hold the hand of a woman. Israel
But my son does all these things.
My Yeshua does not fear to make a scandal.
That is why I love him best of all my sons.
I am sure the woman is a sinful woman. A woman of shame. A zonah.
My son has brought home zonahs before. The village says it is a foolishness. I say it is a kindness.
Yeshua stops inside the gate to greet the village elders who sit all day taking their ease in the cool shade. He talks with the men and smiles kindly on the zonah, both at the same time.
The men do not look on the zonah, but they look on Yeshua and grin on him and slap their fat thighs and make a mighty roar on some jest he makes.
Yeshua turns and smiles on me.
It warms my heart that he smiles on me in the face of the village elders, who hate me. There was some man of HaShem who told me once that a sword would pierce my heart on account of Yeshua. That has not happened yet, and I beg HaShem it never will. When my son smiles on me, I can almost forget the matter of piercing.
Yeshua pulls on the zonah’s hand to come this way.
I am standing outside our house, which is at the south end of the village.
is long and narrow, one dirt street with stone houses on both sides. The
village gate opens into the village square, not far from our house. Nazareth
Yeshua makes a big smile on me.
He runs at me.
He lifts me in his arms and spins me around and around.
He kisses my left cheek. He kisses my right cheek. He kisses my lips.
A kiss and a kiss and a kiss, in the open street, as I am some man of honor and not the most shamed woman in the village.
Read the rest at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0863CSFDG
Wow! That’s powerful. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is at https://ingermanson.com
Thank you, Randy, for sharing this with my blog readers and me. I’m eager to read the book.
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