PETE: You have been pretty busy recently with the release of The Ancient Path which you co-authored with John Michael Talbot, current release Seven Revolutions with James Papandrea and the soon to be released Ministers and Martyrs which is the companion to the NBC television event A.D. The Bible Continues. This writing pace is incredible. Can you describe your writing process, particularly from book development to final product?
Mike Aquilina: The process varies with the project. Two of the books you mention were collaborations with friends. That’s my favorite kind of project, because it’s really an excuse for an extended conversation. And when your interlocutors are John Michael Talbot and Jim Papandrea, what a grand conversation it is!
As for productivity, I chalk it up to not owning a TV and never turning on the radio. I try to stay focused and minimize distractions. And I try to think not in terms of books, but rather chapters. Chapters I can write. Books seem impossible to me.
PETE: As I read through Seven Revolutions: How Christianity Changed the World and Can Change It Again, I couldn’t help but notice the parallels between early Christian struggles and some of the issues we see prominent today. How much of that ran through your mind as you and James wrote this book?
MIKE AQUILINA: The thought has run through my mind a lot in the last twenty years or so. I know it’s run through Jim’s, too. That’s how the conversation got started in the first place.
PETE: Of all the influences the Church has had on the world, how did you pare it down to seven?
MIKE AQUILINA: We liked the internal rhyme of the -ev sound in “seven” and “revolutions.” So we had to pare it down.
PETE: Chapter 10 is worth its weight in gold. How did you develop A Christian’s To -Do List for the Twenty-First Century?
MIKE AQUILINA: Jim did it. The man is brilliant. I just watched and then applauded.
PETE: Let’s switch gears to a future release. How did you become involved in the A.D. television event?
MIKE AQUILINA: The publisher, Charlie McKinney, called me and asked if I would write the “ultimate Catholic guide to the apostolic age.” How do you turn down an offer like that?
PETE: The timing of these two titles is rather uncanny as they both complement each other. Ministers and Martyrs is an easily read but highly informative look into the early Church. For those planning on watching AD how closely does your book follow the series?
MIKE AQUILINA: Each chapter hangs on a peg in the corresponding episode. But I’m not following the drama, which necessarily takes some liberties with the historical record. Mine’s history, straight up, no chaser.
MIKE AQUILINA: A beautiful project: a book on the early Church’s devotion to the Blessed Mother, due out from Servant Books in the Fall. I’m co-authoring that one with my friend Father Fred Gruber, a Mariologist. So it’s another great conversation.
PETE: You know this question is coming by now. This is a blog about books. What books are currently on your bookshelf to read?
MIKE AQUILINA: Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, Journey with Jesus: Through the Liturgical Year; Maximus the Confessor, The Life of the Virgin; Larry W. Hurtado, The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins.