Interview with Norman Maclean

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
One of the first stories I ever read was a Life of Christ, given to me as a very small boy. I was captivated by the time and place as much as the subject matter. That fascination has persisted throughout life.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I recall teachers laughing over something I wrote in response to the class-room topic: The Hottest Day of the Summer. I did not describe a personal experience but wrote a fantasy that involved my mother being able to fry an egg on the foot-path then the roof of our house melting... The classroom teacher praised it and showed it to other staff. I also wrote – I was about eight years old – as though I had been at the side of the street in ancient Jerusalem, watching Christ dragging his cross to execution. Not sure where that came from but it perhaps indicates a strong inclination even at that age towards the world of classical antiquity and religious thought.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The story behind my latest book, entitled, REVELATION is that I believe if there is a niche in the publishing market it should be filled, especially if there is likely to be fairly wide interest in the chosen theme. To the best of my knowledge there is no fictional work that takes the last Book of the Bible as subject matter and treats it in terms of history; puts it into historical context; ignores the widespread and erroneous notion of it being in some sense prophetic.
What are you working on next?
I am next working on revising a novel on the life of Herod the Great which I began many years ago and have not completed. So far, a fiction title on this king does not exist.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is undisciplined in that I cannot until I retire devote myself to set hours at the key-board. I tend to work at a book when the opportunity arises. I also make a lot of notes in long-hand, enjoying the spontaneity of this.
Who are your favorite authors?
Ian McEwan, Tim Winton, Mary Renaut, Alan Massie, Robert Graves.
Describe your desk
Describing my desk… an L-shaped work station dominated by the computer screen and key-board with attendant clutter of papers, a thicket of pens in an old mug, a long book-shelf on my left full of handy references ranging from dictionaries and Thesaurus to a very thick biographical dictionary, book of quotes, poetry and books on publishing.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have been motivated to become an independent author by the fact that for me it is quite impossible not to write, despite the ever-diminishing opportunities to have work published in book form. My hope is that by going on-line, I might be able to reach an audience this way and perhaps – who knows? – eventually see a book published in hard copy also.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Five favourite books and reasons for preference are:

ATONEMENT by Ian McEwan – for the beauty of his prose; the depth of his psychological insights and the superbly crafted plot.

EYRIE by Tim Winton for the vivid imagery employed and his ability to create a riveting scenario out of very little: in essence, an isolated man coming to terms with his public and private failures.

THE LAST OF THE WINE by Mary Renault which re-creates ancient Athens with such sensitivity and profound knowledge, it’s possible to smell the air of the place when reading.

KING DAVID by Alan Massie which explores with an historian’s eye, the reign of this ancient Judaean king, effectively dismissing much of the romanticism and piety usually associated with the character.

KING JESUS by Robert Graves: a radical approach to the most hackneyed theme in all literature – the life of Jesus - turning the mundane and over-familiar subject matter into a tapestry rich in symbolism, myth and controversial reassessment.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When not writing I spend my time painting and print-making (zinc-plate etching) as well as directing theatrical productions, running the local artists’ society and teaching Classical Studies – part-time - to senior high school students.
Published 2014-08-06.
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Books by This Author

Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 158,980. Language: English. Published: August 20, 2014 by Plaisted Publishing House. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Ancient
Written in the first person: the narrator and protagonist, a Hellenised Jew who eventually finds himself exiled then confined to the Aegean island of Patmos where he encounters one, Yohanan, (John) another imperial exile. Yohanan is the antagonist; he is penning a lengthy letter in code to seven urban communities of Asia Minor.