Please ask a question in your comment below to enter the drawing for a copy of THE LAST APOSTLE by Dennis Brooke.
We’ll give away one print copy and one audio copy, so be sure to tell us your preference when you ask your question. We’ll take comments for the giveaway through midnight on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016.
Cavanaugh stepped behind the podium, gripped both sides, and enunciated every word of his next sentence slowly, “What if Jesus meant exactly what he said—that John would remain alive until he returned?”
John shook his head.
“I am pleased to announce that this idea also intrigues a Hollywood producer. I am in negotiations for a television series based on a living apostle John.” Cavanaugh grinned broadly. “And with that, I will take time to autograph a few books.”
The noise from polite clapping in Pigott Auditorium at Seattle University was supplemented by the buzz around Cavanaugh’s announcement. A young woman who had been sitting next to John during the lecture turned to him and flashed him a smile. “That’s cool.” John gave her a distracted nod. But his heart started racing as he thought, The end times couldn’t be triggered by a stupid TV show, could they?
I’ve known Dennis Brooke since I joined the Northwest Christian Writers Association way back in 2007, when we were both in the seemingly endless stage every writer goes through—polishing and rewriting with the dream that our work would one day be ready for publication. I’m so excited to see Dennis hit the next stage with his premiere novel, and I promise you, this book is worth the wait.
Let’s get to know a little more about Dennis and his novel, THE LAST APOSTLE (the first novel in theJohn the Immortal series).
1. What was the inspiration for the plot of The Last Apostle?
This novel was sparked by a scene in the last part of the Gospel of John. The risen Jesus is walking on the shore with Peter and telling him what a terrible death he’s going to die. Peter looks behind at John who’s following them and asks, “What about him?”
Jesus replied, “What’s it matter to you if he stays alive until I return, we’re talking about you.”
Of course, the gospel goes on to explain that rumors started that John would remain alive until Jesus returned. It also explains that’s not what Christ really meant.
But when I heard that passage in the gospel I always wondered, “What if that’s exactly what he meant—that John would remain alive until Jesus returned.” I wondered what would he have been doing over the last two thousand years? How could he have influenced history? What interesting skills would a two-thousand-year-old apostle have picked up? And why would he have kept his identity a secret?
Then I started researching the life of John and learned interesting legends and facts that fit right into a story based on the idea of a living apostle John. During my travels, I’ve visited the tomb—empty tomb—of the apostle, walked in Athens where I placed scenes in the book, and stood in the amphitheater in Ephesus where he once spoke.
I’ve done my best to be true to biblical and historical facts—but speculating on the true meaning of Jesus’ question to Peter.
2. What inspired you to write this book?
The Last Apostle was actually inspired by Mike, a screen writer who was the husband of a coworker. I pitched my idea of “What if John was still alive” to him as a TV show and he loved it. He was so enthusiastic about it that I expected to be able to quit my day job to live the life of a producer on the new show. I didn’t quite contact a realtor to sell the house, but my resignation letter was mentally written.
Mike took it to a number of producers but they were looking for more edgy ideas. My show idea was kind of a Touched by an Angel meets Quantum Leap. This was in the era of the TV show Lost. Even after it got shot down he still liked the idea and suggested, “Write it as a book.”
3. How long did it take you to write the book?
After it was shot down by Hollywood, I launched into the project and turned out the “completed” version in a year. That was in 2007. But even though I had done plenty of writing in business and school, I had no idea what I was doing as a novelist—I just thought I did. I didn’t understand the industry and my craft was not up to the standards that it took to get published.
4. How did you get to the point where it was ready to publish?
Patience, persistence, and prayer! I was blessed by friends and mentors who believed in me and helped put me on the right path. I found the Northwest Christian Writers Association (NCWA) on the web and wound up on the board—mainly because I kept pestering then-president, Athena Dean with ideas. I think she figured I’d be better off on the inside where she could put my enthusiasm to work and keep an eye on me.
And through NCWA I connected with enthusiastic and talented critique partners—too many to mention. I also connected with professionals who gave me encouragement and excellent guidance. And at two critical junctures I hired professional editors, Jeff Gerke and Mick Silva. Jeff read the first part of my novel early on and gave me guidance on the basics when I really needed it. Years later Mick read the entire novel and gave me some reinforcement and some more advanced guidance at a point I was ready for it.
Part of it was also putting my work out there in contests. I learned from the good advice, learned what was bad advice, and gained some notoriety for success in the contest that Jeff Gerke ran though his publishing house, Marcher Lord Press.
Finally, last spring, I got an offer from a small, but good quality publishing house, back east. I had met with them at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference the previous fall. Shortly after that I got a counteroffer from the president of Made for Success Publishing whom I knew through a friend. They had a better distribution package and were local. They’ve done a great job guiding me through the fulfillment of this dream.
5. Do you have a dream project…something you’re planning to write someday?
My dream project is actually coming true this spring. I like to visit the places I write about so that my scenes are more authentic and I can add local color and little known history. In April my wife and I will set off on a 500+ mile pilgrimage across Spain called The Camino de Santiago or The Way of Saint James. Spoiler alert: this plays a big role in the next novel in the series.
6. What are your hobbies (other than writing)?
My wife and I love to travel both in the US and internationally. We also hike, bike, and kayak. Plus I’m an avid photographer. Both of us retire from the corporate life within the next week and will be living life on the road for the foreseeable future starting in April. We want to connect at a deeper level with different places by living there, researching history close to the source, and working with local charities. We have a website (www.WorldRovers.com) where we’ll provide advice about a world roving lifestyle.
7. Any interesting travel stories related to your writing?
We spent last Christmas and New Years in Paris and scouted out locations for a few scenes for the next novel. There’s an interesting landmark there called Saint-Jacques Tower in English. It’s all that remains of church destroyed during the French Revolution.
Saint James is the brother of John, the central character in my series. This tower is also a traditional starting point for pilgrims walking the Way of Saint James.
8. How do you measure your success as a writer?
Excellent question. I believe it’s about inspiring people to live a more fulfilling life and grow closer to God in their personal journey. I like to do that through engaging stories that stimulate and inspire people.
Dennis Brooke is a former US Air Force Officer who counts standing on the Berlin Wall in its last days as one of the highlights of his life. His work and travel have taken him to locales all over the world including Sydney, Sao Paulo, and Strasbourg. His home base is in the Seattle area. He and his wife, Laurie, are believers that you make your own adventures and they are avid hikers, kayakers, and bikers.
He is the former president of the Northwest Christian Writers Association and has been published in over two dozen international and local publications.
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