by Lex Allen
I think it safe to say that every novel ever written began with an idea, germinated in the mind of its creator months or even years before the story was delivered to the world. I believe it also a relatively sure bet that none of these novel ideas began as a trilogy. There are two reasons why I’m sure this statement is true. The preponderance of stand-alone novels would be the first piece of evidence; the second would be my own experience.
I began research for what would become the Imagine Trilogy while still in my teens. I’d become disenfranchised with the religious teaching I was receiving at Sunday school and church services. I came to see Jesus as a rebel of sorts; a man who wanted to change those things that enslaved men to religious ritual and political obedience. During his lifetime, the power bases that maintained unyielding yokes on the Jews were the Roman Empire.
While reading the Bible, I discounted the connection of New Testament verses to God, the Messiah, or Son of God, and maintained the belief that Jesus had some inexplicable abilities that became the basis for the “miracles” he is said to have accomplished. I added all of that to the information I’d received while reading “Chariots of the Gods”, by Erich von Däniken, and voila – I had the idea for a novel – Jesus was an alien being.
The idea remained alive for the next four decades it took for me to finally put fingers to keyboard. The concept had, however, changed. In those forty years, I became a pseudo-student of quantum physics, absorbing all that I could, in layman terms and outside the classroom, about the string, entanglement and multiverse theories. I watched and recorded as the global economy happened with an unprecedented impact on how our societies lived. Politicians became more jaded, self-centered and money oriented than ever before, more and more people were living “virtual” lives on the internet, seldom venturing beyond the confines of their own homes and local area, fanatics and fundamentalists in each of the three major religions were at each other’s throats, and fear became the tool of choice for religious, political and economic leaders. Fear, the ages old inspiration for controlling masses of people, was easily propagated via the immense assemblages of mass media.
I had the idea to write a novel in which Jesus was the main character and he’d come from another universe to save humanity on our world. With all that I’d seen, heard and learned over the intervening forty plus years, I realized that that wasn’t enough. I couldn’t confine the story to the simplistic idea that Jesus had been an alien visitor to our world. The story had to include the inequities, injustice, fear mongering and despair that had descended upon us and Jesus was the only hero I could think of who could make a new start for humanity possible.
I tend to go into rhetorical mode (see the fourth paragraph in this article) when talking about these things. Imagine reading a single novel with page after page of descriptive diatribe. I was certain that no one read it. Hell, I wouldn’t. In order to get all the information, the concepts, the underlying humanistic themes I wanted, and to package it in a thrilling, entertaining and “must read” adventure; I would have to write more than one novel. The thought of writing a trilogy didn’t immediately come to me, but when it did, I accepted it without hesitation and set about writing “No Heaven” with complete confidence that there would be a second and third novel coming.
Often times, trilogy labels for a series of work are attributed to an author after the fact. The books of a trilogy should sustain two basic commonalities; they should be by the same author and they should include a consistent theme or the same characters throughout. Some readers will tell you that they don’t like trilogies because they aren’t always stand-alone and you have to read them in order, or the wait between books is too long, and often times, the second and third episodes are not as qualitatively well written as the first. I had a review for my trilogy in which the reader was raving about the book being a five star level review until he got to the end and decided that he didn’t like the fact that all of the “ends weren’t tied” and the story would continue. He noted that he wasn’t going to wait around for book two (although it was already available) and dropped the five stars to three.
So, is a trilogy naturally born? Is writing a trilogy the first thought in an author’s concept? I think not. But, I think it a great expansion on an original idea providing the entire story can capture the reader’s imagination and interest through a well written, thought provoking and, above all, entertaining read.
About Lex Allen
Born in San Marcos, Texas, Lex Allen was raised in the Bible Belt towns of Corpus Christi and Austin. At the age of 17 he began an extensive military career with the U.S. Army. The Army took him to Germany where he met his wife, raised a family, and remained after he redirected his career into a civil service position with the U.S Department of Defense. During this time Lex also wrote, performed, and published fourteen songs with MCP Records in Austria that led to accolades from the European Country Music Association as “Best Band and Best Album” in 1997. In 2012 he left his civil service career to pursue his passion for writing – this time trading the 12-note musical scale for the 26-character alphabet. He has since published the first two books in The Imagine Trilogy in addition to an anthology of horror stories, “Lovably Dead”, published under the pseudonym Alex Eldrich.
Lex’s views began to take shape in a stereotypical Southern Baptist home in the Bible Belt of America. An astute and eager student, he studied alternative views on spirituality and quickly became disenfranchised with the organized religion he was presented with at home. A lifetime of contemplation and over a decade of intense research into the history of Christianity, alternative spiritual philosophy, and quantum physics provided the foundation for The Imagine Trilogy. Allen has used his research and personal spiritual journey to sculpt a work of fiction that presents a thoughtful and plausible alternative dogma and religious conspiracy in a fast-paced, thriller format.
Lex currently resides with his wife of 30 years in a century old Bauernhaus in Germany where he spends his days feverishly writing the anticipated conclusion to The Imagine Trilogy, “No Religion”, scheduled for publication in late 2013.
About No Heaven
The first time He walked our Earth, He came to teach people the way to inner peace and everlasting life without fear of death or oppression by those with religious or political power. He failed.
In the streets of Germany, a mysterious man appears proclaiming himself to be Jesus. In the middle of the afternoon mass in Kölner Dom, this man shocks the masses with unfathomable healings and miracles. However, this Jesus is different from the stories and age-old traditions. He claims to have returned to Earth to save the human race from impending nuclear war and rebukes the religion sculpted around his name.
With the help of the skeptic blogger Jack Schmidt, university film student Kate Barrow, and theology professor Dr. Beth Washburn, Jesus races to save the world’s fate as political and religious forces attempt to stop him at every turn.
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