Vince Stone, author of Elijah: the Prophet Child answered some questions for me. With his permission, I share the answers with you. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.
What inspired you to write a book on the childhood of Elijah?
Essentially it came out of a simple Bible study we were doing on Elijah. The statement came up, ďHe just appears out of nowhere and says itís not going to rain until I say so.Ē That was impressive. I thought there has to be a story to be told about this guy. So I did it. I also got a bit frustrated with all the new books about vampires, wizards and werewolves. Surely, someone can come up with a better hero.
You chose to have God call out to Elijah similar to the way he called out to Samuel. Elijah also had dreams. Do you think that God could have called on Elijah when he was still a child in this way?
It could have happened like that. We really have no clue, but it seemed logical. I believe God can speak to people in all kinds of ways, but to get Elijah to do what he did, the voice needed to be really clear.
Elijah discovers some pretty amazing things about his father, things that he never suspected. After making his father a leather maker, what made you decide to give him another life before that one, a life that was not only a secret to the rest of his family, but that enabled Elijah to see King Asa?
It wasnít really planned so to speak. The entire thing came out of the writing. This is the first book I didnít outline beforehand. I just started with chapter one and pounded the keyboard. Youíd be surprised how many good ideas flow from a single sentence or paragraph. One little statement can change and enhance the plot tremendously.
Giving Elijah a big nose certainly would make him stand out in the crowd. What made you decide to give him this one feature? Were there any other features, such as making him really tall or giving him extra long fingers, that you considered?
Simple answer. Iíve got a big nose. And so does everyone on my fatherís side of the family.
Elijah had the adventure of a lifetime. He appeared before King Asa with news that would affect the entire kingdom. Was King Asa's kingdom really invaded by Ethiopians? If so, what does the Bible tell us about it?
Yes, they were invaded and the invasion did reach into the land of Judah as far as Mereshah. They are referred to in Scripture as Ethiopians, but that could be misleading. They came from that area, but we really donít know what kind of army it was. But there were a million of them and they were routed by Asa and his army with the help of God.
Elijah went from attending Synagogue to learn under the priests to becoming part of what was probably the first school of prophets. Was there really a school of prophets during King Asa's reign? And was in it his kingdom?
There is only one or two lines in Scripture referring to the School of Prophets. It is brief and gives no information other than it existed. Iím not sure when or where it existed, but it was in Scripture. That leaves a lot for interpretation. But, I seriously doubt they trained with weapons as I described.
How did you decide which modern things to work into the story? You know, things like Pinot Grigio, Ramada Inn, Mothers Against Crazy Camels, Revlona, and Promised Land Security.
Iím somewhat demented and have always had a strange sense of humor. Promised Land Security. Thatís funny, I donít care who you are.
Out of all the modern things you inserted into the story, I think my favorite was Pinot Grigio. Which one was your favorite?
Shekel tent is an obvious Walmart reference. I also had the brotherhood say, ďThe Dark Hour is Our Hour!Ē That just cracked me up. Sounds like a dog. Our hour. Iím not sure many readers got that joke, but I left it in there anyway.
Animals are people, too. You even manage to introduce animal rights activists into the story. Do you think that there were really people fighting against the animal sacrifices that God had ordered to be made?
I doubt it. People took their sacrifice rituals pretty seriously back then. But, any chance I can poke a little fun at something I find a bit ridiculous, I will.
Did you ride a camel as part of your research before writing this? Were you around any camels to see how they behaved firsthand?
No, I didnít. But I read they were difficult animals. They have an attitude.
I saw a shofar and heard one blown for the first time only a few years ago. Shofars were common during Elijah's time and do play a part in the story. Have you ever seen one and heard it blown?
As a matter of fact I have. Someone brought one to church one Sunday and blew away. It is quite annoying and loud.
I bought my own copy of this book just because I wanted to read it. If you would like to read Vince Stone's fictional account of the childhood of Elijah, I have included a link to Amazon below. There is also a link for the sequel, Elijah: the Sidonian Conflict, a book which hasn't yet been released, but can be pre-ordered.