“No great thing is created suddenly." ~~ Stephen King in Doctor Sleep

Hi all,

Welcome to October... the month of scary stuff and pumpkin spice.  :-)

I decide to start the Halloween season off with a little Q and A.  If you have any questions about JABB that you'd like answered, please let me know.  Thanks!

God bless,

Ask a JABB Co-Founder: The Halloween Edition Part II

Question: We haven't seen much of Andrew's AOD work in recent stories.  Will you get back to that?

Answer: Yes!  To be honest, story-wise this whole year hasn't gone as planned.  I wasn't going to do a big issue story but then I started one and it's taking forever to finish.  So that's pushed back all other stories including two which would have featured Andrew-as-AOD.  Rest assured, Andrew is still an angel of death and is regularly taking people Home.  They've just been shorter assignments. 

Since Halloweentime is also when All Saints Day and All Souls Day are celebrated, I thought I'd address this question here:

Question: When you write for Joshua and the other biblical characters, are you writing what you actually believe or just what you think makes a good story?

Answer: If it's something of moral significance or something that I feel is vital to Christian faith, then I write what I actually believe.  I would never have Joshua say something that was counter to my understanding of the teachings of Yeshua/Jesus.  I hope what Joshua says does genuinely represent Yeshua's teaching, of course, but I'm an imperfect human being.  Surely I can't have everything right.  But I try.

In other matters, I will write what makes for a good story.  Do I necessarily believe Mary of Magdala and Mary of Bethany are the same person?  Not really.  Do I believe it's possible?  Yes.  So I felt free to write a story in which Mary, the little sister of Lazar and Martha of Bethany, marries a man from Magdala.  Some people do believe that the two women are one and the same and I don't personally believe one's faith is going to be impacted no matter what side of the issue you land on.  For comparison, generations of people went their whole lives believing Mary of Magdala was a prostitute.  Was it wrong?  Yes.  Do I think they were punished for having that false belief?  No.  (I reserve the right to believe Yeshua may have had some compassionate but strong words for the man who started the slander, though.) 

In a similar vein, I had Yeshua's siblings all be his cousins who Maryam and Yosef adopted after they were orphaned.  Do I believe that?  No.  But I didn't want to lose Catholic readers over something that really isn't integral to the story I'm trying to tell and the message I want to put out there.  And it does fit in really nicely with the stories' overall theme of family being about more than blood. 

And I obviously don't believe that Andrew witnessed the Crucifixion because that was a real event and Andrew is a fictional character.  However, I do believe that some angels had a more direct experience of the Crucifixion so, not knowing their stories, I chose to explore that possibility via Andrew.

Question: Have you ever abandoned an idea for a Dyeland story because you decided it was too dark/scary?

Answer: Abandoned?  No.  Delayed?  Yes. 

The idea of a pre-Flood, demonic breeding cult was something I'd considered several years before I ended up using it in "Shadowlands."  As someone who studied the Bible, I know some of the super-weird, super-creepy theories about the Nephilim.  I was not interested in exploring the idea that they're half-demon, half-human because that doesn't fit in with my belief system.  I don't believe angels can procreate so since demons are fallen angels... how would they be able to procreate?  I don't believe Satan is able to dole out procreative abilities.  But I could imagine them trying to build a super army via selective breeding of captured humans and, thus, creating the Nephilim that way.  As for why I wanted to pursue that plot line at all... 1. I wanted to introduce El-Chanan and the Great Flood seemed like as good a time as any for an off-shoot of humanity to move into another dimension, 2. I knew I eventually wanted to do a story on modern human trafficking and the El-Chananite characters would be a good resource for the Friends since they would have had experience with an ancient form of trafficking, and 3. the demons behind it would be great foils for Andrew who is in a very self-sacrificing relationship with a woman. 

I had at one point, several years ago, considered a story in which demons somehow tricked Andrew and JenniAnn into believing that Adam had fallen.  I honestly don't remember many details but I eventually abandoned it not so much because it was too dark so much as it was too stupid.  Especially post-Joshua, Andrew and JenniAnn would have to be struck hard with a gullibility stick to fall for that.

I've also toned down all of the Crucifixion scenes.  Maybe that won't always remain the case but, at this point, I don't feel ready to explore the full brutality of it.

Question: Have you ever had a nightmare because of anything you've written in a Dyeland story?

Answer: Not that I recall.  I've definitely lost some sleep, though!  Andrew's account of the Crucifixion in "The Carpenter" was written late at night because I couldn't sleep knowing that scene was out there... waiting to be written.  So I stayed up and wrote it.  I don't remember clearly after that but I imagine I laid awake for a while in bed once I'd finished.

I have actually incorporated at least one of my nightmares into a Dyeland story.  In "Remembrance," JenniAnn has a nightmare about seeing Joshua in a concentration camp and trying to alert people but it was as if she was a ghost.  No one could hear or sense her... Joshua included.  I did actually have a nightmare like that.  I was very glad to wake up.

Question: Does Andrew have a Halloween section in his scrapbook?

Answer: Why yes...  Yes, yes he does.  ;-)  And here it is since I can't remember if I ever shared these before.

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for making Andrew such an encouraging, lovable character... who is nice to daydream about after watching a scary movie.

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(Photo Credits: The photographs used on this page are from Touched by an Angel and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions.  They are not being used to seek profit.)