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Don Hoesel

Don Hoesel is a website designer for a Medicare carrier in Nashville, TN. He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University and has published short fiction in Relief Journal. He lives in Spring Hill, Tennessee, with his wife and two children.

Favorite Verses: Matthew 25: 34–36 (NIV) – “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’"


 

 Our Interview with Don Hoesel


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Spring Hill, Tennessee, with my wife and two children, but I’m originally from Buffalo, New York.  I graduated from Taylor University in Indiana with a BA in Mass Communications, and was originally planning to work in the film industry.  I did take a semester of college in Los Angeles, and even interned for a film production company there, but ended up switching careers.  A few of the things I love most are books, travel and good cigars.

What is your favorite Bible verse?  (Translation too, please) Why?

Matthew 25: 34–36 (NIV) – “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’"

I’ve always liked these verses because they’re a directive to put faith into action—to become engaged in our communities.

What was your inspiration to write Serpent of Moses?

Serpent of Moses is a follow-up to Elisha’s Bones, which introduced archaeologist Dr. Jack Hawthorne.  Elisha’s Bones wasn’t meant as the first book in a series but people seemed to want to see Jack’s adventures continue so the task was to come up with an artifact for Jack to find that hadn’t already been beaten to death in fiction.  And the Nehushtan, the staff created to heal the Israelites of snakebites, seemed to fit.
 
But if I was going to write another Jack Hawthorne book, I wanted to be sure that the artifact wouldn’t be the main focus.  Rather, it was important to me to explore what the faith Jack discovered at the end of EB would look like after he’d had some time to wrestle with it.  So in writing Serpent of Moses, I wanted to show the faith struggle of a man for whom irresponsibility and inability to commit are carefully cultivated character traits.   

 

How much research did the Serpent of Moses take?
 
Most of the research for the book was for the purpose of getting the locations right.  I’ve been blessed with a great many opportunities to travel, which makes it easier to write about places outside of the US, but the fact is I haven’t been everywhere my intrepid archaeologist has.  And I take a lot of pride in making sure that when I set Jack in a place, I get the details right.  So a lot of work goes into making sure I have the geography, clothing, culture, cuisine, etc, as accurate as I can make them.

As far as the Nehushtan, while I did some research, the fact is that the historical record is mostly silent after the staff was supposed to have been destroyed by Hezekiah.  So, for the most part, I had a blank page on which to craft the relic’s history as I saw fit.  Of course, I was mindful of the few legends that mention it and tried not to do anything that completely contradicted them, but there was little in the way of established timelines and locations about which I had to be concerned. 

What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing Serpent of Moses?

With most of my research consisting of “location scouting” I was bound to discover some interesting things about the various settings.  And that was the case when I learned about the caves outside of Al Bayda, Libya.  Reading about their history as refuges for Libyans resisting foreign occupation was intriguing.  Too, I’d been unaware of the Greek influence on the region—a find that proved fortuitous as it bolstered my proposed history of the Nehushtan.

What was the most difficult aspect of writing this story?

While I was writing Serpent of Moses, Libya was the middle of an unprecedented period of political upheaval.  With the book coming out nearly a year later, and with a good portion of it set in Libya, I had to guess how the current events would resolve themselves.  I guessed that Gaddafi wouldn’t stay in power but that much of the political and military establishment would.  So those were the circumstances that I created for purposes of the story.  For the most part I guessed right, but it would have been an issue had Gaddafi and his party somehow retained power.

 

Do you write by the seat-of-your pants letting the story unfold as you write, plot the entire story; write with an outline, or a combination of the above?

My preference is to write by the seat of my pants, with only the most vague idea how the story’s going to go.  In my opinion, if you develop the right character and then create a few good circumstances to kick that character into motion, you’ll wind up with something entertaining.  But my publisher generally likes to have a more concrete outline of the story at the start.  So I’ll get something down, keeping it as basic as I can, and then work to flesh it out.  Even within those initial constraints, I’m generally able to be flexible. 

What other new writing projects do you have on the horizon?

Right now I’m working on a third Jack Hawthorne book.  I can’t say a great deal about it now but my hope is that it will tie up a number of plot elements that have been started in the first two books, especially some of the unresolved questions from Elisha’s Bones.

What message would you like your readers to take from reading Serpent of Moses?
 
There are a few themes I tried to infuse into the story—the two most pronounced being that growing in faith can be a messy business and that no man can do it by himself.  Jack’s the consummate loner—one who was dragged practically kicking and screaming into the faith—and so part of what I wanted to document was the way a born skeptic develops a relationship with a God he can no longer deny, yet also one who challenges some deeply held convictions.  In the process, I wanted to force Jack to take a long, hard look at his priorities, and the place his friends have among them, and make some hard decisions. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

As I mentioned, when I wrote Elisha’s Bones back in 2008, it wasn’t meant as the first book in a series, even though Jack still stands as my favorite character out of all the ones I’ve created.  But the reaction to that book has given me the chance to bring Jack back—not just once, but twice more.  I’m grateful for everyone who read Elisha’s Bones and liked it enough to want to see Jack’s adventures continue.  I hope you’ll enjoy the continuation of his story in Serpent of Moses


 

 Don't Miss!

Elisha's Bones - eBook

Elisha's Bones - eBook
Don Hoesel
CBD Price: $6.39

Hunter's Moon - eBook

Hunter's Moon - eBook
Don Hoesel
CBD Price: $6.99


 

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