Friday, August 5, 2016

David Lantz ~ an interview and his novel The Brotherhood of the Scroll

David L. Lantz

David Lantz was the State Director of the Indiana Christian Coalition from 1992 to 1995, and has served as a political consultant to several political campaigns for statewide office. From 1989 to 1993, he wrote and published a statewide public policy newsletter, Indiana Issues. Since that time, he has worked in the telecommunications industry. In addition to The Brotherhood of the Scroll, he has self-published three other books; "Indiana Issues: 1990 and Beyond,", "Bill Clinton: You're No John F. Kennedy", and "Buying Technology: Understanding What You Need and Why You Need It.  A telecommunications sales executive, he sold various PBX, network services and web hosting services from 1994 to 2005.  He has also appeared as a speaker in a number of forums, both to promote his books and to speak on various public policy issues. Mr. Lantz is an Adjunct Professor of Economics and Statistics for the University of Phoenix, Indiana Wesleyan and Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana.  He is the author of Think Like Jesus, Lead Like Moses: Leadership Lessons from the Wilderness Crucible, and his second novel, The Sword of the Scroll.
An adult Sunday school teacher at his church for the last twenty years, he has had several articles published in Christian magazines such as The Lookout and Sunday Digest. While with the Christian Coalition, he gave numerous speeches on the subject of Christian involvement in politics.
Mr. Lantz holds a B.A. degree in History and Political Science from Butler University (1979). He holds a Masters Degree in Public Affairs from Indiana University (1981). He is married to his wife of 36 years, Sally, and has three children.


Q: How would you describe yourself as a color? Think personality here. Are you a light and airy pastel person, or more of a deep, dark, sultry and mysterious color?
A:  Hm, I’ve never thought about describing myself as a color.  I guess I’ll go with “Sherwood forest green”.  I enjoyed watching Robin Hood (there was an old black and white TV show when I was growing up) and earned an archery merit badge in boy scouts.  People who know me say I’m a “deep thinker” and can be intense when focused on a topic I’m interested in.  I have a corny/dry sense of humor.  I enjoy using “movie metaphors” to explain a thought or concept.

Q: Are you a morning person, or a midnight candle burner?
A: Definitely a morning person.  I try to work on things that require focus and thoughtfulness in the morning.  I leave more routine things that don’t require as much focus for later in the day.

Q: Tell me one thing about each of the four seasons you like. It can be anything.        
A:        Winter = Shoveling snow.
            Spring            = Open the windows in the house after a cold winter
            Summer = Play outside with my grandsons
            Fall = Go for walks in the woods

Q: Tell me something you would like your readers (fans) to know about you.
A: When I was in college, I took an old testament literature class.  The professor had us read James Michener’s book The Source.  It’s a novel set at an archeological dig in Israel, in which the reader is exposed to flashbacks of what life was like from Abraham to Paul at the different levels of the dig.  It opened my eyes to how one can use the medium of fiction to convey the truths of the bible.  My two novels are historical Christian fiction, and it is my prayer that my readers come away from them and ask “Did that really happen?” and then go search the bible themselves for the answer.

Q: If you could morph into any creature what would it be? 
A:  Ghost, the dire wolf in Game of Thrones
            If you don’t mind me asking, why?   
A:  Ghost is the protector that appears when the moment is darkest.  He is like the Gray Champion of the Nathaniel Hawthorne short story from Twice Told Tales.

Q: When you think of a garden, do you picture vegetables or flowers?
A: I picture vegetables.  We had a vegetable garden when I was growing up, and also when my wife and I were first married, which we shared with our next door neighbors in the trailer court where we lived.

Q: If you didn’t have to clean them, how many bathrooms would you have in your home?  
A:  One for each person in the family.  When the kids were little, that would have meant 5.
                       How many if you have to clean them?
A:  Two.  I’ve always cleaned our bathrooms, and we have two.  Now that the kids are gone, I use the one thy used to use and my wife uses the one in the master bedroom.


Q: When did you start writing and why?
A: I tried to write a science fiction novel in 7th grade.  I didn’t get very far.  I enjoyed science fiction and was an avid reader of the genre growing up.  Professionally, I have worked in the world of government affairs and have been a lobbyist, among other things in my life.  And so, I wrote a number of op/ed pieces, and published a subscription based newsletter, Indiana Issues, for 5 years.

Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: When it comes to writing fiction, I get the ideas from a study of characters in the bible.

Q: How did you come to write your genera of choice?
A: In my late 30s, I became a fan of international political spy novels.  I read a lot of Tom Clancy books.  In reading the bible, it dawned on me that the time frame of Judah’s exile to Babylon (during the life of Jeremiah) was like the clash of two world super powers, the United States and the Soviet Union – except it was Egypt vs. Babylon.  That spawned the idea of a Tom Clancy like international spy novel set in bible times.

Q: What do you think is the hardest part of writing a book?
A: When I wrote The Brotherhood of the Scroll,  I had never before attempted to write a serious book of fiction.  The thing I struggled most with was how to weave 3 – 4 different “stories” from the viewpoint of the main characters into one cohesive novel.   I wrote a 36 page outline and color coded the different “scenes” depending on the point of view of the character who was speaking.  Years later I read a book by Orson Scott Card called “Characters and Viewpoint”.  Happily, I discovered that the process I “invented” was one he recommended in learning to write from the viewpoint of different characters “as if” I were them.

Q: Which element of book writing is most difficult for you?
A:  Writing descriptions of people/places/things so the reader can “see” them.

Q: What is your favorite part of writing?
A: I really enjoy finding out what will happen to the character once I start writing.  I always have an outline, so I know where the story is going.  However, it is EXCITING to come up with the actual events/thoughts/words of the characters sort of “as they happen.”

Q; Now your least favorite part?
A: Working through the little details of page layout, spelling checks, etc.

Q: Describe your favorite heroine? (This doesn’t have to be one of yours.)
A: Meg Murray in the novel, A Wrinkle in Time.  She must confront an evil presence in the galaxy to save her father. 

Q: Describe your favorite hero? (This doesn’t have to be one of yours.)
A: Jeremiah from my novels, The Brotherhood of the Scroll and The Sword of the Scroll.  He is sometimes called the “weeping prophet.”  It took me 3 years to write my first novel, and two years to write the second.  During that time period, I feel I got to know the prophet well.  He was accustomed to no one listening to him!

Q: Who's your favorite author?
A:I really like Steve Berry.  He writes great historical fiction, and his novels are always well researched.


Q: What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
A: In the last few years, I’ve taken to creating online, on demand courses.  Several years ago, I created a middle school/high school age targeted curriculum titled “Clash of the Superpowers”.  It uses my novel, The Brotherhood of the Scroll, and creates a comparative history course to contrast the 6th century BC superpower clash between Egypt and Babylon with the 20th century superpower clash between the USA and the USSR.  I am now creating a video based lecture series for the course that I hope to launch in the 4th quarter, 2016.

Q: Do you have a new book coming out soon? Tell us about it.
A: Not at this time.  However, I have two future novels I hope to write to complete the series.  The third book will be The Judgement of the Scroll, which will start with the apocryphal writings of Jeremiah hiding the Ark of the Covenant, and end with the release of the Jews to return to Jerusalem.  The fourth and final novel will be set in the present period, when a lost record authored by Daniel is found with clues as to the current whereabouts of the Ark.

Q: How can we find you? Do you have a web page, FaceBook page or any buy links?


“So, you are the great Jeremiah!” Naaman said. “Come, prophet, King Nebuchadnezzar would see you.”

Jeremiah lowered his eyes and followed Naaman into the inner recesses of the tent. He did not know what to expect, but was relieved to learn that he would not be made to wait and guess. Within the inner chamber of the tent, Nebuchadnezzar and several of his generals waited for them. Even the king’s parrots, housed in a bird cage in a corner of the tent, fell silent as the man of God entered the room.

“Greetings, prophet of the God of Daniel,” Nebuchadnezzar said. “We have heard much about you, and have found your words to be most useful.” Nebuchadnezzar handed Jeremiah the scroll which he and Baruch had worked so hard to reconstruct. Jeremiah gazed into the young king’s eyes who, unlike his generals here in the tent, was not dressed in the garb of a warrior. Instead, Nebuchadnezzar wore a sandlewood-colored robe, with a plain circlet of gold around his neck. “I am told you had no love for your now dead king, that you want his half-brother Zedekiah placed on the throne of Jerusalem in his place. But I have half a mind to destroy this city instead. Why should I not?”

Jeremiah, who had been bent over, looking down at the ground in obeisance to the Babylonian king, now stood to his full height - a good three inches taller than the Babylonian monarch. In a hoarse but steady voice, Jeremiah responded: “Ten years ago, as Pharaoh Necho led his army to meet that of your father’s, King Josiah of Judah rode out to challenge the Egyptians at Megiddo. There, Pharaoh slew Josiah, and placed Jehoiakim on the throne. From the beginning, Jehoiakim was a pawn of Egypt, sinning against God and man.”

“But the King of Judah does not represent the Lord or His Temple,” Jeremiah continued. “You are right, I do wish to see Zedekiah placed on the throne. You took him into captivity in Babylon, and there God has safely kept him for such a time as this. The Lord our God has given you His holy city, Jerusalem. You have not conquered it of your own might. Its gates have been opened to you. You may violate her and her sacred Temple, but know this: A time will come that must inevitably follow - Babylon will be scattered and cast aside in favor of another who will do the Holy One of Israel’s will. Violate her not, and you will prosper.” Jeremiah stood still, staring at the young king before him, oblivious to the tension in the room. From behind the prophet, one of the guards placed his hand on his sword hilt, waiting for Nebuchadnezzar’s order to chop down this insolent, dirty Bedouin.

Suddenly, from the bird cage in the corner of the tent, the two parrots began to chatter. “King of Babylon ... King of Babylon ... King of Babylon,” the two screeched in chorus. They wailed and squawked, and then in unison said, “Listen!” and were quiet.

Jeremiah, who in the confusion had never taken his eyes off of Nebuchadnezzar, said, “Place Zedekiah on the throne to rule as your vassal, and the Lord will bless you.”

Nebuchadnezzar struggled visibly to control himself. In the years since his ascendancy to his father’s throne, he had grown increasingly intolerant of those who would stand in his way. When this prophet’s scroll had come into his possession, he had used it as the propaganda tool he had seen it to be. Nebuchadnezzar had not expected Jeremiah to defy him in this way.

Yet Nebuchadnezzar was a religious man. He saw Marduk as providing him with divine guidance. While Daniel and this Jeremiah might claim that it was their God which directed his footsteps, he was convinced it was Marduk. The parrots had spoken at the behest of Marduk - and Nebuchadnezzar would listen.

But only up to a point.

“Very well,” Nebuchadnezzar said. “I will place Zedekiah on the throne of Judah. But know this: I will not allow her to go unpunished. I will take as tribute the gold from your temple. I will also take with me several thousand Hebrews into exile back to Babylon. Neither you nor anyone else shall deny me of my destiny. I will grant you three days to convince Coniah, son of Jehoiakim, to surrender totally. Then, I will take the vessels of your temple, and leave Naaman behind as regent until Zedekiah arrives and is installed as your new king. This audience is at an end.”

I’m happy you could join me on Books and Banter.  I hope you had fun with the Q & A’s. 

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