Interview with Author, James Mercer
What excites you most about your book’s topic? Why did you choose it?
Hypothesizing what happened during the eighteen years of Jesus life missing from the Bible. Traveling in Europe, many people I spoke with about the subject were convinced that Jesus traveled to Northern India while in Xi’an, China, we heard legends that Jesus traveled there. Such beliefs and legends are the stuff that books are made from.
1. How long did the book take you from start to finish?
I spent two years writing The Scrolls working weekend and evenings. There were many mornings when I would wake up at 2 am with an idea. Unable to fall back to sleep, I would get up and write.
2. What aspect of writing the book did you find particularly challenging?
Creating drama and emotion was a challenge.
3. What surprised you the most about the book writing process?
During the writing process, I was surprised at how well disparate pieces of history fit together.
4. Did you have any favorite experiences when writing your book?
Part of my novel takes place in Turkey and China. I had already traveled to China. While working on one of my many drafts, we visited Turkey. This not only helped me write that portion of my book, I thoroughly enjoyed Istanbul.
5. What do you hope your readers will gain from reading your book?
I hope my readers will be entertained through a learning experience while having preconceived biases and beliefs challenged.
6. What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a historical novel that takes place during the early portion of the Spanish Inquisition. It is a very interesting period. In 1492, the Spanish defeated the Moors, a royal decree was issued requiring Jews and Muslims to convert to Christianity or be expelled from Spain, and the New World was discovered by Columbus.
7. Is writing your sole career? If not, what else do you do?
No. I am a hydrogeologist, writing many technical documents. The Scrolls is my first novel.
8. Did you do any research for your books, or did you write from experience?
Both, I read books, searched the internet, traveled to locations in my book and drew upon personal experiences.
9. How did you come up with your title?
Early in the book, scrolls are discovered to the southwest of the Dead Sea in Israel. Unlike the actual Dead Sea Scrolls that concern the Old Testament, my scrolls are the earliest know version of the New Testament.
10. What books have influenced you the most?
One book that comes to mind is Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman. Other books include The Tao of Zen by Ray Griggs and The Sisters of Sinai by Janet Soskice.
11. Who was your publisher and why did you choose them?
My publisher is Lulu.com. We have had previous experience with Lulu and were very happy with their service. The barrier of literary agents prevented approaching other publishers.