Book Update

Perhaps the seasons where you live embrace a gentle change. Not so in The Rockies. Our summer likes to argue with autumn until a massive weather system rolls in and decides the matter once and for all. The abruptness is typical of Colorado’s changing weather.

Uncompahgre Gorge, Colorado. Public Domain.

Now that autumn is in full swing, I thought it appropriate to update you on my first novel, er, novels. Yes, it is being split into two books. So the challenge now is how best to accomplish this with story threads from two different centuries and have the first book in the hands of my publisher by year’s end or early 2012. Several maps are also in the works, so it looks like I will be busy.

Thank you for your patience as I finish these while home schooling. Believe me, I am as eager as you are to read the first installment. When my publisher gives the green light, I will post the title to book one here on my website and in a subscribers’ update, along with its projected date of release. Volume two will follow later on.

Some have asked me what my book is about. It is about 186,000 words long (smile!) Seriously, and in brief, the overarching theme is how we are connected to past centuries through the unchanging Word of God and how it transforms lives.

Columba Bidding Farewell to the White Horse, by John Duncan, 1925. Public Domain

On the news front: I learned two days ago that a movie is being filmed, or rather at this point screened, on two of the men who figure in the 6th century story thread of my book. Then I discover another author, one with a doctorate in Medieval History and numerous nonfiction books under her belt, who is writing about the same two men in a fiction series centered around one of them. Now today, I learn of a successful lawyer publishing a book which gives even further insights into one of these men.

I have never been one for “coincidences,” so I find it intriguing that three authors and a filmmaker are tackling the same historic personalities at the same point in time. And I suspect the insights and perceptions of each will present differing interpretations of personalities so old they now are enthroned in legend.

What a delicious correlation!

The movie is entitled The End Time. The title role is being played by Jeremy Irons. No, I do not expect it to be a Christian epic. Hollywood at its best tends to portray Christianity as some weird sort of mystical asceticism. But that is because they do not know what it means to be free in Jesus. When interviewed, director Norman Stone said Iron’s portrayal would be a “warts and all portrayal.”¹ Interpretation: emphasis on the warts, or as a follower of Jesus would put it, emphasis on the old man.

Frosty autumn leaves. Public Domain.

One of the drawing points for me to the insular Celts in early medieval times was their fierce independence. This is curious, since Irish pagans practiced slavery. Perhaps it was precisely because they practiced slavery, for the desire for freedom is innate in everyone. God created us to be free. So when Christianity came to Ireland, and then to Scotland, this independent spirit translated into a form of Christianity that embraced the individual’s freedom in Christ. By contrast, the masses in Europe were forced to conform to a set of rules made by the Roman institution. Such control, the traditions of men, was never the intent of the gospel. Jesus came to bring liberty.

2 Corinthians 3:17 (AMP)

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom).²

Rules such as when to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and how a monk must tonsure his hair were issues of great debate until the Synod of Whitby in A.D. 664, when Celtic Christianity surrendered to the Roman Church. Insular Celts were not under Rome’s control in the 6th century, however, so their priests and monks followed various levels of self-imposed asceticism, never placing burdens on others to do so. An example of this would have been that, though monks did not, the Irish priests married and had children.

Autumn at Trout Lake, Colorado. Public Domain.

I love the Amplified Bible as a study tool. Take a peek at this passage, for the author of Romans clearly states that we are free in how we observe days, as well as what foods are good to eat.

Romans 14:5-17 (AMP)

5One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike [sacred]. Let everyone be fully convinced (satisfied) in his own mind. 6He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

7None of us lives to himself [but to the Lord], and none of us dies to himself [but to the Lord, for] 8If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord.

9For Christ died and lived again for this very purpose, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 10Why do you criticize and pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you look down upon or despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.

11For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God [acknowledge Him to His honor and to His praise]. 12And so each of us shall give an account of himself [give an answer in reference to judgment] to God…

14I know and am convinced (persuaded) as one in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is [forbidden as] essentially unclean (defiled and unholy in itself). But [none the less] it is unclean (defiled and unholy) to anyone who thinks it is unclean…

17[After all] the kingdom of God is not a matter of [getting the] food and drink [one likes], but instead it is righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) and [heart] peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.³

Feeding Gray Jays seeds in the Colorado Rockies. Amazing. Photo copyright 2011, Érin Elise.

Lest any reader think I am trying to ride the coattails of an upcoming movie, I am not, especially in light of the fact that these two sixth century characters are not major players in my story. But you have to admit it is an interesting coincidence, given that these men from early medieval times aren’t what anyone would term “high profile.” That, and the fact that I began writing my novel waaay back in 2006.

It must be something is the air.

¹ Exclusive: Jeremy Irons to star in new film about St Columba. Mike Merritt. Sunday Mail. November 8, 2009. (accessed November 16, 2011)
² 2 Corinthians 3:17. Scripture quotation taken from the Amplified®Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.”
³Romans 14:5-17. Scripture quotation taken from the Amplified®Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.”

Copyright © 2011, Érin Elise

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2 Responses to Book Update

  1. Debby Greenway says:

    I am so jazzed about this! There is no coincidence here–you are writing in grace!