“A truly wonderful read with the plot very skillfully woven throughout the book.” Claire Simpson
“Great book by a great author!! Definitely, a Must Read!!!” Ellen Engelbrecht
The battle for divine power rages within the Eternal Realm.
As the conflict escalates a prophecy is born that will set god against god amidst the mortal world below.
When the young priestess Rahab saves two foreigners from execution, she sets in motion a sequence of events that could see the death of everyone she knows and loves.
The future of humanity hangs in the balance as two bloodlines converge to battle over the city of Jericho. Now the Goddess Asherah must protect the prophecy and ensure both ancestral lines survive.
If either bloodline dies, the Host of Heaven will continue to battle for eternity…..
WRITING IN THE CHRISTIAN FANTASY GENRE
BY FIONA TARR
When Juneta asked me to write an article about Christian fantasy writing I had to admit, I was a little apprehensive.
Yes, I am a Christian writer and I currently write stories based in Old Testament bible stories, but I prefer to put them in the genre of theological fantasy (if only Amazon would create such a genre). Partly I guess because the Israelites were not Christians J But also because I most certainly touch on other cultural understandings of faith and how they relate to a peaceful and tolerant world of religious understanding.
I believe when Jesus talked about the greatest commandment in Matthew 22: 38-39, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ He was asking us to choose our faith ourselves, to love God and act according to his will but to not condemn or judge others for their choices in the process.
Because the words of this verse are reiterated in Luke & Mark as well as other books of the bible, this says to me that they have deep and significant meaning to God; they certainly do to me. I am no bible scholar but I have worked in the church and studied theology and come out feeling like I needed to express my faith in another way. Writing has become that way. I think this is why I work so hard to bring contemporary context of religion and faith to my novels.
Juneta asked me what it takes and how I process my theological fantasy writing so I thought it would be best if I gave you an idea of what went into The Jericho Prophecy and why I chose to expand my Christian/theological fantasy into the realm of Heaven and the many gods that Yahweh forbade the Jews from worshipping.
I won’t be giving away any spoilers here – you only have to read the blurb and the Prologue to know the Canaanite goddess Asherah is in this latest book. I thought long and hard about how to use the story of Jericho in a modern contemporary way. There are the usual issues relating to how women were treated during ancient times but Jericho brought out some hard-core subjects like genocide and refugees.
So where do I start?
I start by choosing a bible story that gives me a chance to discuss in a fantasy setting cultural issues that might be affecting the modern world today. Genocide and Refugees along with religious warfare are exceptionally topical at present, so Jericho seemed like the perfect story to work with.
Then I read the scripture again. Great bible study time here. A time to ponder what God was doing in the context of this story and why? Once I understand the why (as much as one can understand the nature of God), I can start to formulate the fantasy part of the story that gives me the freedom to maybe challenge the thinking not of God, but of the people doing God’s ‘Will’ at the time. I think this is super important. There is no point in my writing where I am challenging God, but I might very well be challenging the institution that modern religion has become; no exclusions here. I mean all religion.
Once I start writing, my characters drive a lot of the plot themselves. It is kind of a surreal experience really and for want of a better description maybe even meditative at times. Sometimes I pray over my own confusion (at the original scriptures) and even repulsion at what our ancient brothers and sisters did, but through writing I find a path that makes sense to me. I am not claiming my stories are to be taken as ‘gospel’ they are just fictitious writings of a person who finds the Old Testament has a lot in common with the world we live in today and I don’t particularly like that idea.
In the end, I like to tie my characters back into biblical history as much as possible and I think readers will like where I take this book, even if some might find the use of the goddess Asherah and the Heavenly Host somewhat unorthodox. That’s ok because I am reading The Book of Enoch right now and although it was never included in the bible we use today, it is in the bible of other countries and now accepted as genuine scripture. It is fascinating and I will be taking a lot of what I learn there and using it in the rest of this series – The Eternal Realm and in a new mini-series I will be working on shortly based on the Priestesses of Shiloh who featured in the later part of the Covenant of Grace Series.
Writing theological fantasy has been fantastic for me and I get inspired regularly for new story ideas. The Old Testament will continue to be a treasure trove of knowledge I can study to find the right words to write, hopefully at the right time for my readers to enjoy.