Monday, April 24, 2017

Blog Tour Guest Post + Giveaway: The Fisherman's Bride by Catherine Magia

Please join me in welcoming Catherine Magia to Let Them Read Books! Catherine is touring the blogosphere with her historical fiction debut, The Fisherman's Bride, a novel of the wife of St. Peter. Catherine is here today with a guest post about her own spiritual journey and the inspiration for giving a voice to a woman forgotten by history. Read on and enter to win a copy of The Fisherman's Bride!

She has no name. She is not even a footnote. Her tale is hidden behind the well-told fable of her husband, the man who would become Simon Peter, the first Apostle.

Cast off by her family after shunning a wealthy suitor to marry a humble fisherman, her life is fraught with hardship. She endures her husband’s growing restlessness, fish shortages from the Sea of Galilee, and the oppression of an all-powerful Roman Empire over her people. Then her life is forever changed when her dying mother is saved by a miracle performed by a young carpenter—a man who speaks with understanding and acts with compassion. A man who can inspire the extraordinary.

Simon Peter lives on in history as the undaunted martyr of the carpenter. This is the untold story of his young bride. Her journey traverses villages and deserts, love and tradition, and a brewing revolution, to an awakening of faith that challenges everything she has ever known.

My own spiritual journey inspired The Fisherman’s Bride, the journey from brokenness to healing. Eight years ago, I hit the lowest point in my life personally and professionally. I had post-surgical complications at the same time that I was laid off from my job and ended a long term relationship.  I was utterly lost. I traveled and wandered for about a year, searching for my path. Along the way, I learned lessons of authenticity, courage, and humility.  During a retreat in the Shenandoah Valley, being chased by cows with a Bible in hand, I discovered a new inspiration. I imagined the story of a woman who was also abandoned by her husband, a man who left without a word to follow Jesus, a man we know as Simon Peter.

I spent the next seven years researching and writing this novel. The academic research was based on a plethora of books on the history of the time, books on culture and fishing society, revolution and how the Roman occupation of Israel was much like the Nazi occupation of Europe, as well as the gnostic gospels, Gospels of Thomas, Mary Magdalene, and Judas, as well as the well-known gospels in the accepted canon. I also consulted first century theologians like Clement of Alexandria.

In addition, I traveled to the Middle East (Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey) several times throughout the course of seven years.  On my sojourns, I sought to get an authentic sense of the time and place. I remember the angle that the sun rises, how the trees are bent and twisted, the color of the sand and the earth.  I touched the stones in old Jerusalem and felt the scorching winds on my skin.  I traveled to Capernaum and Galilee, Bethlehem and Nazareth, Bethany and the Jordan River, and allowed myself to be transported back to the times of Jesus.

Additionally, I listened to the stories of the people. There are so many legends and folk tales, oral histories passed from generation to generation, that have not been documented. These sources provide wonderfully rich insight to how things must have been.

For example, did you know that the worth of a bride was predicated by the number of camels she could command as a bride price? Five camels was the highest honor for a young maiden…one camel meant she wasn’t worth much at all.

Did you know that Joseph and Mary had trust issues leading up to their marriage? One of the early Christian caverns in Cappadocia, Turkey, depicted images of Joseph testing Mary in the temple to ensure that she was telling the truth. In other words, he didn’t quite believe the messages of angels about his betrothed getting pregnant by the divine.

These were the tales in whispers of legend and history, waiting to be told, and I brought them to life on the page. In a story about a forgotten woman who happened to be the wife of St. Peter.

Praise:

“Catherine Magia has penned a moving Christian story that transcends religious boundaries–a novel that occupies the rare space between the historical and the Biblical realms. At once speculative and interpretive, Magia’s vigorous first-person narrative of St. Peter’s wife makes a compelling case for the life, motivation and spirituality of a minor, nameless biblical character. An ambitious and impressive debut.” -Andrew X. Pham, author of Catfish and Mandala and The Eaves of Heaven: A Life in Three Wars

“Right from the start, the evocative and compelling tone of The Fishman’s Bride casts its line and draws in readers with a deftness that borders on enchantment. Perhaps this is because Catherine Magia uses an uncommon perspective and outsider’s view of events. And, by ‘outsider,’ this means observations that come from beyond Jesus’ inner circle, yet are closely connected by love and association. Also included in the saga are stories of fortunes made and lost, faith thwarted and regained, fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and the impact of social and political change upon entire communities. Catherine Magia’s attention to embracing the extent of daily living in biblical times, from different methods of preserving fish to different attitudes encountered during their travels, brings the story to life.

Readers of Christian literature and biblical retellings will find this story a powerfully written, compelling account of the impact of Jesus on all layers of society, narrated from the eyes of an outsider to his central group of believers who uses the ordinary life experiences of an unnamed wife to chronicle an extraordinary journey of love, faith, and miracles.” -D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

About the Author:

Catherine Magia was born in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to New Jersey as a teenager. Although her formal education was in the hard sciences, Catherine has always maintained a passion for the written word, publishing her poetry in several literary journals including the Michigan Quarterly Review.

She discovered the voice of Simon Peter’s wife on a soul-searching journey, a trek through the biblical lands of Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. She spent seven years researching and writing her debut novel, traveling as far as Ephesus, Turkey.

She is working on her second book – the conclusion to The Fisherman’s Bride.

By day, she works as an associate director of marketing research in the development of new cancer medications. She is currently based in Boston.

For more information please visit Catherine Magia’s website and blog.


GIVEAWAY!

To win a copy of The Fisherman’s Bride by Catherine Magia, please enter via the Gleam form below. Two copies are up for grabs!

Rules:

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. The Fisherman's Bride

The Fisherman's Bride is on a blog tour!


1 comment:

  1. I love the premises of this book. Have heard so many positive things regarding The Fisherman's Wife. It's on my TRL. Can't wait to read it. Congratulations to Catherine on her book.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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