**Aside: Did anyone finish the 90-Day-Bible Challenge with me? I finished Friday on the plane–whew! Would anyone care to share what struck them as they read through the Word at this record pace?
For me, it was incredible to read the OT prophecies of the prophets and then “watch” as Jesus demonstrated–even quoted–those prophecies to show that He was the Messiah. I’ll be starting my doctorate in April, and I can’t wait to dig into those OT prophets. They had so much to say and raised so many questions in my mind . . .
As the Lord would have it, after submitting a proposal and completing UNCHARTED, I was contracted to write Magdalene. I toyed with several titles, BTW. Possessed? Surrender? I finally decided that the title almost had to have something about Mary Magdalene in it for quick reader identification, but since I wanted to emphasize her Jewish-ness, I was going to call her Miryam. So Magdalene seemed the simplest and most elegant solution.
At the outset, I had to ask myself a couple of key questions: first, Scripture tells us that Mary Magdalene was possessed by seven demons–and I believe that was a literal possession. I also believe that such possession occurs when a person opens the door to demonic influence in some way. So–what would cause a Jewish woman of the first century to “open the door” of her mind to demonic influences?
In that question I found the “germ” of the novel . . . and the dramatic question that drives the action from beginning to end. In short, Mary is a woman who hungers for justice, then for vengeance . . . and when the God of her fathers seems slow in responding, she turns to the gods of the pagans. Even after she meets and spends three years with Yeshua (Jesus), she has a hard time letting go of her hurts . . . and can’t we identify with that?
I also had to ask myself if the followers of Christ were perfect after they walked with Jesus. Well, of course they weren’t, but was the idea I had for Mary credible? My husband and I had several discussions about whether or not a Christian could/would commit a grave sin . . . and I had to figure out a way that Mary could struggle with what she does, and be highly motivated to do the thing she does (hard not to give plot points away!)
But in the end, some of the best little twists came directly from Scripture . . . the idea of the crimson/purple cloth, for instance. Magdala was a city known for dyers, and the details fitted together very well. Miryam was also a woman of some respect (since she’s almost always listed first when the women are named), and Scripture tells us that the women provided financial support for Jesus and his disciples as they traveled. So she must have been a woman of some means, and apparently had no ties to family because she had the freedom to travel around for extended periods of time.
Very interesting . . .
Tomorrow: the Research