AUTHOR: Matthew Peters
BOOK TITLE: THE BROTHERS’ KEEPERS
PUBLISHER: MuseItUp Publishing
Barnes & Noble:
Please tell us about yourself.
My name is Matthew Peters. I live in North Carolina with my girlfriend and two cats. I’m a recovering academic, who writes fiction.
Please tell us your latest news.
My religious thriller, THE BROTHERS’ KEEPERS, was released on October 1 by MuseItUp Publishing.
Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
Thanks to a loving, understanding girlfriend, I am full-time writer. I organize my writing time by writing/editing/revising in the mornings and researching/marketing/promoting in the afternoons. I try to do it five days a week, but sometimes it spills over into the weekend.
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing fiction in 2006. I’ve always loved writing but turned to fiction in 2006 because I wanted to try something different from the academic non-fiction stuff I had been doing.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Reading Dostoevsky’s CRIME AND PUNISHMENT.
What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
I am always either writing/editing or thinking about it. However, I do enjoy listening to classical music, especially when I’m reading/writing.
Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?
I learned that faith is an internal matter that is not necessarily connected to any outside institution or organization.
How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?
Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.
Here is the back cover for THE BROTHERS’ KEEPERS:
Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, and Jesus’ purported spouse, Mary Magdalene. But what about Jesus’ siblings? What role did they play in early Christianity?
Contemporary Jesuit and renowned religious historian Nicholas Branson is about to find out…and the answer will shake the foundations of the Judeo-Christian world.
It all starts with the murder of a United States Senator in a confessional, and the discovery of a strange religious document among his possessions. At the urging of his FBI friend, Branson joins the investigation. His effort to uncover the truth behind the murder draws him into the search for an eight-hundred-year-old treasure and into a web of ecclesiastical and political intrigue.
Accompanied by a beautiful, sharp-tongued research librarian, Jessica Jones, Branson follows a trail of clues, from the peaks of the awe inspiring French Pyrenees to the caves of war-torn Afghanistan. Along the way, shadowy powerful forces trail the pair, determined to keep safe a secret buried for centuries.
How will it end? Read … if you dare.
What gave you the idea for this particular book?
I started with a what-if question: What if we found writings by Jesus himself? Then, after I did some research, I asked myself what role Jesus’ siblings might have played in the formation of Christianity, or at least what we know today as Christianity.
Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?
I come up with an overall idea of the plot, and the characters, and then I make a scene card for each chapter.
Did your book require a lot of research? If so, what kind?
I researched several months before I wrote a single word. Most of the research consisted of reading academic books from a local university. I’m also a big fan of YouTube and Google Earth.
How long does it take to write a book, and what is your process?
I try to write the first draft of a book in about a year. Then there is editing and revising, which involves beta readers.
What advice would you give a new writer starting out?
Read the classics and as much good literature as you can get your hands on. Read widely, too, from poetry and plays to science and politics. If you don’t read well, you can’t write well.
What are your current books out right now, and what are the books coming up for release?
In addition to THE BROTHERS’ KEEPERS, I have a work of literary fiction called CONVERSATIONS AMONG RUINS.
Here is the back cover:
Conversations Among Ruins is a portrait of a descent into madness, and the potential of finding salvation there.
While in detox, Daniel Stavros, a young, dual diagnosed* professor meets and falls in love with the cryptic Mimi Dexter. But Mimi has secrets and, strangely, a tattoo identical to a pendant Daniel’s mother gave him right before she died.
Drawn together by broken pasts, they pursue a twisted, tempestuous romance. When it ends, a deteriorating Stavros seeks refuge at a mountain cabin where a series of surreal experiences brings him face to face with something he’s avoided all his life: himself.
Though miles away, Mimi’s actions run oddly parallel to Daniel’s. Will either be redeemed, or will both careen toward self-destruction?
*The term dual diagnosed refers to someone suffering from a mood disorder (e.g., depression) and chemical dependency.
Here are the buy links:
Currently, I’m working on the next book in the Nicholas Branson series.
What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?
I look for clarity in writing, and philosophical/spiritual depth.
What, if anything, bugs you when you read a novel?
Cardboard characters bother me, as do clichés.
What books have most influenced your life?
In addition to CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, I’d say THE BROTHERS’ KARAMAZOV, DEMIAN, by Hermann Hesse, and the short stories of John Cheever.
The Brothers’ Keepers
The man lit another cigar. “As hard as I try not to smoke these things, I just can’t seem to help myself. The treasure must have something to do with the Roman Catholic Church’s claim as God’s sole representative on earth. Nothing else makes sense. So, it has to be something that threatens their claim to such authority, and taking into account the involvement of secular powers, I think whatever it is threatens Judeo-Christian civilization as a whole.”
“How could anything bring down the dominant civilization?” Branson had thought of this often since his session with Rawlings.
“Among the world’s religions, Christianity is uniquely susceptible to having its underpinnings knocked out. Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism all developed slowly, along the lines of indigenous cultures. Without Mohammed, Islam would still live, as would Buddhism without Gautama. Christianity rests on one thing, the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus was not raised from the dead, Christianity becomes a mere set of moral maxims, at best a good way to live one’s life, perhaps even a precursor to secular humanism. But if Jesus died and was raised from the dead, then Christianity has what other faiths only promise, the guarantee of eternal life in paradise.” Albert puffed on his cigar until it glowed fiercely. “And so, Doctor, another question. Is there proof of Jesus’ resurrection?”
Branson was on familiar ground now. “The Gospels give us eyewitness accounts. Mary Magdalene sees Jesus in the garden near his tomb. His disciples see him again in the Upper Room and elsewhere.”
Albert knocked his cigar ashes into the fireplace and smiled. “Let me ask you this: which Gospel is the oldest?”
“Mark, written around 70 AD. The next oldest is Matthew, followed by Luke, and finally John.”
“How does Mark, the earliest of the Gospels, end?”
“Tell me how Mark ends his story.”
Jessica joined in. “Three women go to Jesus’ tomb and find it empty. They meet a young man dressed in white who tells them that Jesus is risen. Then, not long after, he appears to the apostles.”
“Does she have it right, Dr. Branson?”
“Well, she’s pretty close. The three women go to the tomb, find it empty, and are told by the white-robed stranger that Jesus has risen. But…”
“Yes?” Albert pressed.
“The fact is the original version of Mark’s Gospel ends there. The material about Jesus appearing to the apostles, his ascent into heaven, was added later. But in the original, Mark makes no mention of any appearance of the resurrected Jesus.”
“Is an empty tomb proof of resurrection?” Albert asked. “Is hearing about the resurrection from a stranger proof? A rather shaky foundation to build a world religion on, n’est-ce pas? What about the testimony of the Roman guards? Of course they agreed with the resurrection story. If they’d admitted to falling asleep, or leaving their posts, or getting drunk, they would have lost more than their jobs. Just an empty tomb does not a resurrection make.”
“No, but that doesn’t mean the resurrection and appearance to the apostles didn’t happen.” Branson sounded more defensive than he’d intended. He didn’t feel himself to be in a strong position to serve as apologist for the Church, not here and now.
Jessica cleared her throat. “So, let’s ask a different question. What would constitute proof that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead?”
Branson let the objective scholar within take over from the Catholic believer. Under the circumstances, he was certainly glad he had the ability to do so. “Well, off the top of my head, I’d say finding his bones.”
“Very good,” Albert said, puffing away on his cigar. “But is that really the case? Old bones in some ossuary. How would you prove they’re the bones of Jesus Christ? Highly unlikely. So proving Jesus died is probably not the threat.”
“Isn’t there anything else that might challenge the foundation of Christianity?” Jessica asked.
Branson thought for a moment. “I suppose something that brought into doubt the virgin birth or the crucifixion.”
“Very good, Dr. Branson,” Albert said in between puffs of his cigar.
“Also very unlikely,” Branson admitted. “How can you prove the virgin birth? It’s not like Mary went around town saying, ‘Look at me, I’m the Virgin Mary.’ That title was bestowed upon her by the Church hundreds of years after her death. Unless you could find the equivalent of a two thousand year old birth certificate, or a paternity test from Joseph you’d be hard pressed to disprove it. And even if we allow for the fact that Jesus had siblings, as he clearly did from what the Gospels tell us, there is nothing to say that he wasn’t the eldest, and thus Mary could still have been a virgin at his birth, while the other children were conceived by Joseph.”
“What of the crucifixion?” Albert said.
“How can that be proved?”
“Well, I suppose you could find the cross upon which Jesus was crucified, or the nails used to affix him to the cross, or the crown of thorns he wore. However, proving any of that is next to impossible. The Romans crucified thousands and there is no way to tell from the remnants of wood who was crucified on a particular cross, the nails that were used, or the crown that was worn.” Branson thought for a moment. “So what do you think the Cathar treasure is, and where is it?”
Albert blew smoke rings into the cabin’s stale air. “Those are exactly the questions we hope you can help us answer, Dr. Branson. Will you join us in our efforts?”