Hubby and I went to see “Superman Returns” on Friday night, and I saw the first trailer for THE NATIVITY STORY. What a thrill! (And while the new Superman is adorable, the movie felt . . . blah. I just don’t think they can beat the original. I DID believe a man can fly!)
Okay, on to our topic: Like most unique ideas, I remember quite clearly where “The Immortal” originated. I was sitting outside, having my quiet time under my oak tree and reading the story of when Christ raised Lazarus from the dead. Then my mind made the leap from Lazarus to that verse that says “it is appointed unto man once to die.”
Wouldn’t it be something, I mused, if Lazarus had his one time to die and never died again? Then I realized there were others who were raised from the dead, so I went in the house and counted them. There were SEVEN people who were raised from the dead and their stories recounted in Scripture–not counting, though, those who resurrected at the death of Christ on the cross. (And there’s another fascinating story–what happened to those folks?)
Anyway, I couldn’t help but remember that seven is the perfect number, so many there were seven immortals on the planet who were helping us along in some way. Maybe this group of immortals had areas of expertise–one covered the arts, one covered governments, one covered organized religion, etc. Maybe they were quietly working to shape human events according to the will of God.
Then I bounced the idea off Grant Jeffrey, with whom I was working at the time. Grant said the idea wouldn’t work–they’ve found the grave of Lazarus of Bethany over in Israel. Pretty much a proven fact. And while I don’t mind taking a leap of faith in my novels, I do HATE going against proven fact.
So then I bounced the idea off another friend, Curtis Lundgren. Curtis said I didn’t have to let the idea go–had I ever heard of the Legend of the Wandering Jew? I hadn’t. Curtis said it’s a famous legend, was really big in medieval times, and is based on the idea that Jesus stumbled on his way to Golgatha. A man in Jerusalem told him to move along and even struck Christ, so Jesus looked at him and said, “I will move along, but you will remain until you see me coming again.” Hence, the Wandering Jew was condemned to wander the earth until Christ’s return.
Well, I loved the idea . . . but I positively HATED the anti-Semetism in it. Lest we forget, Jesus was Jewish. So I took the idea and played with it, creating a character who wasn’t a Jewish occupant of Jerusalem, but a Roman stationed alongside the road. And thus Asher Genzano was born.
At the time I was writing, the world was also caught up in the “end times” craze. The Left Behind series had just mushroomed, and everywhere there were books on finding antichrists under every bush. So while I do have that material in THE IMMORTAL, the overall theme is sort of anti-end-times-craze. My message (and all novels have one) was “let’s not spend all our time looking for antichrists. Let’s live our lives in grace and obedience.”
So that’s how the idea came to be.
Next: the research