IRWYW- Which book are we talking about today?
Michael Byars Lewis- The Pilate Scroll…it’s an action/adventure thrill-ride that you won’t be able to put down. It has a Christian theme to the book with a positive message, but it’s not ‘preachy.’ It’s gotten some excellent reviews for non-Christians. I think it’s a book for everyone. There’s not another book out there like it that I know of.
IRWYW- What inspired the idea for your book?
Michael Byars Lewis- The idea to write this type of book came after a conversation with a friend, who complained that there were no good books out there that parents could read and discuss with their pre-teens/teenagers. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a book reflecting Christian values that was entertaining and exciting as well? The story for this novel came after my wife and I were on a tour in Israel. I knew there was a story there, I just didn’t know where. It eventually came to me, fast and furious. I wrote the first draft in only 3 months. The book was finished in a year.
IRWYW- What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book?
Michael Byars Lewis- That you can tell a story that could be a Hollywood blockbuster and still reflect Christian values.
IRWYW- How do you define success as an author?
Michael Byars Lewis- I’ve changed over the years. Success has been measured by sales, awards, and reviews…all of which are nice. I think now, I measure success based on if I’m pleased with the work. If I’ve made the best story I can, then that’s a success.
IRWYW- Do you have any quirky writing rituals?
Michael Byars Lewis- Not really. I’ve become accustomed to writing just about anywhere if conditions are right. That means a laptop on hand, a comfortable chair, and an idea of where I’m at in the story.
IRWYW- As an author what do you think makes a good story?
Michael Byars Lewis- I think a good story has engaging characters put in unusual and high-tension circumstances. It’s possible to have good characters in a boring story, and it’s possible to have a good plot with characters with no depth. But in either case, it won’t last. The reader won’t want to continue reading. As far as how a writer gets to that point, it’s a ‘Chicken vs. the egg’ argument…which comes first, good characters or a good plot? I think a good plot will reveal good characters as it is developed. But that’s me, other authors work differently. That’s why I tell new authors not to box themselves into any rigid rules. Give yourself the flexibility to learn and grow.
IRWYW- What has been your favorite reader feedback?
Michael Byars Lewis- I don’t make my living writing books. I wish I did, but I don’t. So, when a person who is a professional writer contacts you and tells you what they thought of the book, it means a lot. And that happened to me with The Pilate Scroll. Someone reached out and said, “I just wanted you to know how masterful I think this is.” Wow.
IRWYW- How do you interact with your readers?
Michael Byars Lewis- Social media, public events, and email. Believe it or not, I do answer emails!
IRWYW- What is your all-time favorite book or author?
Michael Byars Lewis- It has to be The Firm by John Grisham. His early work was nothing short of amazing. How can someone take a career of a lawyer and turn it into such fascinating stories? Grisham is a master of tension. He has the reader turning page after page after page. It’s something I’ve tried to do as well.
IRWYW- What is the first book that you remember reading?
Michael Byars Lewis- I’ll go with the first novel, since that seems to be more interesting. The first novel I remember reading, was The Phantom by Lee Falk. It was a novel based off the comic strip character. I doubt it was written by Falk, most likely a ghost-writer, but you never know. Anyway, it was a great story, and I was sucked in by the action and intrigue. I was in the 5th grade at the time. I still have that book, so I guess it made an impact on me.
IRWYW- What is an underrated book that you think everyone should read at least once?
Michael Byars Lewis- The Holy Bible. It’s a shame more folks in America haven’t read it. Sadly, it seems like more atheists read it instead of the ‘Casual Christians’ I mention in The Pilate Scroll. Unfortunately, their motives aren’t why people should read the Bible. They read it to pull out information that the casual Christian doesn’t have the background or basic knowledge to defend, because they haven’t read the Bible.
IRWYW- What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
Michael Byars Lewis- Honestly, I think it depends on where they are in the process/journey. But my generic advice for all stages is, “Don’t quit. Go to writers’ conferences and start networking.”
IRWYW- What are you working on in the near future?
Michael Byars Lewis- I’m working on a sequel to The Pilate Scroll, and I’ve got the final book in the Jason Conrad thriller series fully outlined and ready to go…
IRWYW- What are you reading now?
Michael Byars Lewis- During the outlining and research for The Pilate Scroll, I really became interested in Christian Apologetics, which is the defending of the faith (see above). So, I’ve been reading many books on the subject for the last couple of years. Currently, I’m reading Atheism on Trial: Refuting the Modern Arguments Against God by Louis Markos.
IRWYW- What would the title of your autobiography be?
Michael Byars Lewis- Not To Scale: A Casual Christian’s Search for Salvation…coming soon?
IRWYW- What would your dream library look like?
Michael Byars Lewis- I’m assuming you’re asking about one for my home, so I’ll go there. I like the classic look, floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves with ornate trim. The ladder on wheels that run the length of the shelving. It must have a large window that overlooks the garden or forest outside. A nice large desk that could be worked at and a very comfortable recliner where much reading would take place.
IRWYW- If your book were made into a movie, which actors would play your characters?
Michael Byars Lewis-
Kadie Jenkins – Naomi Scott – She has the range and athletic ability to do Kadie justice.
Duke Ellsworth – Lucas Till – You’ve seen him as an action hero on MacGyver, but he’s got serious talent, showcased on the film, Son of the South. He’s the real deal.
Brian Jenkins – This one would take some work. Brian is Down syndrome, so it would be a great opportunity for a young Down man to test his acting chops. If you’ve ever seen the film, The Peanut Butter Falcon, Zack Gottsagen, an actor who is Down syndrome, was fantastic. He’d be too old for this role, but I know there’s someone out there.
Curt Baxter – Garrett Hedlund – Has the essence to be the good/bad guy.
Samuel Jacobson – Stanley Tucci – he has the warm father-figure presence
Mac – Karl Urban – He’s the right age and toughness to be a senior mentor to Till’s Duke.
Isaac Abelman – Jon Voight – The wise man…how could we go wrong with Voight?
Patricia Hastings – Gillian Anderson – Agent Scully, no more. Gillian has a range unlike others (check out her work on The Fall and The Crown). Perfect for the twists at the end…or beginning.
IRWYW- If you went on a road trip with any author who would it be?
Michael Byars Lewis- What a great question! I think it would have to be Ernest Hemingway. We’d go everywhere possible. What an adventure that would be!
IRWYW- What does it mean to you to be called an author?
Michael Byars Lewis- It’s a nice identity. An author is someone who writes a work based on his/her originally drafted ideas and/or plot. A writer is someone who writes a work, but it is not based on his/her ideas.
The Pilate Scroll
by M.B. Lewis
March 14 – April 8, 2022 Virtual Book Tour
An artifact with untold power. An unlikely protector. Can she prevent the past from being used to destroy the future?
Kadie Jenkins lost her faith long ago. Traveling to Egypt as part of a research team battling a lethal virus, the talented scholar’s already weakened beliefs take a deadly dive when her colleague and mentor is murdered. With the man about to share a shocking finding before he met his demise, Kadie frantically gathers his papers… and barely escapes when the killer returns.
Fleeing by plane and forced into an emergency landing in Israel, Kadie questions who in her group she can actually trust. And as the murderers close in, she’s stunned to discover they’re all hunting for an ancient relic that could change the course of history…
Will this headstrong academic lean on powers from above to keep the wicked from wreaking havoc on Earth?
The Pilate Scroll is a pulse-pounding Christian thriller. If you like complicated heroines, stunning twists, and divine light shining through the darkness, then you’ll love M.B. Lewis’s breakneck page-turner.
The Pilate Scroll Book Trailer:
Genre: Christian Thriller / Action-Adventure
Published by: Satcom Publishing
Publication Date: April 27th 2021
Number of Pages: 346
ISBN: 1733098917 (ISBN13: 9781733098915)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Kindle Unlimited | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
Port Said, Egypt
The Market District
Samuel Jacobson was a dead man. Or at least he thought so. His phone call had been erratic, anxious—almost in a panic.
“Brian, we have to go.” Kadie Jenkins stood and slid her iPhone back in the pocket of her tan 5.11 cargo pants. She grabbed her purse and rose from the table in the back of the tiny restaurant, dragging her nineteen-year-old brother out before they had a chance to order their dinner. The restaurant sat tucked between shops selling hookahs on one side and women’s clothes on the other. The aroma of fresh bread and grilled meats dissipated, replaced by the pungent scent of car exhaust and camel dung.
“It’s only a fifteen-minute walk back to the hotel,” Kadie said. “I bet we can make it in ten.”
Brian stumbled behind her as they hurried along dusty streets. They turned into the souk, or open-air market, the brick-laid section of the market that was pedestrian-only this time of night. While many of the shops had their “roll-up” metal security doors pulled down, the market bristled with life.
Vendors waved items in their faces, children tugged on their pant legs, and beggars held their palms up hoping for a handout. Her eyes studied everyone who came close, gauging their intentions in a moment’s glance. She was one of only a few women in the market not wearing a hijab.
“Kadie slow down,” Brian said. His breathing came deep and awkward, despite being a regular participant in the Special Olympics.
“Sorry, Brian. We could get a cab at the other end of the market. But by the time we find one, describe our hotel, and negotiate a price, we could walk to the hotel.” While she relished the exercise, she worried her pace was too much for him. He was fit for a young man with Down syndrome, but she moved swiftly.
Their team had been in Egypt for almost three weeks. Starting in Cairo, the small group of seven from GDI, the Global Disease Initiative, had been scouring the city for clues to an ancient cure. Their quest had led them from the United States to Cairo, then to Port Said. Their four days here had not yet proven fruitful.
The goosebumps on her skin reminded her of Samuel’s phone call. His message was brief yet concise: his life was in danger because he knew what they were really searching for. What did he mean? Their team was one of four positioned across the Middle East in search of their goal. Now, for some reason, Samuel questioned what that was.
GDI had been contracted by the United States government to locate an ancient cure for an even older virus—the hantavirus. Kadie researched the topic before they left for Egypt. Rodents generally spread it, and this strain was a particularly virulent “Old World” virus that had proven resistant to modern medicine.
The Central Intelligence Agency learned that ISIS weaponized the hantavirus in aerosol form and planned to unleash it across the West. The virus was known at the CDC to cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. Initial symptoms include fever, chills, blurred vision, back and abdominal pain, and intense headaches known to bring a grown man to his knees. Later, those exposed would experience shock, low blood pressure, kidney failure, and vascular leakage—all in all, a nasty virus to thrust upon any population. The logistics involved in treating the virus were obvious.
The unique thing about the “Old World” hantavirus, was that it had predominantly appeared in Europe and Asia. GDI discovered that the virus had been eliminated in the Middle East, which was odd, as rodents were prevalent throughout the region.
Through one of their many connections, GDI learned of a legendary cure developed in ancient Israel around 30 A.D. The virus had a different name back then, but the symptoms were the same. The cure was a simple combination of plants and minerals. The formula was stored in a vase with Aramaic writing on the side and lay hidden for millennia. That was why she was here. Kadie was fluent in Latin, Greek, and Aramaic. The executive vice president for the Science and Technology Division of GDI had contacted her personally, telling her she was “uniquely qualified” for this job. Kadie was enthralled to join the team when the offer came.
Samuel was in his early sixties, and he and Kadie had struck up a friendship at the beginning of their journey. He became her mentor and father figure, occasionally giving her advice on what to do with her career. Samuel was the team’s expert on carbon dating. His equipment was state-of-the-art, but other than testing its functionality the day after they arrived, he hadn’t used it. So, what did he discover? What did he know that was worth killing for?
Halfway to the hotel, she mumbled something she shouldn’t have as she pulled out her phone and dialed. Her eyes darted toward her brother.
“Do not c-cuss,” Brian said between heavy breaths.
Brian. Her moral compass there to steer her back on course. She squeezed her brother’s hand. Brian always kept her grounded. What would she do when he was gone? But he was here now, and she needed to make sure he would be safe, something she had done for him since the day he was born.
“Sorry, Brian. I just remembered I need to call Curt. He’s probably on his way to the restaurant to meet us.”
“He is probably s-still wor—king.” Brian’s eyes darted back and forth. His speech impediment that made his ‘r’s sometimes sound like ‘w’s wasn’t nearly as bad as it was when he was younger, and his stutter only showed up when he was nervous.
Kadie grimaced. Curt didn’t answer his phone. He was GDI’s security man and the only full-time employee on their team. Kadie left a message, telling him she was sorry, but she had to leave the restaurant. They’d talk later.
Next, she called Samuel. He didn’t answer either. She slipped her phone back in her cargo pocket and glanced at her brother. He was doing all he could to keep up with Kadie and avoid the distractions of the numerous shops in the marketplace. Gasping, his jaw jutted forward, brow furrowed, and his eyes bulged. He had been reluctant to leave the restaurant; he must be starving. She had to plead with him to get him to budge.
“We did not stay—for food. I am hungry,” Brian said.
“I know. I’m sorry. I am, too.” Her eyes darted back and forth in search of something they could eat. A few moments later she smiled. Near the end of the market, a vendor baked and sold bread. They stopped next to the giant metal oven that extended back into a yellowing mud-brick building. The bread rolled out of the front like doughnuts at Krispy Kreme, and two men placed the warm food on a rack woven out of sticks to cool. Her limited vocabulary in conversational Arabic helped her in situations like this. Kadie bought two loaves of Aish Baladi, an Egyptian flatbread made with whole wheat flour, similar to a pita. Handing the bag of bread to Brian, they continued on their way.
The dust of the market peeled away as they rounded the corner, and their hotel came into sight. Well-lit against the black sky, it sat on the edge of the water where the Suez Canal merged into the Mediterranean Sea. An outdoor restaurant sat to her left; the numerous tables had their umbrellas open, lit candles centered on each table. To her right, a small mosque lay nestled amongst other buildings. This street was far less crowded than the souk.
“What do you think about Curt?” Her chestnut-brown hair bounced as she slowed her pace so Brian could keep up. She needed a conversation to take her mind off Samuel.
“He is okay.” Brian looked away when he answered. Kadie knew what that meant. Brian’s instincts on people were spot on, and he wasn’t very fond of Curt. She wasn’t sure why; she was still trying to figure him out herself. Curt was a few years older than her. He was handsome, dashing, and brave—former Delta Force. There was something to be said for that.
They entered the newly renovated hotel, leaving the Third World atmosphere behind them. Kadie sighed as they weaved through the crowded lobby and lumbered up the stairs to their room on the second floor. She dropped Brian off in their room before she went to check on Samuel.
“Don’t leave,” she said. “I’ll be back in a minute.”
“Okay.” Brian moved to the couch and pressed the big green button on the television remote.
Kadie closed the door; the hairs on the back of her neck bristled, and her heartbeat raced higher than usual. She hurried down the hall to Samuel’s room. Inside, she heard a loud crash and the sound of something hitting the wall, followed by a solid thud.
That’s not good, she thought.
Kadie tried the door handle. Locked. She pulled a small FOB out of her pocket. It was called a Gomer, a new device that opened almost any electronic lock. It had wreaked havoc on the hotel industry, but she had picked one up back in the States knowing she’d be living in hotels abroad for three months.
She was hesitant to use it. She shouldn’t just barge into his room. Then came a second thud, followed by a muffled cry.
Kadie swiped the FOB across the lock and pushed hard against the door. The door cracked open about two inches and abruptly stopped; the chain secured on the inside.
“Samuel?” She peered through the gap; a body lay on the floor. Oh my, he’s had a heart attack. Kadie lowered her shoulder and bulldozed the door. It started to give way. On the second try, the chain burst free from the wall and the door flew open.
Kadie gasped. In the center of the room, a large man stood over Samuel’s body, wearing a faded brown futa, the traditional Yemini male shirt, and black pants. A black keffiyeh covered his face, with only his eyes exposed.
The man stood over Samuel, the bloody knife in his hand dripping on the floor.
Excerpt from The Pilate Scroll by M.B. Lewis. Copyright 2022 by Michael Byars Lewis. Reproduced with permission from Michael Byars Lewis. All rights reserved.
Michael Byars Lewis is an Amazon #1 International Bestselling Author, and his books have also been on the Bestseller lists on Barnes and Noble Nook and Kobo platforms. The author of the award-winning Jason Conrad Thriller series has been on numerous author panels at writer’s conferences such as Thrillerfest, The Louisiana Book Festival, The Pensacola Book and Writers Festival, and Killer Nashville. A 25-year Air Force pilot, he has flown special operations combat missions in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan in the AC-130U Spooky Gunship. Michael is currently a pilot for a major U.S. airline. A proud Christian active in his community, Michael has mentored college students on leadership development and team-building and is a facilitator for an international leadership training program. He has participated as a buddy for the Tim Tebow Foundation’s “Night to Shine” and in his church’s Military Ministry program. Michael has also teamed with the Air Commando Foundation, which supports Air Commando’s and their families’ unmet needs during critical times. While his adventures have led to travels all around the world, Michael lives in Florida with his wife Kim.
Catch Up With M.B. Lewis:
BookBub – @MichaelByarsLewis
Instagram – @michaelbyarslewis
Facebook – @mblauthor
Plus, join in the Twitter chat – #MichaelByarsLewis!
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03/18 Showcase @ The Bookwyrm
03/20 Interview @ A Blue Million Books
03/21 Showcase @ The Book Divas Reads
03/24 Interview @ I Read What You Write
03/25 Guest post @ Author Elena Taylors Blog
03/25 Showcase @ Brooke Blogs
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03/30 Review @ Reading Is My SuperpPower
04/03 Showcase @ 411 ON BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHING NEWS
04/03 Showcase @ The Authors Harbor
04/04 Review @ Splashes of Joy
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04/06 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty
04/06 Review @ Pat Fayo Reviews
04/07 Review @ Celticladys Reviews
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05/23 Review @ Just Reviews
05/23/ Podcase interview @ Blog talk radio
Thanks for sharing your answers with us today. BTW, I totally want to see that movie!
Thank you for sharing your interview and book details, this sounds like a thrilling read
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Loved The Firm, have read a lot of his books!
This sounds like on for my wish list!
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Thank you for the interview! It was a lot of fun!
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