Archive for April 14, 2012

Indie Saturday – Author Mac McConnell on his Cradle to Cross Trilogy (Bozra, A Shepherd’s Journey; Hadad, The Innkeeper’s Journey; and Joseph, A Father’s Journey)

April 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Today, we have author Mac McConnell featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for his biblical fiction series The Cradle To Cross Trilogy (which includes the ff novellas: Bozra, A Shepherd’s Journey; Hadad, The Innkeeper’s Journey; and Joseph, A Father’s Journey).

Author Mac McConnell on his Cradle to Cross Trilogy:

Mac McConnell

So many of the biblical novels I read were so predictable with holier-than-thou heroes that I was continually left wanting — not wanting more — wanting real. I’m a Bible character impersonator, a biblical actor which began when I understudied the narrator role for the Emmy Award winning Ft. Lauderdale Christmas Pageant. You might be tempted into thinking of a stereotypical church play with maybe some good singing and cute kids scenes, but notice please the reference to Emmy Award winning, two so far. Now in our 28th year, we have eight hundred in our cast, crew and support team. We host forty-five thousand patrons each December with eighteen performances over three weekends—not too shabby.

Year number two I was cast as co-narrator, a minor role which became a major addiction to stage, acting and the spotlight. But something else surfaced. A new way to read the Bible. Not as a lesson or a sermon, but as if it actually happened. As if biblical personalities might have real lives, real heartaches, real challenges, real faith or maybe just a really bad day.

Mac McConnell

Year four, nineteen years ago, I became the sole narrator with twenty-five percent of Act II, The Passion, and forced to write my own script. My research for scripting brought me to many celebrated authors, and rightly so, but I never felt a real connection with the players. I bought and perused hundreds of Christian scripts, but found them way too churchy and immature. What to do? Without a conscious decision I began to read scripture in first person. Bam. Suddenly I was transported to first century Judea. I choose Simon Peter, the fisherman, to tell the story of Jesus. He was a perfect fit with my rambunctious personality. Full of questions, doubts and superior attitude.

Asking questions about all the gaps in the four Gospels felt sacrilegious at first, but then I sensed a responsibility to do just that. And that made all the difference in my narrations and opened the window of my imagination to author six one-man biblical dramas that became the seeds for my biblical novels. One of those dramas, Three Faces at Christmas, evolved into the three novella series, Cradle to Cross Trilogy, first place winner of Compilations and Anthologies by Independent Publishers. A story of three lives—three paths—one hope.

Cradle to Cross Trilogy

I would like to focus on Book III, Joseph, A Father’s Journey, the earthly father of Yeshua (Jesus) that begins with an estranged betrothal, but let me lay the foundation with the fictional characters of Book I and II for just a moment.

Book I is Bozra, A Shepherd’s Journey. Bozra is a shepherd boy in the fields of Bethlehem who is continually in the wrong place each time he tries to meet Yeshua. What I didn’t realize about Bethlehem shepherds is about the sheep they raise. Bethlehem sheep are groomed for one thing—to be sacrificed in Jerusalem at Passover. Bozra has a lot to learn as the youngest of five but never forgets the babe born in his home town. As an adult he and his family finally travel to Jerusalem after hearing news of Yeshua and the trouble he’s stirring in the Holy City. Bozra is determined to meet the man, but is he in time?

Book II is Hadad, The Innkeeper’s Journey. Hadad is a crusty, self-centered barkeep with zero interest or patience with a knock on his door by a man with a pregnant woman on a worn out donkey. He slams the door in their face only to hear the woman scream in agony and wonders if she just gave birth on his doorstep. Knowing his wife would be furious at his insensitivity, Bozra shows them the stable out back. He becomes infatuated with this child but has an up close and personal experience with the slaughter of innocent babies at the order of King Herod in Jerusalem. Bozra is relieved to discover Joseph, Mary and Yeshua disappeared, but he is haunted by rumors of a miracle man by the same name and regrets he didn’t give them his room at the inn, then he could have hung a sign; Yeshua Born Here.

Book III, Joseph, A Father’s Journey brings to life the earthly father of Yeshua, a man with an enormous responsibility that began in complete denial. So little is known of this man, but there in tons of info on Jewish life, marriage and the business of first century Palestine. But, trust me, this novel is not a history lesson. It’s not a Bible story or a sermon. It’s about a romance that begins under incredible pressure, fraught with danger, challenges of faith and the unbelievable responsibility to parent the Messiah. Yikes.

Joseph, in the lineage of the author of the Palms, King David, is engaged to the maiden Mary, a virgin. Joe is a hard working perfectionist carpenter that is smitten with this fourteen old and often wonders if she’s too young for him. Truth is, Joe can’t keep his mind off of her and for the first time in his life he knows his life is out of control. Love is about to take him down.

Joe is a man you’d admire. Strict work ethics. A responsible neighbor. Known for his custom carpentry with precise quality. He may charge more than others but seldom gets an argument when the finished product could easily become a cherished heirloom. He sees his life is all arranged. Predictable. He’s building his business, his reputation and about to build a family. Everything’s in place, he thinks.

Mary takes off for three months with some flimsy excuse and Joe imagined she’s having second thoughts. He lives between furious and frantic and when she returns, she’s pregnant. It can’t be him. He hadn’t laid a hand on her. Not even thought about it—well thought about it, but that’s all.

Joseph has the right, he has every right to take Mary to court and show that without his involvement she’s pregnant. That will officially clear his name. But, that’s a harsh decision. Moses provided that a betrothed woman found pregnant by another man cold be stoned. There were exceptions to that law, but the shame would be a dark cloud for years. However, Joseph still loves Mary, he does not want to humiliated her so he has another choice. To give her a simply bill of divorcement. He could do that quietly and that was best. He’d made up his mind. First thing the next day he would see the authorities. But what he saw was an angel in a dream. The angel told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. Easy for the angel to say. Not so easy for Joseph.

Joe has to swallow his pride, ignore the gossip and oh yes wait way past the wedding night for the one thing he doesn’t want to wait for. He’s either a great patient man or a huge sap. Just to make things interesting it’s census time and Joe must take his pregnant wife on the treacherous trip to Bethlehem. No honeymoon, no time off, no … nope, none of that either.

When they reach Bethlehem, the town of Joseph’s lineage, the city is swamped. Horses, donkeys, carts, wagons, tents, everything you could imagine except a place to stay. Mary’s about to give birth on her donkey, Joseph is completely humiliated. One last inn and one more, “No vacancy.” This time the scruffy little man shows them the barn, little more than a hole in the side of a hill. Joe is ready to slug the man when Mary screams, “Anyplace, Joseph. Anyplace will be just fine.”

This one night changed the way history dates events for all eternity. What follows is unprecedented—the story is long from over.

Mac McConnell’s art gallery and framing store won small business of the year as featured in Inc. Magazine. He is a record setting private pilot and black belt in TaeKwon Do. Five of his novels became finalist for Book of the Year and Footsteps of St. Peter, The Early Years placed second in biblical fiction. He sold his gallery and founded One Way Productions performing his one-man biblical dramas in churches, youth camps, dinner theaters and “on location” in Jerusalem, Greece and Turkey. Mac and his wife, Linda live in Florida.

The Cradle To Cross Trilogy includes the following novellas: Bozra, A Shepherd’s Journey; Hadad, The Innkeeper’s Journey; and Joseph, A Father’s Journey. You can also check out Mac McConnell’s Amazon author page for a listing of his other books.

To learn more about Mac McConnell, go to his website Way.Org and You Tube page. You can also follow Mac on Twitter: @macmcconnell316 and on Facebook: macmcconnell316 Drop by and say hi!


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Read an embedded sample of “Joseph, A Father’s Journey” after the jump!

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