One of the big inspirations for A Stray Drop of Blood was simply reading the stories of the crucifixion and resurrection in the Gospels. Have you ever sat down and really looked at some of the things reported to take place? It’s amazing stuff.
When I was writing this, I had my Bible handy, with sticky notes on all the appropriate pages in each Gospel. I made notes of all the amazing things I wanted to include in the story.
Matthew 27 tells us how darkness covered the earth (verse 45) and (in 51) how in the moment of his death, the veil of the temple was torn in two. (I couldn’t find a way to work that into the book, but I still think it’s really cool; the fact that his death tore down the thing meant to keep normal people out of the Holy of Holies. I love symbolism!). The same verse says there was an earthquake that split the rocks. More amazingly, the graves were opened, and bodies of the saints were raised and they were seen by many in the city. You can bet I had to use that!
Mark 15 also records the darkness and the tearing of the temple’s curtain. The addition worth noting from verse 39 is the centurion proclaiming that Jesus was surely the Son of God.
Luke 23 offers the tale of the one thief rebuking the other, and Christ promising him that he would be with him in Paradise. It also notes the darkness and temple curtain.
John 19 concentrates on the fulfillment of prophecy, such as the soldiers casting lots for his garments, that none of his bones were broken, and that they looked on him who they pierced.
The stuff in Matthew is obviously the most amazing, but I took pieces from all of them. In chapters 24-28 of Stray Drop (pages 163-192), I make some of my crucial story elements come straight from the Bible. I use the darkness (which I attribute to a coming storm) to force the household to move before Abigail returns; Abigail hears one of the thieves standing up for Jesus; Titus snarls at his soldiers when they start to fight over the tunic that is without seam and tells them to cast lots for it; he is also the centurion who can no longer deny that Jesus is the Son of God; in the earthquake, the pottery bowl holding down their note gets lost, and the note is never found; the open grave brings Jason back into it, first appearing to Titus, and then to Abigail and all of them. This remains one of my favorite parts of the story.
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