I started the Disappear Here Book Blog to highlight books I’m reading, discuss my thoughts on various elements of literature, and lift up authors (both established and new). In an effort to move forward with the third goal, I am kicking off a Question & Answer series with authors, whether it’s their first book or they have published many novels.
Author of Book of Yeshua
Francis Chapman lives in Surrey with his partner, three kids and a wide variety of badly behaved animals. He studied Philosophy at the University of Southampton, and has worked as an editor, copywriter, and a Historic Property Steward.
When he’s not parenting, reading (Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Thrillers… anything fictional really), or writing, he enjoys learning Japanese, watching American football (go Browns!), and he is also addicted to US reality TV show Survivor.
Question & Answer
Ciera: How did you first develop the idea for the Book of Yeshua?
Francis: It was actually a conversation I had with my partner about the absurdity of the Christian notion of Jesus being sent to die for our sins. It just wasn’t something that made any sense to me, this idea that by being responsible for deicide, we were somehow absolved of humanity’s collective sins. So I started thinking… okay… what would actually make sense? And the first thing I thought was, well, it would be really difficult, if not impossible to kill a living God. I started thinking about what Jesus’s motivations would actually be if he came to Earth of his own volition, and was not sent to his death by some abstract father figure. The basic plot of Book of Yeshua grew from there.
Ciera: How long did it take you to write the Book of Yeshua? Did you hit any points where you thought you might not finish?
Francis: It took about two years for me to finish Book of Yeshua, but that did include a gap of several months after my son was born in April of 2019. I don’t remember there being a point where I was particularly pessimistic about finishing, but there were certainly days when you open up the laptop and think, “Oh God, I have absolutely no idea how to write.” But after a few awful sentences, I always managed to get back into the groove.
Ciera: Were there any defining moments that shifted or transformed the novel?
Francis: In a very early version of the novel, Pontius Pilate was going to take a very different, and somewhat heroic path. But as I was writing him, I realised that such a path simply wasn’t commensurate with his character, and the entire plot shifted as a result. I’m glad it did, though!
Ciera: Did you have hesitations when deciding to write a fictional novel based on religious texts due to potential backlash from religious groups or people?
Francis: Not as many hesitations as I would have in the past, even ten years ago. I think I’m in a fairly lucky position, I was raised as a Roman Catholic but was educated in a primarily secular environment, where I was free to consider my own moral, religious and philosophical positions without fear of reprisal or cultural annexation. Various authors I admire (Philip Pullman springs to mind) have led the way in terms of producing literature with an overtly anti-religious message, and have taken the hit, so to speak. Book of Yeshua wasn’t written to antagonise anybody, but I do acknowledge it may do so, but that didn’t stop me because it was a book I felt compelled to write.
Ciera: If readers take one thing away from your novel, what would you want it to be?
Francis: Mostly I just hope they feel entertained! But if they were going to take a message away, it would be that we, as human beings, overcomplicate morality, and that kindness is the essence of living a moral life.
Ciera: What books have been the most influential throughout your life?
Francis: As a child, Lord of the Rings changed the way I perceived fiction. I learned that an author could create more than just a story, they could create their own universe, their own languages and histories and races, and build a story on top of those foundations. As an adult, We Need To Talk About Kevin (WNTTAK) showed me there were books that never leave you. I found myself contemplating the questions that WNTTAK raised while walking to work, showering, and even watching TV. Ten years on it’s a book I still find myself thinking about during (rare) quiet moments.
Ciera: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Francis: Even if you don’t enjoy a particular author’s work, if they are successful, ask yourself what it is that they do well. If you find yourself saying ‘J.K. Rowling/ Dan Brown/ Stephen King/ E.L. James is awful…’ you’re missing a trick. Any author who has achieved a level of success the rest of us aspire to must do certain things extremely well, even if they’re not to your taste. See if you can identify what it is they do well, and if there are techniques they employ that you can incorporate into your own work, whether its planning, writing, or even marketing.
Book of Yeshua
‘Did you ever ponder the sheer absurdity of the story told in the New Testament? That humanity’s redemption lay in the execution of God’s only son?’
Elliot Ambrose is one of the few souls on Earth who knows the truth about Yeshua of Nazareth. His determination to expose this truth throws him into conflict with an ancient and powerful foe, who will stop at nothing to protect their secrets.
Elliot must undertake a violent journey, and a war started in Judea two thousand years ago culminates in a final battle in the twenty-first century.
This dark thriller will appeal to fans of Dan Brown, S. J Parris, and Raymond Khoury.
Book of Yeshua is available to purchase on Amazon. It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited.