A Conspiracy of Breath by Latayne C. Scott

Posted by on Jan 26, 2018 | 6 comments

A Conspiracy of Breath by Latayne C. Scott

Breath in scripture, often refers to the Holy Spirit. In A Conspiracy of Breath, Latayne C. Scott, renowned author and biblical scholar, has written an amazing novel that asks the question, “What if the mysterious author of the Book of Hebrews was a woman?” Her fictional telling of the story of Priscilla, will fascinate and enthrall the reader. Leave a comment on the interview to enter to win a Kindle copy of her book! Sign in on the Rafflecopter for even more chances to win!

 

Fabulous Fridays

A Conspiracy of Breath

 

Welcome, Latayne! A Conspiracy of Breath is an amazing work of fiction with a very plausible Biblical basis. I literally could not put it down. How did you come up with the idea for A Conspiracy of Breath. 

I had often wondered about the authorship of Hebrews ever since I read that some people think it might have been written by a woman. One day when I was pondering that concept, I saw in my mind’s eye the opening scene of the book. Just like that – the story was all there.

What events in your personal life have most impacted your writing, and how?

I had a particularly difficult childhood and adolescence because of family circumstances that included mental illness. I wrote poetry to deal with my feelings (even though the poems’ subject matter was never my circumstances). My high school English teacher entered my poems in a couple of state poetry contests. I did well, and for the first time I thought, “I think I can write.”

What distinguishes A Conspiracy of Breath from other books in the same genre?

To my knowledge, there has never been a novel written about Priscilla that assumes she was the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

How did you go about researching and creating a setting?

Oh, man!  I immersed myself into first-century Roman culture. I’ve got a deep background in the Bible because of almost 50 times reading it all the way through, and a PhD in Biblical Studies. But I really wanted to know specific details about Roman names, the architecture of Roman homes, Roman warfare. That took some time.

What was the greatest problem/challenge you faced in writing A Conspiracy of Breath?

I was not able to locate anywhere a chronology of the life of Priscilla. I created one after charting the life of Paul and Nero and other significant figures in the first century, and comparing them what I could find out about Priscilla.

A Conspiracy of Breath

What you personally learn while writing A Conspiracy of Breath?

I set out to try to imagine what the actual process of revelation—being moved on, by the Breath of heaven, the Holy Spirit, might have actually felt like. I gained a great appreciation for those who thus encountered what I call “the mysterious and terrifying God of love.”

What do you see as the most important accomplishment of your life so far?

That’s an easy one to answer. Raising two children, Ryan and Celeste, to be mature and productive and happy Christians who are raising their own children according to Christian principles.

Can you tell us something that your readers might find surprising about you?

Maybe that I put myself through college with various jobs, one of which was driving a popsicle truck?

Please share the opening passage of A Conspiracy of Breath with our readers.

A Conspiracy of Breath

Praefatio

I carry the wrapped child in front of me, in the crook of my aching arm, his head above his curled feet, as if he were alive. As if he had ever been born, or named, or drew breath, or saw his dying mother’s eyes. As if she had ever seen his.

This is night work, and the mule beside me stumbles in the uneven, now unseen streets that only reveal shadow and character in the light of a doorway, here and there. All around our feet are what people throw away after a spectacle—torn banners, scraps of food, dropped, lost mementos.

Behind me on the creaking wagon are the remains, what I gather after the spectacle: torn things, fallen, saved, remembered.

When I first began this job, I could do it in the daylight. It was a curiosity to those who saw me, a woman who wore the robes of aristocracy and did the work of a ghoul. Most of those who knew me would not meet my eyes, or if they did, it was with a mixture of disgust and wonder. And later, some of them, with triumph, from behind secure windows, around impassable gates.

The first time I gained permission to bring the bodies back from the killing places, Cordelia began to strategize how to borrow a cart and donkey. Many of our friends still lived and had animals then, and she still had a bit of her father’s money left.

“We’ll need a big wagon,” she calculated, counting without knowing it on her crooked knuckles, imagining that the aftereffects of imperial entertainment would necessitate strong beasts of burden, perhaps several trips with several wagons.

She wasn’t thinking straight, I should have seen that. There is little left when wild lions are finished with a human being.

I lined the wagon with pieces of old goat-hair tents. People bring me the ripped flaps, snagged beckets, unsalvageable vestibules. When my needle cannot resurrect them, they leave the raveling remnants with me.

At first, I thought my supply was endless and I threw the blood-crusted pieces away. Now I wash them before dawn and let them dry for the next load. My shop, miles away, is where there are no sewers, so my gutters are red ropes each sunrise. My neighbors blink in the sunshine, step over, cross to the other side of the street.

It will take me most of a night-watch to bring the wagon from the circus maximus to the catacombs. I hold my other hand out in front. It is only because I once lived in this neighborhood that I can navigate in darkness so profound I feel blind. The darkness is a covering for me, I must remember that, a veil that keeps me hidden.

In front of me is my childhood home. Though I walk by it often these days, I have not been inside it for decades, since my mother died. I have rounded a corner and candlelight seeps through the doors at the street, the cracked lips shielding the long throat into the house.

In the light, I see my tree.

I named that cypress tree as soon as my child lips could formulate the sounds. My mother, Livia Ocellina, believed it should have a proper Latin name. The tree, she told me, began to grow outside her door the very month she found that I was growing within her. Of course, it never entered her head to name it, only to notice it, and to tell visitors of its coincidence, the tree’s and mine. She had the servants water it, and care for it. But when I made its name an issue, she waved it away with those long elegant fingers.

When she finally engaged me on the subject when I was twelve years old, it was with supreme effort, Juno Lucina the light-bringer mother-god, looking down from Olympus.

Was it male or female? she asked me, among her many frittered words. The tree, child, the tree. If it were a male, and of course it was associated with us, it must have the three parts of any patrician name.

I stared at the tree and more heard it than saw it. True, its fronds were the beardlets of adolescent boys, but its sound was that of innocence, of little girls whispering.

Yes, Arbor puerorum sussorum. The tree of whispering children. When the breezes came ’round the corner of the villa, its branches murmured secrets and it always had dancing in its voice. It grew with me and though I left childhood, it never ceased its sounds.

Tonight, it looks like a woman bereft, so anguished she holds her hands straight above her head then puts her elbows together and lets her wrists fall behind her bowed head.  I have never before known it to be without a whisper. Tonight, it is silent as I pass it by, with Cordelia’s child of stone burdening my arm.

Book Blurb:

In a richly-textured, controversial and provocative literary work, award-winning author Latayne C. Scott examines: What would it have been like to be a woman, a Gentile, and someone onto whom the Holy Breath moved – to produce what became the mysterious Epistle to the Hebrews in the Bible?

Latayne C. ScottAbout the author:

Latayne C. Scott (Distinguished Christian Service Award, Pepperdine University) writes controversial books. Her newest novel, the critically acclaimed A Conspiracy of Breath, is based on the scholarly theory that a woman wrote part of the Bible. Her first book, The Mormon Mirage--also controversial– has stayed in print almost continuously for almost 40 years. She has nearly two dozen other published books. One notable recent book is about the discovery of the ancient Biblical city of Sodom (Discovering the City of Sodom.) Her first novel is a murder mystery revolving around a code developed by the early Mormon church. Both are…. controversial.

She’s also won a national award for humor. Her kids say she’s not so funny, but she just holds up the prize check.

Connect with Latayne:

Website: www.Latayne.com

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V06YQdv09yo

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/lataynecscott/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Latayne @Latayne

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35613157-a-conspiracy-of-breath

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Latayne-Colvett-Scott/e/B001HCV8ZQ/

Other Books by Latayne:

Books by Latayne Scott

A Conspiracy of Breath

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6 Comments

  1. So very interesting – I don’t read on Kindle, so no need to put me in the giveaway, but wow, what a premise, Latayne!

  2. I love good Biblical Fiction, and Norma Gail says it is, so I’d love to read it!

  3. GKittleson and Anne Baxter Campbell, I am grateful for your interest! I’m fascinated still by the “mechanics” of revelation, and the challenges of living in the first century.

  4. I have this on my Wishlist. I am fascinated by this novel and its topic. I love your passion for this, Latayne!

  5. This book looks very good. Thanks for a chance at the giveaway.

  6. Thank you, Peterwilliam and Faith! You are encouraging me and I am grateful!

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