Monday, September 5, 2011

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR DAVID LANTZ

INTERVIEW WITH DAVID LANTZ

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AUTHOR OF:

"THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE SCROLL"
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"THE SWORD OF THE SCROLL"
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"THINK LIKE JESUS, LEAD LIKE MOSES"
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What gave you the idea to write The Brotherhood of the Scroll?
In early 1997, I heard Pastor Chuck Swindall on his Insight for Living program doing a general survey of the Bible. (http://www.insight.org/) One day, as he was giving an overview of the Book of Jeremiah, he spoke about how Babylon and Egypt were the world superpowers of that day. He also mentioned the fact that Jeremiah would have been in his early forties when Daniel and Ezekiel were in their late teens. That got me to thinking: They must have known Jeremiah personally; perhaps been disciples of his. A personal fan of the author Tom Clancy, I conceived the idea of an international intrigue/war novel similar in style to his books. (I mean this in terms of multiple subplots which tie together at the end, NOT that I am another "Tom Clancy!") The only difference between the geopolitical competition between the United States and the Soviet Union of the Twentieth Century and the struggles between Babylon and Egypt circa 600 BC is technology. Take that away, and the human element remains. As just one example, the Hebrews of that time period had a way to code messages known as Athbash (see, for example, Jeremiah 25:26 and the reference to "Sheshach").Click here for a site explaining Athbash. (http://www.nic.funet.fi/pub/doc/religion/occult/qabalah/misc/gematria)

What do you hope to accomplish with this book?

My goal is that when people read Brotherhood, they will find themselves going to the Bible to answer the question "did that really happen?" Years ago, I read "The Source" by James Michener. That book gave me a much greater understanding of the events as recorded in the Bible, because it told fictionalized accounts of people living out the great truths of the Bible. That book succeeds in communicating Biblical truths because it first seeks to tell a good story. If, after reading Brotherhood, people come away with the feeling they have read a good story which also gives them a greater understanding of the scripture, I will have succeeded.

For historical religious fiction, your book seems to have a lot of political overtones. Are you trying to make a statement as to modern issues in Brotherhood?

I believe that too much Christian fiction tries to "send a message" at the expense of first telling a good story. My goal has been to tell a good story which also touches on modern social issues. So, for example, Jeremiah dealt with the issue of infant sacrifices, which is equivalent to today's abortion debate. My novel brings up issues like this in the context of telling the general story of a group of devote individuals trying to do God's will in the midst of international war and political upheaval. More important to me than specific issues is the struggle which Christians today have in combining their faith with political action. As the former State Director of the Indiana Christian Coalition, I know from first hand experience the tension that exists between having faith that God's plans will take place and the desire to use the political system to try to "help" God succeed!

You have Biblical figures such as Jeremiah, Daniel and Ezekiel in your book. Do you take a lot of liberties with the history recorded in the Bible?

With only a few exceptions, I have remained true to the scripture in terms of the Biblical account and the timeline in which the events occur. I deliberately have Daniel being thrown into the lion's den during the rein of Nebuchadnezzar, even though this occurs in Daniel Chapter 6 when Darius the Mede governs in Babylon. There are also some small changes that I have made from the historical record to make it easier for the reader (i.e., During the time period 605 to 587 BC, there were 3 Pharaohs in Egypt; I refer to only 2). And, I have changed some names (i.e., Naaman as the Captain of the Babylonian Guard instead of Nebuzaradan: See Jer. 39:11).

How long have you been working on this book?

I started on my book in the summer of 1997. I first had to research and become familiar with the historical events recorded in Jeremiah, Daniel and Ezekiel, as well as Second Kings and Second Chronicles. I finished the novel in early 1999 and had several friends read the manuscript and provide suggestions on how to make it better. I am now looking for a publisher. Since then, I have sold out of the several print runs that I’ve done, and have since migrated the novel to the Kindle format. There are 8 reviews on Amazon.com.

What has been the most challenging aspect of writing your novel?

While the biblical record gives us a lot of information, it also leaves much out which begs to be explained. One of the first problems which I had to address was why, after leading his army from Egypt to come to the aid of Jerusalem around 588 BC, Pharaoh Hophra turned around and went home. Something very important must have forced Pharaoh to abandon Jerusalem to be sacked by Babylon. Another problem I had to think through was the following: If we assume that Daniel would not have bowed down to the Babylonian idol in Daniel Chapter 3, why wasn't he thrown into the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? The answer is, he must not have been there, so where was he? An additional problem with that story is that the Babylonians had an annual feast, when they would have had the entire population worship their gods as they were transported down the Processional Way. Therefore, why didn't these faithful Jewish heroes face this issue every year? One final problem was the question of how Daniel would have dealt with the uprising against Nebuchadnezzar, which occurred around 593 BC. In each instance, I had to come up with a logical sequence of events which added to the story but which also remained faithful to the Biblical account.

What's your view on Biblical inspiration and how does your view affect the way you've developed the story told in your book?

I believe that the Bible is inspired and inerrant. Some people think that Daniel didn't write the book of Daniel, but that it was written around 150-200 as propaganda to deal with the political issues of that time. I decided a long time ago that if Jesus really is the Son of God, then when he refers to the Prophet Daniel in Mathew 24:15, then Daniel must have really existed. Additionally, the Book of Daniel is included in the Septuagint, which predates the time period of 150-200 B.C.

What have you done to market your novel?

When I finished the novel in 1999, I could not have anticipated what would happen with the Internet. I have purchased a software package called Smart Power Point Converter, that allows me to convert power point presentations into Youtube videos. I have created an account with Amazon’s Kindle, and will be doing that soon for Barnes and Noble’s Nook. I’ve created a study guide that I’m talking to home school parents about for use in studying the Bible and ancient history, and I’ve written a sequel, The Sword of the Scroll. In the future, I hope to find someone with whom I can partner to create a game based on The Sword of the Scroll that will be similar to “The Prince of Persia” in concept. For more info, one can visit my website, www.wisejargon.com and look under the “books” tab.


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