Interview with John I. Rigoli & Diane Cummings, authors of The Mystery of Julia Episcopa
20 Mar 2018
What can you tell us about your new release, The Mystery of Julia Episcopa?
Diane: The vision for this story belongs to John.
John: As a youngster growing up in the Church, even at a young age, I felt that there was something missing amidst the pomp and ceremony I was accustomed to every Sunday. When I got older, Church rules began to weigh on me, and I began a lifelong study of the earliest Christians in order to seek out, as many of us do, the truth about Jesus’s teachings. The largest Church mistruth, to me, is its stance on women, denying women, half of its membership, a decisive voice. I decided I wanted to tackle that subject.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
Diane: Actually, John inspired me. I had been working as a freelance editor and ghostwriter for a number of years with not a thought of writing my own manuscript. When he asked me to partner with him in creating this story, it didn’t take much to convince me to do it. The project interested me and, besides, sounded like a lot of fun. It has been.
John: As a student of historical and biblical archaeology, I wanted to create stories that would challenge the status quo of our thinking about the ancient world and the modern church – I am fascinated how what happened in ancient world resonates through to the modern age.
What fictional literary world would you most like to visit?
Diane: Louise Penny’s Three Pines.
John: The ancient Roman world of The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas.
You’re hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers are invited?
Diane: Shakespeare, Susan Howatch, and Sue Grafton
John: Lloyd C. Douglas, James Michener, and Jane Austen
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Diane: Editing. When I’m editing, I get to decide what I want to flesh out and what I want to scrap, what characters and scenes I want to give more or less attention to. For me, it’s in the editing that the picture is formed and the details emerge.
John: My imagination gets to run wild, and I don’t have to leave home.
What’s a typical day like for you?
Diane: It starts with an orange, a bit of yoga if I’m in the mood, and a latte. Then after tidying up, I’m into my office where I review my work from the previous day and make corrections, additions, and deletions. After settling that, I’m on to writing new material and go at it for about five to six hours. If I find myself in a plot hole, John and I talk it through by phone, imagining different scenarios. Before long, the right one always shows up.
John: I like to put on easy listening instrumentals and start in the morning. Whether researching or sketching out scenes, I work in three to four hour stretches.
What scene in The Mystery of Julia Episcopa was your favorite to write?
Diane: John created our Giuseppe character. I liked conceiving the dialogue between him and Anna-Marie. Also, though, I got a kick out of writing the last chapter because I didn’t know how this book would end until I got there.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
Diane: To live this moment fully. And to be kind, always.
John: To bring a smile to others and give more than I receive.
John I. Rigoli and Diane Cummings are the authors of the new book The Mystery of Julia Episcopa.Buy The Book
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