Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour presents…
A conversation with
Welcome to Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots, Catherine. It is so lovely to see you here. Before we begin, could you tell my readers a little about yourself?
I am storyteller and a dreamer. Traveling is a lifestyle for me (I am currently working in Tokyo, Japan during this blog tour.) I am most interested in the idiosyncrasies of people. What makes individuals and where they come from special? For example, did we know that waving is the same as flashing the middle finger in Korea? Or a mountaintop in Switzerland may have been named after Pontius Pilate? Or for a woman in Spain, going about without earrings makes her feel naked?
I am also a poet. To me, language is the source of indescribable beauty. I am Asian-American, the daughter of immigrant parents from South Vietnam. I was raised to be practical, so I have a corporate day job in a pharmaceutical company, working with cancer medicines and figuring out ways to connect the pharmaceutical industry with the patients. I specialize in helping executives and employees get in touch with the stories, dreams, and experiences of the cancer patient.
Your new book, A Fisher of Women, sounds amazing. What inspired you to write it?
Stories about ancient healing have always fascinated me. As I focused on the miracles of Jesus, I began to think about what that world must have really been like. It was multi-faceted, the intersection of Hippocratic medicine, biblical miracles, and magic/sorcery of the Roman pagan world. I also work in healthcare, so the amalgam of myth and medicine, and the reimagining of the old tales using a modern medical vocabulary was eye-opening in what those ancient illnesses could have really been. This novel is a sequel, continuing the journey of Simon Peter’s wife, a woman who is as extraordinary as her famous husband. At its core, A Fisher of Women is ultimately the story of a woman, her evolution, and finding her voice. What was the role of women in those days, and how could a disciple of a new faith transcend the boundaries of her time by discovering unique talents within herself?
I so want to read your book! It sounds amazing. Did you face many challenges when researching this era of history?
Balancing the history and Christian tradition with a fresh and truly original perspective was a challenge, as so many readers of the genre already have strong ideas of what it should be. I sought to be as authentic to history/Bible as possible by an academic and comprehensive study of theology, history, and politics. I also visited the Middle East several times to provide a vivid and cinematic vision of atmosphere, the angle of the trees, colors of the sky, spices of the market, the glittering limestone of Jerusalem. I also spent a fair amount of time researching pagan rituals and did a crash course on hypnosis, in order to understand a magician/sorceress of the ancient era.
It sounds like an awful lot of research has gone into A Fisher of Women. Can you tell us three things that set your book apart from other Historical Christian Ficiton?
1) The synergy of ancient medicine, biblical miracles, and pagan sorcery is unique to my novel. To my knowledge, no one has addressed the miracles of Jesus in the context of detailed understanding of pagan magicians, and reinterpretations of ancient illnesses with modern medical vocabulary. For example, were demonic possessions mental illnesses like schizophrenia? Could the withered hand have been osteoarthritis? Was the bleeding woman suffering from hemophilia? Three different doctors (oncologist, neurologist, and pain management specialist) had reviewed my novel for medical accuracy.
2) Some of the characters in my novel were also never explored before. Helen the Magician was not a character I invented. Historically, she was the consort of Simon Magus, a historical entity who was mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles and was also a magician in Nero’s court. Legend has it they were both revered as gods in certain parts of the Roman Empire, due to their sorcery. Now, since by book is about women, who is to say that he taught her magic? Maybe she taught him.
3) My imagination of what the healing miracles do to Jesus. I believe that all great things come at a cost, even if they are not visible to us. Healing miracles have a price as well, and someone always has pay that price.
The more I hear about your book, the more I want to read it! Can you tell us what you are currently working on?
I am currently working on the third book of the Fisherwoman Trilogy. This final book juxtaposes the revolutionary history of Israel against the well-known stories of the Bible. Additionally, I am working on my mother’s memoirs, who was an immigrant who fled the Communist invasion of South Vietnam.
One more question, just for fun. If you could meet any historical monarch, who would it be?
I would love to meet WuZeTian. She was a monarch of the Tang dynasty, one of China’s most affluent and dynamic periods in ancient times. She was the only woman throughout Chinese history to be proclaimed “Emperor,” not based on her relationship as wife or mother or regent to a male king, but an Emperor in her own right. She entered the Imperial Palace at the age fourteen as a lower grade concubine, and she ascended through wit and ingenuity to become Empress and then finally to assume the throne itself in her forties. Unlike other women in Chinese history who were perceived as destructive, she had a reputation for fairness and contributed substantially to the wealth and prestige of the Tang dynasty. She had a saying, “While the sun is resplendent and garish, it still sets in the west. Even though the moon is subtle and soft, it still dominates the heavens. Therein lies my opportunity.” As a woman, I am inspired by the invisible and subtle ways we can influence the world.
It has been so lovely to meet you, Catherine. I do wish you all the best with the rest of your tour.
Scroll down to find out more about A Fisher of Woman and if you would like to be in with a chance to win a copy of Catherine’s new book, be sure to enter the Giveaway.
A Fisher of Women
By Catherine Magia
When the wife of Simon Peter returns to Galilee, she brings nothing but her faith in an enigmatic carpenter named Jesus, who has an extraordinary gift of healing the sick. But as she spends time in the presence of this divine leader, she discovers the gift of healing comes at a devastating cost. A terrible burden Jesus bears for the sake of his love for humanity.
In her quest to alleviate Jesus’s eternal suffering, the wife of Simon Peter befriends a pagan magician named Helen. Helen possesses a wisdom and healing power exceeded only by Jesus himself, but bears an unsavory reputation. Can Helen be trusted to ease Jesus’s suffering? Or is she a rival seeking his ultimate destruction?
Simon Peter is immortalized as a devoted pillar of the early Church. This is the untold story of his wife, forgotten as a healer and invisible to the pages of history. Her journey leads her to understand the inevitable price of healing, and what it truly means to love.
“The story is smoothly written, with clear characters, a mix of scripture and historical events presented in an easy to follow manner… Letting go of fear, learning to forgive, and healing with more than just faith, will require a journey Simon Peter’s wife did not expect.”
Sarah Bradley, Ind’tale Magazine
“Author Catherine Magia presents an intense story of Peter’s wife who struggles against many odds, including the her husband’s refusal to accept his wife as his equal as a disciple. The story takes place in and around the Sea of Galilee, the home base of the first disciples of Christ, which comes alive in the readers imagination. Familiar biblical characters are portrayed as deeply human, both in their flaws and in their redemptive moments.”
E. Ann McIntyre, author of Lazarus of Bethany and Feast of Pontius Pilate, member of Catholic Writers’ Guild.
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away an eBook of A Fisher of Women! You can enter:
• Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
• Giveaway is open to US residents only.
• Only one entry per household.
• All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
• Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Available on Amazon
Catherine Magia’s debut novel The Fisherman’s Bride won the 2017 New England Book Festival. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to New Jersey at the age of ten. At eighteen, she won a creative writing scholarship to Drew University, where she studied political theory and chemistry. Although her formal education was in the hard sciences, Catherine has always maintained a passion for the written word, publishing her poetry in several literary journals including the Michigan Quarterly Review.
She discovered the voice of Simon Peter’s wife on a soul-searching journey, a trek through the biblical lands of Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. She spent seven years researching and writing her debut novel, traveling as far as Ephesus, Turkey.
The Fisherman’s Bride was described as “unique and authentic” by the Booklife Prize, indie division of Publisher’s Weekly. The Historical Novel Society has praised the book as “complex and engaging,” while Reader’s Favorite Magazine has lauded it as “literature,” awarding it the Silver Medal for Historical Christian Fiction.
A Fisher of Women, the sequel to The Fisherman’s Bride, was released on October 3rd. She is currently writing and researching the third book of The Fisherwoman Series.
By day, she works as a director of market insights in the development of new cancer medications. She is focused on connecting cancer patients and their stories to the executives and employees of the pharmaceutical industry. She is currently based in Boston.
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