Author interview with C. L. Francisco of ‘The Gospel According to Yeshua’s Cat, A Cat Out of Egypt, The Cats of Rekem, Cat Born to the Purple’
All 4 e-books in the “Yeshua’s Cats” series are being discounted this week! Each is a different story taken from the life of Jesus of Nazareth and the people around him—all told by a family of cats descended from an Egyptian temple cat from the temple of Bast at Bubastis. “Gospel According to Yeshua’s Cat” is the original Cat book, telling the story of Jesus of Nazareth from the point of view of a cat who travels with him under his mantle. “A Cat Out of Egypt” is a rousing adventure of the child Yeshua’s escape from Egypt with the help of a Nabataean caravaneer, a temple priestess, and a cat. “The Cats of Rekem” rejoins the characters from “Egypt” in the midst of Yeshua’s ministry, and introduces the Apostle Paul via the Damascus wall. “Cat Born to the Purple” is the first of a two-volume story of the life of Lydia, the seller of purple, from the book of Acts. The 5th book, “Yeshua’s Loom,” due out in the fall, will complete the story.
The cats are back! And C.L. Francisco, author of these feline fables is with me today to chat about Yeshua’s Cats. C.L. Francisco, welcome Back! It’s wonderful that you’ve returned for some gossip about these wise cats and this time I have a fresh set of questions to play with. We’ll kick it off with, where did the idea to explore this period through the eyes of cats come from?
Check out http://clfrancisco.com/the-emergence-of-yeshuas-cat/ for a serious answer to this question!
Wow, it’s got pictures of some pretty special looking cats and everything! Thanks for coming so prepared to this question, and I’m sure readers will be greatly served by reading your prepared answer on your site. As you’ve been so prepared in response to this question, I’ve got a feeling that you’ve also brought these tendencies to your own writing. Was there a large research element to the series to ensure that the lives of these cats were portrayed accurately?
All of my books required huge amounts of research! For instance, for Cat Born to the Purple I had to learn about ancient spinning, weaving and dyeing techniques from the ground up, with no background whatever. Then there was unearthing reliable information on extracting royal purple dye from the murex sea snails . . . and the culture of Phoenicia, particularly Acco, in the 1st C, ships and sailing, merchants and workshops of all kinds . . . you get the idea!
That sounds like so much fun, and I’d really love to know how they extracted purple from the sea snails. And the culture of Phoenicia. Okay, I’ll just note all of these topics down and then investigate them after we’re done. Thanks for spurring on my next research topics. Was this research one of the largest rewards of working on these tales? Or were you touched by other ideas?
All of the Yeshua’s Cats books have had numerous moments of . . . what shall I call them? Grace? Inspiration? Magic? Whatever it is that flows like a mighty underground river, out of nowhere into words that I often swear I couldn’t have written!
I think that you should use all three of them. That magic flow is hard to describe, but I’m very glad to hear that you’ve used its flow to produce these tales. How did the characters come to life within this magical graceful flow of words?
Some were written into history, so only their personalities were flexible. Others just swam up from my own depths into in my creative trawling nets. A few have been loosely based on people I’ve known, but not many.
Did you feel like the personalities of your characters were more informed by the plot, or instead was the plot and the historical settings that drove the character development?
Both! New characters that I’d never imagined are always popping up, and the ones I think I know keep adding new dimensions. Both the characters and the plot are living beings, with minds of their own.
*Laughs* It’s alive! I imagine when your characters and plot are both living, breathing and ever changing there must be ideas or thoughts that you come across that you just can’t service with enough justice in the current book that you’re writing. Are you currently working on any book projects from some of these ideas?
I’m halfway through the second half the story of Lydia the seller of purple. The working title is Yeshua’s Loom, and it should be out in the fall. I also have a second mystery in the works. The first was This Madness of the Heart (Feb, 2017), and the 2nd is Blood on Holy Ground, due out when I find time to finish it!
Good luck finding time to get both of these done! What keeps you coming back to add new chapters to both of these series?
It’s what I do. It’s close to being what I am. I’m not how I filled my days before I started writing!
I’m so glad you’ve moved towards more days were you really get to fill them how you desire. Are dedicating yourself to writing full-time, or are you writing as a side-gig?
Happily, I’m retired! The major battle is writing all I want to write before the inevitable downhill slide starts seriously picking up speed.
It’s wonderful that you’re happily retired! I went to a 100th birthday party a few weeks ago for someone who would be more than capable of writing a novel so don’t anticipate a downhill slide too early! As you get to spend your time in the pursuit of writing do you find that your creative process is pretty solid? For instance are you a strict planner or do you find the end of your works as you’re writing?
I always have a vague plotline when I start a book, but it’s definitely more tied up in character development and creative aha’s than in planning.
Is there any music that inspires or supports those creative aha’s?
Classical music: Baroque and Mozart. No words, nothing modern.
I can see how those would let those creative thoughts percolate. Do you ever find that there’s days when your ideas just don’t rise up and you’re stuck? How do you get past the stuckness?
So far, I’ve never had it. For me, it’s more writer’s blah, or writer’s disgust! When it’s the blahs, I just keep plugging and come back to it later to give it life. For the disgust, I quickly turn off the computer and walk away, hoping that I’m just in a defeatist mood. I always have more ideas than time to write them down.
Being restricted to picking the best ideas is a fantastic problem to have! As you have such a wealth of ideas I was hoping that we might be able to borrow a few in the quick fire question round to share around some of thoughts that may motivate others. Let’s start with a simple one; what is your favourite quote?
TH White, from The Once and Future King: “The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.”
Never dream of regretting. I’m just going to sit here for a ponder and absorb the gem of learning something new. Which kind of sounds like an excuse to read or write more books! Now, here’s a great thought for a new book, who decides what morality is?
That’s a dissertation, not a quick question!
*Laughs* I know! It completely is a dissertation question, but I really love that question and I was hoping some intelligent authors might be able to toss up some new ideas to add to my own. Since that one’s a bit too big of a question to answer without half a day, let’s try one that is hopefully a little bit simpler. Where is the line between insanity and creativity?
In having enough control to shape creative chaos into art
What is your favourite word?
If all of the world is a stage, where does the audience sit?
In the trees.
I hope those trees are in that wilderness. What happens when you get scared half to death twice?
Fear has a limited half-life.
Now that is a really good point, and explains why you don’t see many people dying of being scared half to death! Now, for our final less philosophical pondering, what is your favourite line from your book that you feel will entice readers to play with the Yeshua’s cat series. What’s your best bet?
“Mari, do you trust me?” “Like a kitten trusts the sweetness of her mother’s milk, son of Earth.” “Do you love me, little mother?” “More than the warmth of the sun.” “Then listen to my voice, Mari, and do as I tell you.”
Aww, thank you for sharing that sweetness and warmth with us today. And thank you for sharing your ideas and insights from your series of wise cats and I look forward to seeing the next installment of the Yesuha’s cat series.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘The Gospel According to Yeshua’s Cat, A Cat Out of Egypt, The Cats of Rekem, Cat Born to the Purple ( ASINs: B00FN9OWHU, B00O78WU9U, B017BXRLI2, B01M0DJOGF )‘.
Want to find out more about C. L. Francisco? Connect here!C. L. Francisco