John Fergusson spent five years researching King Solomon’s Deadly Legacy, including two trips to Israel. He studied in Jerusalem’s museums and libraries, visited archeological sites, and travelled to many of the important places of Solomon’s time, from Dan in the very north to Eilat on the Red Sea. John’s love of wildlife also shines through the book, bringing authenticity and a strong sense of place to the pages. John talks to NZ Booklovers.
Tell us a little about King Solomon’s Deadly Legacy.
It’s historical fiction. A British scientist and atheist heads to Malaysia seeking a cure for his daughter’s leukaemia. But he falls into an aquifer, to emerge 3,000 years ago in the time of King Solomon. These people love God, and his worldview is further challenged when he is healed through prayer.
When he gets back to the present, no one believes his story, and his life falls apart. It sets him on a journey of discovery that has serious implications for us today.
What inspired you to write this book?
Why did the wisest king, who loved God, succumb to idolatry? Despite the warnings, he became distracted by money, women, and power. As a direct result, Israel fell into division, invasion and exile. I suddenly realised we’ve been going the same way since the two World Wars. Don’t we risk the same outcomes?
What research was involved?
I’ve always been fascinated by Solomon’s story in the Bible, but research took five years. I have a shelf of books, did a lot of online research, and visited Israel twice, travelling throughout the relevant areas and spending days in the museums and libraries. They were amazingly helpful. It was a real highlight.
What was your routine or process when writing this book?
I don’t do routine very well. As I run a charity and travel a lot, I have to squeeze in writing whenever I can. My wife, Bron, is very understanding.
If a soundtrack was made to accompany this book, name a song or two you would include.
Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis.
If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the lead characters?
It would be awesome if the Kendrick brothers were to make it into a movie. I guess they’d choose the leads.
What did you enjoy the most about writing this novel?
Researching the history. Visiting Israel. Discovering the Phoenicians reached as far as Singapore, and that Solomon only had three children, and finding out why.
What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?
It’s never finished, because interacting with readers is part of the process. The message of the book continues.
What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?
Star of the North by D. B. John – a thriller about North Korea. That took a lot of research too, and introduced us to an unknown world.
What’s next on the agenda for you?
Researching King David.