Nathan Maki — Author Spotlight
Today I’m happy to welcome author Nathan Maki for an author spotlight. Read through to the end to find out how you can enter to win the giveaway.
— Where did you get the idea for the Keeper’s Crown?
I’ve always been intrigued by the way the Book of Acts ends so abruptly, leaving so many unanswered questions. Acts 28:16 says,
“And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.”
What happened next?
For some reason Luke never tells us. The story of Paul’s final years and last days comes to us in glimpses. A joyful letter to the Philippians telling of converts within Caesar’s household and Praetorian Guard, a plea to Timothy to bring him his cloak and parchments, the heartbroken report that Demas had forsaken him, the sincere plea for a runaway slave to an old friend named Philemon.
And who was this soldier that kept Paul? What would it have been like to be chained to the Apostle of the Gentiles for the last years of his life? The Keeper’s Crown grew from the seed of these questions.
— What kind of research did you have to do?
The Apostle Paul is a towering hero of faith. He looms so large that I’ll confess I was intimidated to even begin portraying his character. What if I got it wrong? What if he didn’t ring true? What if I didn’t do him justice?
To overcome these fears, I delved deep into research. My wife and I took a trip to Rome and walked the streets Paul walked on (ostensibly as a tenth anniversary trip, mind you!) I read the Book of Acts account and all of Paul’s epistles, as well as four different histories of his life and ministry.
Slowly I began to piece together a picture of a man who was bold, zealous, stubborn, fallible, anointed, eloquent, disabled yet determined. A man who overcame unbelievable obstacles to carry the message of Christ across nearly 20,000 miles of sea and land and right into Emperor Nero’s courtroom.
Paul is an incredible, challenging character, and someday I hope to meet him in Heaven and ask him whether I even came close to getting it right.
— How much of your life is in the book?
My son, Alexander is eight now. I gave him the first copy of The Keeper’s Crown ever printed, and he just started reading it. Every now and then he looks over and says, “Dad, is Quintus really me? He is isn’t he?” He’s thrilled by the thought. And it’s true, Quintus at the outset of the novel is seven, the same age as Xander was when I was writing the book. And some of the things, like Quintus saying, “Dad, pick me up! Let me sit on your head!” are straight out of Xander’s mouth. I couldn’t make up any more precocious kid if I tried.
For my part, The Keeper’s Crown grew out of my quest to define godly success. What does success look like for a husband, father, pastor, author, business owner, Christian? Some would view Paul as an utter failure, at least by world standards. In terms of godly success, of course, he is a wild success. What is godly success? By the time I wrote “The End” I had my answer.
Success is doing God’s will, regardless of the result. That’s comforting and challenging all at once. I hope and pray this book will be the same.
Readers, leave a comment below for a chance to win either a signed paperback or ebook copy (winner’s choice) of The Keeper’s Crown. (For US and Canadian residents — *ebook only to Canada*)
Nathan is also having a Facebook party today between 11 and 3 EST, including a pictorial tour of Rome from his visit there, Q and A, trivia and games, virtual snacks (non-fattening 😉), hourly e-book giveaways, and two grand prizes of signed Proof copies of his book (of only 5 ever printed.) The address is https://www.facebook.com/NathanDMaki/
ABOUT THE BOOK: The Keeper’s Crown
As a boy, he dared to fight Nero. Worse, he won.
Stripped of his family, the love of his life, and his self-respect, he sets out on a quest to win a victor’s crown, rescue his parents, and restore his family’s honor. But his path to glory in the restless province of Judaea is threatened by the corrupt governor Felix, the murderous priest Melechi, and most of all by the rabble-rousing Paul of Tarsus.
When Quintus finds himself in Rome chained to Paul all hope of a crown seems lost, but Paul’s example makes him question the true meaning of success. And why does Jael, the mysterious young Jewess who once saved his life, now respond with barely restrained flashes of hate?
The Romans took her father and her brother from her.
Now Jael vows to fight for her father’s faith, fulfill her brother’s oath, and avenge their deaths. But the further she travels with Paul and Quintus the more she feels torn. Can she follow her heart and still keep her vow?
He turned the world upside down.
Paul never expected to end his ministry in chains, but even still, he is determined to carry the gospel to Rome and the Emperor Nero himself. But what if those who need the gospel most are those closest to him? As the Great Fire strikes Rome, fanning Nero’s persecution of the Christians to a white-hot fury, murderous secrets, impossible choices, and steadfast faith will lead to tragedy and triumph.
JUST RELEASED APRIL 1 http://hyperurl.co/alu5nq
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nathan Maki
A life-long love for historical fiction and a passion to create high-intensity, realistic novels from a Christian world view has propelled Nathan into his writing career. He is the author of the War Within series of novels set in Ancient Rome, and most recently The Keeper’s Crown, a novel of the Apostle Paul.
A recent trip to Rome to walk the ancient streets, explore the Catacombs, and stand in the Coliseum plunged Nathan even deeper into the ancient world he brings to life for his readers.
Nathan’s novels combine the faith and romance of Francine Rivers’s Mark of the Lion trilogy with the action and adventure of Bernard Cornwell or Conn Iggulden.
Nathan lives in Ontario, Canada, with his wife, son, and three very spoiled dogs. He pastors a church and manages his own business in addition to his writing. Sometimes he even sleeps.
Nathan Fun Facts
Like most true Canadians Nathan has a fake tooth thanks to hockey (and his high-sticking brother!)
In 2016 Nathan and his wife Rachel celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary with a trip to Rome (Which Nathan calls “My Happy Place.”)
Nathan, Rachel, and their son Alexander have two pugs, Pandy and Portia, whose idea of a good life is waking up, eating, napping, eating, napping, potty, and bed. A recent addition is Oliver, the Boston Terror…er…Terrier.
Nathan spent 13 years in a program called Bible Quizzing and memorized over 6000 scriptures. His team took 2nd place in North America one year.
Nathan graduated from Carleton University with highest honors in Journalism and History only to become a landscaper, author, and pastor. Go figure! 🙂
Nathan has ridden horses in Texas and Arizona, studied fencing and saber dueling, and considers skiing, skating, and tobogganing a great way to spend his free time in the winter. (When he’s not reading or writing historical fiction.)
Excerpt from the Book
The prisoner looked over his bare shoulder at Quintus. “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?” His voice was steady and calm, as if he were asking a newcomer to a bathhouse about the weather outside.
A Roman! Quintus froze. If this man’s claim was true, by law they should not even have fettered him. They certainly could not scourge him.
“Hold,” he told the inquisitor. “Don’t touch him until I return.”
Quintus sprinted the stairs three at a time. He found Lysias nursing a cup of wine and staring blank-faced at the milling crowd in the Temple courts below. Lysias turned and cocked an eyebrow. “Has he broken already? I had him made of sterner stuff.”
“Watch what you’re doing with this one,” Quintus said. “This man is a Roman.”
The tribune set down his cup so abruptly its contents sloshed over his hand. He didn’t seem to notice. “Take me there.”
When they reached the dungeon, the prisoner was still bound as Quintus had left him. His arched back and lean, outstretched arms reminded Quintus of a juniper clinging to a wind-lashed crag. If he felt discomfort from the strained position he gave no sign of it.
Lysias paced around to face him. The man’s eyes were closed, and his lips moved without a sound. “Tell me,” the tribune demanded, “are you a Roman?”
The bound man looked up and met the tribune’s eyes with a frank gaze. “I am.”
“Hmm.” Lysias ran a knuckle back and forth across his lips as he slowly shook his head. “With a great price I obtained this citizenship.”
“But I was born free.” The prisoner’s eyes gleamed an inner light. “My name is Paul.”