During the two years I worked on The Hamsa, I became very interested in Celtic spirituality. I obtained a Celtic Prayer book authored by William John Fitzgerald. I still use it daily. One scripture reading from the Book of Tobit captured my attention.
“Raphael answered, “I will go with him; so do not fear. We shall leave in good health and return to you in good health, because the way is safe.”
I had never read the Book of Tobit. Frankly, I had not even heard of the Book of Tobit. Fortunately, I live not far from the Redemptorist Renewal Center in Picture Rocks at the edge of the Saguaro National Park in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. The Center has a wonderful library and I spent many early mornings reading the Book of Tobit. You will note that on the title page of The Hamsa, I include the aforementioned quotation.
While The Book of Tobit is perceived in different ways by different people of different religious persuasions, I believe The Book of Tobit tells us about doing the right thing under any and all circumstances, and that is the core concept of my novel Tobit and the Hoodoo Man.
Trained as a warrior, I respect all men and women who serve and who have served their countries in uniform though today, I am an avid supporter of non-violence. In deference to popular American culture, I believe ‘the greatest generation’ of American servicemen and women were those who fought and died in the Civil War, the War Between the States. Their efforts preserved the United States of America. If Americans love their country, they must acknowledge that it remains intact due in no small part to the more than 600,000 men and women who died to preserve the nation some 150 years ago.
After reading the Book of Tobit several times, I decided I would write a manuscript and tell the story of Tobit with the Civil War South as its backdrop. I tried diligently to include all of the major events in the biblical Book of Tobit. That objective led to many twists and turns that made writing this manuscript an enjoyable process.
Unfortunately, from my perspective, I had already used ‘Raphael’ in The Hamsa, so I elected to use another archangel, Gabriel in his stead as I wrote Tobit and the Hoodoo Man. Hoping to stay true to form and in context with the Apocrypha, I introduced another ‘mystical’ dog and named him Caesar after my own best friend.
Story ideas come from many sources. I have a lengthy list of concepts and ideas that continually grows, ideas I intend to develop into manuscripts. I encourage you to develop and keep you own ‘list’ so that you never run out of ideas worthy of your talent.