I’m excited to start my new Author Spotlight Blog Series in anticipation of Mystery Thriller Week (Feb. 12th-22nd.) Every few days through February 22nd, I’ll be interviewing an author in the mystery/thriller genre in a quest to help fans of mystery/thrillers/suspense discover great new books and learn more about the authors who wrote them.
My first guest author, JB Richards, writes YA novels that delve into the mystery surrounding Jesus’ “missing years”–the years during his teens and twenties when little was written about him in the Bible and elsewhere. Her books are sure to appeal to history buffs, mystery enthusiasts, and romance readers alike. Personally, I’m most impressed with the number of awards her book has won! Here’s more about JB Richards…
JB Richards is an historian and international award-winning Amazon, Goodreads, and Xlibris author. Richards was a nominee for Author of the Year in the Indie Author Books 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards. Her debut novel, Miriamne the Magdala —The First Chapter in the Yeshua and Miri Novel Series, was voted a Top 10 Best Historical Fiction Novel, Top 20 Best New Adult Novel, and Top 50 Best Young Adult Novel, and was a nominee for Best Romance Novel of the 2016 Summer Indie Book Awards (SIBA’s). Miriamne the Magdala has been awarded a Readers’ Favorite 5-Star Seal and has continued to be nominated in multiple book award venues. In December of 2016, Miriamne the Magdala ranked in the TOP 3 on Goodreads/Listopia’s Best Indie Books 2016-2017 and TOP 10 on Goodreads/Listopia’s Self-Pub & Indie Books Worth Reading lists. Her upcoming second chapter in The Yeshua and Miri Novel Series, Yeshua the Christ: The Silk Road, is due for publication in 2017.
Back Cover Blurb: Miriamne the Magdala tells the richly detailed story of an ancient Jewish family in crisis. When twelve-year-old Miriamne and her thirteen-year-old long-lost cousin, Yeshua, are unexpectedly reunited, sparks fly. But the grave illness of a parent causes turmoil and anxiety within the two related Houses, especially for Yeshua who recognizes that his earthly mission is fast upon him and his miraculous powers are growing out of control. As the life-and-death situation escalates, he begins to question his allegiance to his Divine Father while Miriamne finds herself torn between her newfound love for Yeshua and her premonitions about his unimaginable fate. Fall in love with the boy destined to be King of kings and the girl who captured his heart forever in Miriamne and Magdala, the provocative and compelling introductory chapter to The Yeshua and Miri Novel Series, the greatest love story never told!
INTERVIEW with JB Richards:
Hi, JB. I know your characters lived long ago, but if you could spend a day with one character from your book, who would it be? Why?
Wow, that’s a tough question! I mean, the obvious choice would be Yeshua … But since I hang out with him all day long, with him buzzing in my ear about what to write, I’d have to choose The Commander—Micah bar Abram—Miriamne’s father. The Commander is a study in contrasts. He’s a solid family man and dedicated husband who just can’t wait to join his cousins and laborers in the odd afternoon spent getting drunk, placing wagers, and winning wrestling matches. He is a good and loyal Jew, but he isn’t afraid to bend the rules when the laws simply don’t make sense. He’s a brave and decorated soldier at heart—the retired Hekatontarchus of the Hyperatai … the Captain of the Jerusalem Temple Guard—tough, embattled, and unyielding with those who portend to be his enemies, yet his children have him wrapped around their little fingers. Although Micah can act like a bit of a rake at times, charming his way through life and flirting with other women at social gatherings, he’s always careful to make certain his beloved Salome has her eye on him and is within hearing distance at all times. His romance with his wife is as passionate as it was when it was new, but The Commander equally enjoys cavorting with his men. In the past, it was his soldiers who meant everything to him. In the present, it’s his bonded cousins, Reuben and Joshua, and his day-laborers he loves to be with the most.
If your book was made into a movie, who do you envision playing the leading roles?
I used to think a young Tyler Posey would have made a great Yeshua—with his raggedy mane of jet black curls and his whimsical nature. Trying to come up with someone who might currently fill the role, the ladies in my group—the Indie Fab Five: Aliya DalRae – Author of “Sweet Vengeance”, Renee Gauthier – Author of “Control”, Eva Pasco – Author of “An Enlightening Quiche”, and Lyra Shanti – Author of the “Shiva XIV” Novel Series—nominated Cole Sprouse for Yeshua and Chloe Grace Moretz for Miriamne. I believe they did a very good job!
How do you deal with rejections and/or negative reviews?
I welcome them! Don’t get me wrong … It’s not that I want to get negative reviews or expect to get many of them, but I welcome the feedback they provide in order to improve my writing.
Many authors are devastated when they discover a low review rating has come in on their book. Of course, it’s upsetting. Who wants to hear that a reader hated their novel? But before you have that knee-jerk reaction to defend your work with a written response to that reader, take a deep breath and examine the situation. Most authors can easily tell the difference between a review that’s giving an honest critique of one’s work and one that’s a load of bunk. Any reviewer who’s given your book a 1 or 2-Star rating with no reason indicated should be considered invalid. It’s meaningless. It’s like reader graffiti: tag the author with your mark and run away! There’s absolutely no purpose to a rating that does not include a commentary other than to diminish the author’s work. My best advice is to walk away from this type of situation. Any rebuttal or comment will only make you sound defensive and unprofessional.
I completely agree. So, what are you working on now?
As a historian, I’m constantly gathering research for the development of The Yeshua and Miri Novel Series, which includes this current installment—“Miriamne the Magdala”, “Yeshua the Christ: The Silk Road”, “Thomas the Twin: The Sefer Revealed”, “Mark the Scribe: The Angel’s Gospel”, and “Princess Sarah: The Daughter of the King”—as well a 5 chapter prequel on the generation before Yeshua and Miriamne, and a 5 chapter sequel on the subsequent generations of Yeshua’s family, concluding with the rise of the Merovingian dynasty.
Currently, I’m writing “Yeshua the Christ: The Silk Road” to be published and released later this year (2017).
Which well-known authors have inspired your writing?
Many authors inspired me to write, but there are two women authors who impressed upon me some important views about women in ancient times; Anita Diamant, Author of “The Red Tent”, and Anne Rice, Author of the “Christ the Lord” novel series (includes “Out of Egypt” & “The Road to Cana”). Diamant’s powerful and introspective look into the lives of women in biblical times instilled in me a deep appreciation for what women had to go through—and put up with—in simply going about and living their day to day lives during biblical times. Rice, on the other hand, impressed upon me the important concept of having Yeshua and Miriamne be the first-person protagonist in each of their self-titled novels.
Up until the time I read Rice’s novel, “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt”, I had never before considered the impact one would feel by having Yeshua tell his own story from his own perspective. I’m not certain whether it was due to respect or reverence to a religious figure held so sacred by his followers, but the idea of getting into Jesus/Yeshua’s head and having him act the protagonist in any form of traditional media, whether it be through biographies, movies, miniseries, etc., was something that, as far as I knew, had never before been done. After reading Ms. Rice’s series, I was more determined than ever to portray Yeshua as an actual historical figure, both human and divine, and to allow him to tell his own story from his own point of view. I did the same with “Miriamne the Magdala”, and once my protagonist’s viewpoint became personal, it made all the difference in the world!
What subjects do you enjoy writing about and why?
As an historian, I’m perfectly comfortable writing within with my own genres—Historical Fiction, Gnostic Fiction, Religious Fiction, Christian Fiction—since I’ve concentrated on that particular field of study and done extensive research on the lives of Jesus, Mary the Magdala, and the early Christian community for nearly a quarter of a century. That research extends to everything and anything that impacted and shaped the lives of the Jewish people and the early Christian community in and around Jesus’ time. My research portfolio includes, but is not limited to: the history of the region; Jewish culture, tradition, and law; neighboring cultures and their own religious traditions; the relationships between political powerhouses involved in Middle Eastern affairs—including the Roman, Egyptian, Assyrian, and Persian Empires; international and domestic trade and economic influences; and even the fashions and style trends of that time! Through my research, I’ve become somewhat of an expert on these subjects, and I think it’s safe to say The Yeshua and Miri Novel Series will keep me quite busy and content in my career as an historian and author for the remainder of my days!
Wow! Your books sound fascinating. Thank you for participating! Please learn more about JB Richards on her website and blog: YeshuaAndMiriNovelSeries.com or leave a comment for her below.
In the meantime, stay tuned for the next MTW Author Spotlight with mystery author, Catherine Dilts!