Not The Story They Taught Us In Sunday School

Patrick Andersen Author Interview

Acts of the Women follows the women of the New Testament telling their story in the days after Jesus’s resurrection. What was the inspiration for telling this story?

When I published my first book, Second Born, reimagining the life of Jesus as he grew up with his brothers and sisters in a wealthy family in the capital city of Galilee, I realized I had given voice to his forgotten brothers but neglected his sisters and the countless other dynamic women who played crucial roles in the birth of Christianity. So, Acts of the Women starts right where Second Born left off. But this time it is narrated by the women, and it is not the story they taught us in Sunday School.

What drew you to the genera of historical or biblical fiction?

It’s odd, I usually write humor and satire. But I have a strong faith based in Christianity and have studied it for years, including biblical studies courses at Stanford University and other sources scattered around the country. I have always been bothered by some of the central notions held either consciously or unconsciously by so many Christians. For instance, that this exceptional man was not human but a god, THE God, for that matter. Or that he already knew everything that was going to happen, so he didn’t need to have the faith that we are expected to have, because he already knew the end result. Or that we humans are powerless to correct the wrongs we see in the world, that we must ask Jesus to wave his magic wand like Harry Potter to repair the evil around us. I am convinced that Jesus was a man, and that he had the same fears, joys, worries and victories that fill all our lives. I think he found a way to become one with God, and he was showing the rest of us that we can too.

So, this contradiction that faced me every Sunday when I went to church bothered me. What do I do when I get hot and bothered? I’m a writer. So, I started writing about it. Second Born and Acts of the Women are the results so far.

Was there anything that surprised you in your research for this novel?

As much as the male-dominated church has tried to suppress the history of women’s enrichment of the faith, a lot of evidence can still be found right out in the open. For instance, in the gospels you will find Jesus’ brothers identified by name, but his sisters are barely mentioned in passing. But in other places women are mentioned briefly for traveling with Jesus’ group and providing financial support. Well, it would be a scandal in that culture for a woman to travel with a group of men unless she was close kin or married to one of them. Read through the gospels from beginning to end and start identifying some of these women. And examine Acts of the Apostles and all of Paul’s letters. Watch for references to the women. You will find some real gems that you may have missed before.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

In this genre, I will complete the trilogy with a mystery surrounding the First Council of Nicaea, which occurred in 325. The council was called by Emperor Constantine to determine a universal (i.e., catholic in its non-capitalized definition) view of the nature of Christ. People with alternate views to those adopted at the Council were branded as heretics and, in many cases, excommunicated. I will treat the subject with my usual reverence for orthodoxy. That is, there will be little or none in evidence.

But I have an itch to get back to humor, so I am simultaneously working on a modern-day tale of love and romance on the Internet. When will these two books be available? (Glances at wristwatch while stroking his beard.) Hmm, it’s already 10am and I have an appointment at 1:30, so I won’t be able to finish them today. Maybe by November? And then there’s the lengthy publication process. (Comes out of his musings with an upward snap of his head and suddenly widening eyes.) I hope to have them out in 2023. And before you ask, no, I am not accepting pre-orders currently. But thank you for thinking of offering, as I am sure you were about to do.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

“Patrick W. Andersen’s thrilling new novel, Acts of the Women, is a celebration of the women of the New Testament. Beautifully written in a humorous tone, the author seamlessly weaves together vivid prose with intelligent but surprising conclusions based on years of biblical studies. His women are wise, courageous leaders who rule the men as the risen Jesus and his disciples spread out across the world: France, India, and beyond. This excellent novel is a must-read for anyone interested in exploring the non-traditional stories around Jesus. It is an ode to women and a spiritual gift that should be savored with an open mind.”— Kristi Saare Duarte, Author, Holy Conspiracy, and The Transmigrant
“A fascinating, refreshing, well-crafted, and unique interpretation (or perhaps a new telling) of those women in the Bible who were not only instrumental in the development of early Christianity, but powerful in their roles of protecting—and influencing—the man known as Jesus. …This compelling tale is a must-read for Biblical scholars, theologians, open-minded and open-hearted Christians, and open-minded, open-hearted non-Christians alike. Acts of the Women is extraordinary. I consider this book a must-read.”— Peggy A. Wheeler, Author, The Raven’s Daughter, and The Desert Raven
“Andersen once again gives a fresh, plausible life to the greatest story ever told, the story of Christ and the young church. Rather than unraveling and spinning the same story, we get a new look at the disciples, the women, who played a large role in the beginning of Christianity, and the faith that sustained them.”— Ellen L. Ekstrom, Author, Tallis’ Third Tune, and Scarborough

Patrick W. Andersen enjoyed an award-winning career as a journalist and editor, earning special recognition from the San Francisco Human Rights Commission for bringing ethnic minority concerns to the attention of the general public. Turning his writing skills to fiction, he published short stories in a number of journals, some of which are collected in his anthology, Moments to Contemplate (In Bite-Sized Servings). His debut novel, Second Born, garnered critical acclaim for its reimagining of the early life of Jesus. He and his wife Marina live in San Francisco, California.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on May 8, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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