A close-up image of thorns spiking off a plant branch, with a few berries on the end.

Chapter One Research Notes

I’ve been sharing research images for The Giant Slayer on Facebook and Pinterest to help curious and studious readers get even more accurate in their imaginings about life 3,000 years ago. This post collects all the notes about Chapter One: Bethlehem. Late summer, 1028bce in one handy location.

A bouquet of yellow tulips and the book The Giant Slayer on a black table.

Plausibility is the name of the game

One of the major difficulties in writing an imaginatively expanded version of the story of David from the Bible (and trying to still keep it biblical) is the utter lack of precision in the source materials when it came to time. When did all this stuff happen? Not having the...

A 3-D book cover image of The Giant Slayer

The Giant Slayer is available for purchase

This all started over 3,000 years ago, when the story of David and Saul took place–Saul was born around 1076BCE, and David around 1040BCE. But this particular retelling started in 2011, when I reached the story of David in 1 Samuel in my read-the-Bible-all-the-way-through project. I was engrossed by what...

an image of a dog sticking its head out a car window

But I’ve never been there

In The Giant Slayer (and subsequent books) I recreate the world of 1,000BCE in Israel. Youtube is a glorious friend; all I have to do is search for people hiking in any part of Israel and someone out there filmed it and put it online, so I can get sights and sounds. I can read a lot of books that contain snippets I can use about flora and fauna, camping in the wilderness, what it’s like inside a cave, what a shepherd’s life is like in countries where the kids still take the flocks out. But there’s one sense none of these help me get at: smell.

An orange leather pouch sling with two braided leads, one with a loop, the other ending in a knot.

Cloaks and slings and the siren song of authenticity

Or, the pleasures and perils of writing about three thousand years ago. As the publication date for The Giant Slayer gets closer and closer, I’ve been taking care of what seem like thousands of details. Besides all the super-fussy stuff like registering ISBNs, I’ve written a glossary and a discussion guide,...

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Spark My Muse: I’m on a podcast!

This is a brief post to alert my readers to my appearance on Lisa Colon DeLay’s podcast: Spark My Muse. (Click on the title of the podcast to be led to it; you will have to crank the sound on your listening device when the podcast gets to the interview.) We...

A line of marked-up research notes, manuscript pages, and a Bible full of post it flags.

Practice, Practice, Practice

I’m going to say this straight out, rather than ease you and me into it, and possibly lose some of you in the process: I believe that God communicated with me with words. It was last fall, just as I was realizing that all the work I’d put into the...

On a white background, wire spells out the words, don't be mean.

Loving the Villain?

According to this great TED talk by Andrew Stanton (of Toy Story and WALL-E fame), Mr. Rogers carried this quote around in his wallet: “There isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love, once you’ve heard they story.” In the last twenty years, readers have definitely grown to love all kinds of characters...

A line of marked-up research notes, manuscript pages, and a Bible full of post it flags.

Why I Do What I Do

“What I do” is turn the power of my imagination, my knowledge of story, and my historical research onto biblical stories in the hopes of developing a better and deeper understanding of who God is and what God wants of me by way of what God wanted of his followers...