About the Book and Author

Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
Maximus: A Novel
By Richard L. Black


About the Author
I was blessed to have great English teachers through school; teachers that taught me an appreciation of reading and encouraged me to write critically. I didn't become an avid reader until my late 20's. I grew to love well-written Historical Fiction – Michener, Clavell, Wouk. I like to walk away from a book feeling I learned something whether it's about a place, culture or a period of history.

My greatest reward in writing Maximus would be for readers to say they learned something and that they appreciated the things that they learned. I explored my interest in writing in my early 30's and went back to college to take a creative writing course. I wrote short stories and enjoyed the process and received feedback that I had a talent worth developing. It would be almost another twenty years before I put my nose to the grindstone and began writing Maximus.

The writing and research process has been highly rewarding and an education in itself. I became a better writer as the book progressed. If you don't enjoy doing the research, historical fiction is probably not the genre for you. I have had a diverse life experience, which has helped my writing. I have worked with and observed many types of people in many stressful situations.

My own life has been at times fraught with difficulty and huge challenges. I have been married for almost forty years to a wonderful, patient and forgiving woman. I have eight adult children, some married with children. I draw from the discussions and experiences I have with them.

For me personally this is a good time to have started my writing career – my perspective is much broader. I don't believe twenty or thirty years ago I could have written with the passion and understanding that I think I possess today. I am still learning and growing and perfecting my craft; it is an ongoing maturing process. When you have experienced a particular emotion it is easy to describe it and write about it, you don't have to make it up, it's real.

A great asset for any writer is to have a healthy imagination but also a high degree of sensitivity to human emotion. Reading is an important part of developing your craft. I read every night and always have a book or two on my nightstand. It's invaluable to read and learn from how other writers craft a story and describe emotion and setting. I have come to the conclusion that writers are not competitors. Marketers may disagree. I think if you are truly a writer you respect and enjoy the work of all other writers. We are all describing the stories behind a unique piece of the human puzzle. And who isn't disappointed upon completing a puzzle to discover one of the pieces is missing.

About the Book

A sweeping epic, the story is part mystery, part detective story and filled with intrigue, as a war-weary Roman General Maximus goes undercover as a Jew, fully immersing himself in a totally foreign culture to learn more about Jesus, ascertain his potential threat to Rome and investigate his claims as the son of God with divine power. An innovative rendering of the story of Christ through the eyes of an outsider, assuming a fake public identity, pondering whether he can believe in Jesus.