Book covers, the Apostle John series

Author Interview, Susan Preston

An Interview with Susan Preston

Experience life in the 1st Century AD

Mary Marshall Scott - Yes… this is what I said… “Experience life…”

In Susan M B Preston’s Apostle John series readers walk with the people of the time. You can too.

Yes, the author uses fiction, but it is fiction based on both Biblical and well-researched historical facts.

Another reviewer said ‘the characters leap off the page’ – read the books for yourself and see if you agree.

What might you expect?

Each book is ‘standalone’ as Preston refers back to key incidents if they are important to the flow of the current book in the series. However, as a reader, you will gain the best experience by reading the series from the start. This will enable you to see the growth of one of the main characters, Benjamin, the fictional great-grandson of the Apostle John.

It is generally assumed that the Apostle John never married, and I talked with the author about this.

Susan Preston – Yes, I saw that information when I researched, and I also found a website that claimed John, the apostle married Mary Magdalene. Another website said that John married his brother James’ widow. I chose a ‘what-if’ scenario and portrayed him as a widower with a small family.

Mary Marshall Scott – You said that this was inspired by a Bible study on the Gospel of John – is it a work of fiction or a treatise on the gospel?

Susan Preston – It was indeed inspired by a detailed Bible study series. Throughout the books there are references to events in the Gospel of John. Gradually, the characters took over and ‘lived their lives’ although I stayed true to the teaching those early Christians lived by.

Mary Marshall Scott – There are not many reviews on Amazon, although the ones that are there seem positive and enthusiastic.

Susan Preston – There are many people who write to me saying how much they have enjoyed the books and are impatient for the next one. Some I have spoken with have bought books at a book event and do not have Amazon accounts. One person was aghast at the thought of writing a review. I would wish that more people who have read the books wrote a review… not for me, but for other readers. I am not a famous ‘name’ – how will other readers know if my books are a worthwhile investment or not? Still, I am happy that people are enjoying them.

Mary Marshall Scott – you subtitle your books ‘Early Christianity Comes to Life’ – is that your aim, to open a window through the centuries?

Susan Preston – This is a very good way of describing it – ‘opening a window through the centuries.’ As I researched… and I have gigabytes of research, I discovered the people. Not only the Christians, but also the people of the times. Even the Roman overlords had lives and trials, and the pagans of the times were ‘afraid’ this new belief would offend their many deities. Not all of this goes into the books, but is necessary for me so I am able to understand the times.

Mary Marshall Scott – So you do not write something that ‘pushes’ the Christian viewpoint. Is that what you are saying?

Susan Preston – Yes. Although there is a great deal about early Christianity, the series is historical, not evangelical. It describes the times, the way people lived (as far as I could discover) and the culture. I said in another interview, when writing the books so many times I wished for a telephone… even a landline – or a microwave. What you will not find in my series is a ‘call to repentance’ or instructions to ‘believe on the name of Jesus and you will be saved.’ I think there is a lot more to the Christian life than this, and I am not a preacher… I am a story-teller.

Mary Marshall Scott – All this extra information, do you share it with others?’

Susan Preston – Yes, I have a short PDF for members of my Reader’s Circle called ‘Behind the Series.’ Also, I have been producing a fortnightly series on Keys to Understanding the Bible also available to members of my Reader’s Circle.

Mary Marshall Scott – Do you ‘push’ a particular faith in either your books or in the materials you provide?

Susan Preston – No. As I said, I am a story-teller. The information I share with members of my Reader’s Circle is my research… as well as a personal, monthly letter.

Mary Marshall Scott –Thank you for your time and sharing with me, and the readers.

Susan Preston – You are welcome, thank you for your time.