Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Chat with Tosca Lee

Good afternoon, denizens of the Internet! With us today is special guest Tosca Lee, critically-acclaimed author of Demon: A Memoir and Havah: The Story of Eve and coauthor (with novelist Ted Dekker) of The Books of Mortals trilogy. Lee's upcoming novel, Iscariot, delves into the life of Judas, the betrayer of Christ, and will be released on February 5, 2013.

So tell us a bit about Iscariot. What was it like writing it?

It took a long time--about a year and a half to research and another year and a half to write and edit. By the time the books releases in just over ten days, it will have been nearly five years since my last solo release. I did write the Books of Mortals series during the last two years of that time, but overall, Iscariot was quite an undertaking. There was a lot of hair-pulling going on at my desk. :)

Your solo novels center around "maligned" characters from Biblical history. What draws you to these characters and makes you decide to tell their stories?

We're so fast to extoll the virtues of "good" characters in the Bible (while neglecting many of their shortcomings) and to condemn the actions of the maligned characters--without seeing our own foibles in them. All of these characters are important--they inform our redemptive history and reflect facets of ourselves. We might have been as brave as Abraham (and, at times, as foolish). We might have been as short-sighted as Eve (and as long-suffering). And we might have made the same decision as Judas.

Why is your prose so doggone beautiful?

LOL! You're so sweet. I love the rhythm of language. But trust me, it doesn't always come out that way on the first go. Every now and then I luck out. The rest of the time I work at it.

Many of your fans are aware of your passionate love affair with bacon. What would you do if all bacon suddenly vanished from the face of the earth?

<blink> Wonder if I'd been left behind.

If you could go back in time and meet yourself at a younger age, what one piece of advice would you give yourself in regards to writing or life in general?

I'd tell myself to keep writing. There were long lulls where I didn't write (other than random snippets, sketches, or notes for future stories). To not take things too personally or look to others for fulfillment, and not drink so much coffee.

Do you have any writing quirks?

I can't work if my kitchen is dirty or my counters are smudged. I feel better if my house is clean, my laundry is done, and the mail is sorted. This is all massive procrastination, though--there comes a point where order falls completely by the wayside and I'm just obsessed, running for the finish line. Maybe that's why every time I finish a project, I clean out all my closets, cupboards and drawers. Or it could be the OCD.

We know you're currently working on another project. Are you allowed to tell us about it yet, or would you have to kill us if you did?

I'm returning to the old Testament, to the feminine voice, and the City of David. Hints are on my Pinterest board. ;)

Ooh, sounds exciting! :) Anyway, thanks for dropping by to chat!

Tosca Lee can be found lurking at and Iscariot can be preordered here.

In Jesus, Judas believes he has found the One – the promised Messiah and future king of the Jews, destined to overthrow Roman rule. Galvanized, he joins the Nazarene’s followers; ready to enact the change he has waited for all his life. But soon Judas’ vision of a nation free from Rome is crushed by the inexplicable actions of the Nazarene himself, who will not bow to social or religious convention – who seems, in the end, to even turn against his own people. At last, Judas must confront the fact that the master he loves is not the liberator he hoped for, but a man bent on a drastically different agenda.

Iscariot is the story of Judas, from this tumultuous childhood to his emergence as the man known to the world as the betrayer of Jesus. But even more, it’s a singular and surprising view into the life of Jesus that forces us to reexamine everything we thought we knew about the most famous – and infamous – religious icons in history.


  1. Love this interview! Thank you for sharing your talk with one of my favorite authors!

    1. Thanks, LaDonna! And thank you for dropping by!