The Making of Josephus: A Novel
7//28/20 - Josephus hires a new audiobook talent!
Flavius Josephus is so excited to have the most amazing vocal talent for the job: Russ Bain. Russ, in addition to recording vocal work is a working actor that you may have seen on shows such as Hanna, Manhunt, Casualty, and Snatch.
Russ is an amazing talent and I know you are all going to love his audiobook of Josephus!
7/15/20 - Editing, editing, editing!
I actually think I finished the creative writing part of my manuscript in mid-late 2019. The last year or so has been consumed with editing. I think of editing akin to the sandpaper one uses to perfect a sculpture. If no care is taken to clean the prose, to ensure the congruent flow of story, and to improve on the story or characters whenever possible, the novel would not be worth reading. I have spend far much more time editing than writing. I hired an editor. Paid him well, or at least fairly. And I can say that this book is as clean as I could make it without a team of grad students of the editing department of a large publishing company.
As the reader you should expect nothing less. Editing is by far the most important part of the writing process. Everyone can formulate a decent story, and interesting character, or a good scene. But the effort to properly vet an entire nearly 500 page manuscript is a mammoth undertaking.
This editing has made me at times feel like I'm living a loop of my own book, but every time I edit a chapter, if I make so much as one change, it gets a little better. It is at the point that I believe there are diminishing returns from continually rereading, editing, and trying to improve my work.
I believe it is ready.
6/5/20 - New Post: My trip to Israel
One of the main reasons I went to Israel was to research antiquity from the source. I spent an entire day (which still proved
woefully inadequate) at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
At the museum, there is model of the old city of Jerusalem from Josephus' time, constructed with Josephus' 2,000 year old descriptions of the city, straight from his complete works. I took dozens of photographs of this model, see the pictures below
this post for a sample of the photos I took.
Now that I had detailed images of the city from every angle, I sent my illustrators these photographs once I returned from my trip. The illustrators used my pictures to create the most beautiful, and accurate drawings of the Temple and the old city.
Beyond collecting brilliant photos, including those featured on this homepage, I immersed myself in the street level activities in Jerusalem to get as close of a feel to what Josephus may have experienced himself on an average walk about the city in his time.
One of the experiences I had on the streets of Jerusalem included listening to a street musician playing on a long thin horn that flowered at it's opening. He also had a copper bowl upside down on his lap. Playing sonorous tones with the droning horn and then tapping the copper bowl with his fingers in different places, creating a syncopated ringing of different pitched bell sounds on top of his horn.
When I heard the uniqueness of this music, and saw the excitement from dozens of people that had congregated around this musician to listen to a live performance, I knew I had to incorporate this experience into my book.
I was lucky enough to capture some of his music on video:
The years immediately following my graduation from law school were difficult.
I didn't have the best experience training to be a lawyer and wanted to do just about anything else with my life.
But what does someone do with a law degree and no license? I never took the Bar, but I did take and pass the MPRE for all jurisdictions. I thought of teaching, primary through university classes. I considered going back to school once more for a masters degree, geared for a ''good job' back in Corporate America. I thought of a myriad of businesses to start.
In this journey to find a place for my talents, I reexamined my faith. I was born a Jew, but my early childhood steered me away from Judaism; I did not have a Bar-Mitzvah at age 13, despite years of attending Hebrew school in my youth.
Yet, at age 33, looking for answers anywhere they might be, I began attending Shabbat services at Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs, California.
The great stories from the Bible that I had learned in my youth all came back to me in a new and beautiful way. I wanted more. So I began watching the History Channel, documentaries, and dramatized movies/videos of the ancient Israelites, Jesus, and the Romans.
"The first century historian, Josephus said..." I kept hearing this from the historians interviewed on video again and again as they described the Herodian dynasty and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. I consider myself a history buff, taking more history classes in college than any other discipline outside my major, and doing very well in all of them. But, I still didn't know who Josephus was. This peaked my curiosity.
Onto the internet and Wikipedia: I learned Josephus' story and my jaw dropped. I saw he wrote a history of the First Roman-Jewish War and I immediately ordered the complete works of Josephus. I read Josephus' text and my jaw dropped again. I looked for all the other literary works that must be out there on Josephus. I found no fiction based on him for the last three quarters of a century, my jaw dropped again, this time, out of its socket.
After extensive research, discovering this subject had been lost on almost our entire current-day society, I decided it was up to me, and I began to think about how to structure the novel.