Tosca Lee, on her new book, Iscariot.

Confession time:
When I was younger,  I’d occasionally imagine getting to ‘interview’ the authors of my favorite books.  How cool it would be to sit down over coffee maybe, and ask them any question I could think of about the book. And of course, they’d answer, and then I’d be on cloud nine because I knew something about the book that no one else did.
How ridiculously cool would that be?!
Now, here I am 15 years later, and guess what?  Thanks to a sweet gesture by one of my favorite authors,  I’m blessed enough to have that opportunity. Only, minus the coffee, but substitute a stellar internet connection. (And for the record? Still think it’s the coolest thing in the world. )
Tosca Lee is an author that I’ve gotten interested in fairly recently, discovering her when Ted Dekker announced they were going to work together on the Books of Mortals trilogy.  (Which, so far  is amazing. Just saying. And I doubt the final book will be anything less than stellar..)
The first book I read anything about while looking her up,  was called Iscariot.
Which of course, did nothing but intrigue, and confuse me a little.  Iscariot?!  As in.…. Judas, Iscariot?
Yup. The one and only!
How intriguing.  I was drawn instantly. Loved the idea.. but I couldn’t help but be a little confused. Why would a Christian writer devote an entire book to Judas? He’s essentially the guy who killed Christ. I can’t imagine that being a subject most would want to dwell on for an entire book.  Regardless, I had to read it.  It sounded beyond interesting. Controversial, if nothing else.  And let’s face it, controversial, is always fun, right?
Unfortunately for me, the book wasn’t out yet.  According to her website and some notes on Facebook, it was already delayed, for one reason or the other.
 Naturally.
Flash forward a few years , and here we are! Not only is there a concrete release date (February 5th!), but there are interviews all over the place, and a very thought-provoking trailer, which I’m more than  happy to share with you all.
  Crazy, huh?
The sheer fact alone, that she’s not painting Judas as this horrible, one-dimensional, evil character who betrayed Christ is fascinating.  It’s probably off-putting to some, as well.  I know a few of my Christian friends I’ve mentioned it to have seemed very wary. I can’t say that I blame them, it’s a bit of a radical idea. Especially in a largely conservative Christian mindset.
Lucky for me, I’m not easily scared away. 🙂  Reading interviews about the book made me even more fascinated with it.  How on earth was she going to do this? How do you take arguably the most hated person in the bible, base an entire book around them, NOT make them an evil character, and not alienate readers?? (Or, publishers, for that matter!)
So, when Tosca offered the opportunity to do interviews with different blogs, I jumped on it.  It didn’t matter that I’m not a “blogger.”  I don’t have a popular blog, or get a ton of traffic, or have followers who hang on my every word….
But I had to.  I can’t help it. There’s something about this book that just draws me in. I don’t know if it’s strictly the fact that it’s so controversial… I don’t know if maybe I’m relating with the main character a bit too much,  or if it’s just my wanting to see the author do well.  I couldn’t tell you why..  But I’m here, and will be morbidly fascinated with the book until I’m able to read it.  (And after that, I’ll be a lost cause.  I’m apologizing in advance, you poor things will probably hear all about it.)
Sadly, I wasn’t one of the lucky few to have read the book in advance, it’s safely pre-ordered, and will be in my clutches the first week of February. Until then, here is what Tosca had to share with me about the book.
tosca

On Iscariot,did any one person’s reaction surprise you? 

One of the reactions was a review I read on Goodreads, where someone wrote that if you don’t understand Judas in context (I assume, meaning the Jewish Everyman of the time and the paradox, danger and questions all 12 disciples must have struggled with in following Jesus) that you don’t fully understand Jesus in context. And I thought that was very succinctly said. Because our reactions to Jesus as modern Americans (or modern any nationality) looking back 2000 years through the lens of church history is vastly different than the perspective on the ground at the time.

As an author, what are you wanting people to take away from Iscariot? There’s obviously the overarching concept of, “Would I really have done any different?” But, what would thrill you to hear from someone at one of your book tour stops this year?

I am thrilled every time a reader writes or says to me, “I understand Jesus so much better now! I understand the context of what he was saying in a way I didn’t before.” Because ultimately, this book is really a story about Jesus. Judas is simply acting as the lens.

 Iscariot is a look at Judas’ life, but in the end, it’s a fictional account. Not that any of us can actually know the answer in this life, but, in your opinion, do you think the book is close to being historically accurate? Or, is it more of a ‘what if’ story?

It was very important to me to get the historical setting and context as accurate as possible. I spent a year and a half doing diligence on that–which informed the plausibility of character actions  and motivations for me. Ultimately, what a character like Judas might have thought and what would have motivated him is conjecture, but it was very important to me to make sure they were plausible in context. And it’s the context that is mostly lost on us as modern, free readers today.

Between Demon , Iscariot, and the Books of Mortals, you’ve written plenty of villain-esque characters. Which are more fun to write: Heroes or villains?

Villains who are heroic… and heroes with a dark side. 🙂

If you could talk face to face with Judas, what would you ask him?

I’d love to hear from him in his own words why he did it.

And finally…more of a bonus question. Inquiring minds really must know. Is there any bacon concoction you’ve discovered so far, that you haven’t been excited to try? 🙂

Yes! Bacon ice cream. I mean, ewww??!
Tosca Lee is a New York Times Bestselling author.  She can be found on Facebook and at her own corner of the web.  (Interesting fact for anyone who teaches school, or Sunday school – there are discussion guides for both of her solo books on her website!)
What do you think? Will you be reading Iscariot when it comes out?   Why, or why not?

Book Review – Tosca Lee – Demon: A Memoir

 “My story is very closely connected to yours. My story is ultimately about you. ” 
Two lines of text had never had such an impact on me before. So much foreshadowing… not only for the characters in the book, but for you and I, as well.
And I almost completely missed it.
Demon: A Memoir was the first solo book I’d read by Tosca Lee.  I’d read Forbidden and Mortal, part of the trilogy she co-penned with Ted Dekker. I enjoyed the collaboration so much, my husband immediately ordered both Demon and Havah for me. I was so excited to dive into Tosca’s work, I could hardly wait. Especially after meeting her!
However, if we’re being completely honest,  I was considerably more excited for Demon. It seemed a much more complex, possibly controversial story. I love things like that.
Essentially, the book is about Clay, a writer who is visited by Lucian, a demon who wants him to write his story.   I don’t want to give too much away, but that much you get off of the back of the book, so I don’t feel like I’m keeping you from discovering anything.
 
Going into the book, I had very high expectations.  I’m a diehard Dekker fan, and the suspense and twists in his books have become a staple for me.  The Books of Mortals series that he and Tosca wrote together, were no different.  That, combined with the promise of reading a story that would reveal the inner workings of a demon’s mind, had me practically clawing the cover off the book.  I couldn’t start the book fast enough.
 However, it ended up being a touch problematic. While the prose was beautiful –practically lyrical in style, there really wasn’t anything dramatic, or action packed. At least not in the manner I was expecting.
Tosca made it very easy to see the events of the book happening in your mind’s eye. From the mundane, simple scenes, to a few key, breathtaking scenes, (trust me, you’ll know them when you read them!)  I felt like I was physically in the book. I had no trouble visualizing anything. There weren’t parts I couldn’t understand. None of the prose felt jarring or unsettling.  Really, the book was amazing.
But, then the end came. The crucial moment I had felt slowly building through the whole book. I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for this huge revelation. Some explosive conflict. A giant confrontation that just couldn’t end well.
And then, it just ended.   I mean, it was a definitive end. It fit the story, and fit the book.  Nothing was left open-ended.
I stopped, and shut the book.   I opened it again, and reread the end pages, and shut the book.
Really? REALLY?!  I wasn’t buying it.
Flipping a few pages, I read some of the author’s notes, looking for a reason that it ended the way that it did.
It snuck up on me! I didn’t have any warning! It just happened! I was so involved in what was going on, I didn’t see it until it was done! I had all these expectations… all these things I wanted to know…… and then, it was just over.
And then, the lightbulb clicked.
I can’t tell you much more, without ruining the book.  But, really, that’s the eeriest aspect of the book. In so many ways, my reaction to it, was EXACTLY like Clay’s. It didn’t help matters that I was criticizing Clay’s actions as I read the book…. in the end, I reacted the very same way that he did.  In a way, it’s ironic – quite amusing.  But on the other hand, it’s alarming.
All too often, the true dangers in life don’t come with any warnings. No literary monologues to let us know to watch out, and keep us in suspense.  Something seemingly innocent can creep into our lives, and quietly lodge itself into our hearts and our souls. For better or worse.
I’ve retyped the past few paragraphs more times than I can count.  I’m bouncing in my seat, I REALLY want to tell you what happened. It’ll make so much more sense if I do.
But I can’t. I won’t. I don’t want to ruin it for you. And I want to know your opinion.
All I guess I can really do, is give you the same advice we see Clay give someone else in the end of the book.
 Read his story.  Pay close attention – don’t miss out, the way that we did…

Have you read the book? Let me know what you think!  Also, have you seen the trailer for Tosca’s new book coming out?!  I’m beyond excited. Watch it, let me know what you think!   

Married folks, what’s your opinion on this?

Ok. Let me start off, by simply saying that I know everyone has their own opinion. Doesn’t mean they are wrong, or that I am wrong, or ..well. You get the idea.

Anyway. This subject has come up in conversation with friends a few times, in a church class, etc. I’m really just curious on different opinions.

And really, anyone is welcome to comment. Not just married people. Promise. 🙂

Is it ok, for a married man, to have woman friends; and vice versa?

If not, why? If so, are there any circumstances which would make you lean towards no?

This seems to be  hot button topic sometimes, and I’m genuinely curious as to what people have to say….

Beth Moore – Esther

The world may very well be ending.I finally remembered to DL the actual introductory video to this bible study.

We won’t mention how long I’ve had the workbook … Or how long ago I very excitedly bought the wrong video to start the series……:\

Only on day one, but its interesting so far. Apparently it’s the only book in the Christian bible where ‘God’ is never mentioned. The study , I believe focuses on seeing / finding God when he doesnt appear to be there.
And,of course, different aspects of being a woman . I mean, the study is titled : it’s tough being a woman.

Should be interesting. Love it so far,Beth Moore is just so relatable. The type of person you can imagine going out for coffee & having one of those, ‘ Oh girl, me too!’ conversations with.
Now.. here’s hoping I stick with the study all 9 weeks…

How was your weekend?

ohmyword.

I know I’m kinda asking for it by living in Oklahoma… but wow. Seriously? The heat this weekend was ridiculous. Practically all triple digits!!!

Which, would not have been so bad if there hadn’t been a RadioRadio show Saturday night. Matt  and I met them up at the club for soundcheck around 4… and man. I made friends with the bartender that day, making water runs for everyone.

The actual concert that night wasn’t quite as bad, no sun glaring down, but it was still pretty terrible. At first, there was hardly anyone there… then as the night went on, more and more people started to show up.

It was surprisingly a pretty good show! No one (that I know of) walked away with heat stroke, and it seemed like most people there were having a good time.

Sunday was kind of a lazy day. Slept through church, (oops?) then pretty much hung out and watched the Golden Girls during lunch. Had some friends over later, but it was pretty much a lazy day. Which, I won’t lie, is always a nice thing to have.

Now, unfortunately, it’s back to the typical work week. I’m trying to think if anything exciting is happening this week. I managed to talk Matt into doing this couples devotional with me- it’s called  The Love Dare.

I haven’t done any devotionals before (bible study yes, devo, no.) and I don’t believe he has either, so this should be interesting.  The first section we read was all about patience and all. The “challenge” or “dare,” is not to say anything negative to each other”.

Sounds really silly at first… but if you think about it, could be challenging.  What would be considered negative? How would you find other ways to word it?  And already, I’m thinking this is tailor-made for me. I tend to have a problem with patience sometimes… and I for SURE am pretty high strung. Which isn’t a good thing. Just hasn’t been an easy habit for me to break. Maybe this will help!!

Anyway. I should get off here and go shower, get ready to head over to my Mom’s house. I told her I’d take her and my niece and nephew to the library and the Farmers Market today. It’s….. looking to be a hectic day.

(Pst. God? Now’s a good time to send some of that patience my way!!)