Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Book Bitches interview with Kathleen McGowan

Kathleen, thank you so much for allowing us to interview you for our blog. *g* This is truly an honor.

My favorite literary genre is historical fiction especially when related to biblical characters and stories. Needless to say I almost died of glee when your publishers contacted us to offer an interview and *gasp* a copy of your book! Can you tell I was excited? LOL I acted like a total geek for days telling everyone that would listen.



Totally and completely my pleasure. I loved these questions (and answered them on an Air Tahiti flight to Paris, just FYI).


Oh, I’ll be traveling soon too :D but to Madrid, not Paris—nor to Italy. *sniff* Anyway, let’s get on with the serious questions; later we can have some fun with the lighter side of the interview. *wink* I’m still in the process of reading The Expected One, because of that, and so as not to spoil any part of the story for our readers, my questions will be of a very general nature.

How religious are you and how much of your chosen faith played a part in writing/researching this novel?


Also interesting, because when I began writing this book my greatest spiritual influence came from my mother’s family, who were Irish pagans! I was very much a child of the goddess, so I wasn’t a practicing Christian at all. When I met my very devout Catholic husband 20 years ago, he was quite sure I was going to Hell.

I began to research a non-fiction book back in 1989 about women who had been maligned and misunderstood in history (‘cause there are plenty of ‘em—I could write that book for the rest of my life. In fact, we all could write that book and still only scratch the surface).

Mary Magdalene was initially only one of the subjects in my research, but she became the focus of it after several years. I receive a lot of mail, and one of my favorites also summed up my own experience: Mary Magdalene brought me to Jesus. So I became a Christian because of this research, I didn’t research because I was a Christian.


Wow, that must be some intense research to make you totally change your faith. You believe to be a direct descendant from the line of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Can you trace your lineage back to Jesus? If not, how close have you gotten?


Nope, sure can’t. And anyone who tells you that they can is fibbing. Unfortunately, genealogy is a very complicated and imperfect business, and the farther back you go the more imperfect it is. Complex lineages weren’t kept except by the very rich and privileged in the ancient world (time, ink, paper—all were too valuable to waste on such things unless you were a king). Also for our purposes, many of the important French records were destroyed in the Revolution. So definitive tracing just can’t be done, and even if it could it would take years and we all have better things to do.

So, does that seem contrary to my position on being a descendant? Not at all. Read on and you will see (spoiler warning) what I am really saying is that if there is a bloodline descent from Jesus and Mary Magdalene (and there is, because there were two children) then given 2000 years of procreation... do the math. There would be millions of descendants at this stage. THAT is what I think is interesting: the idea that anyone you pass on the street could be related to Jesus. I think that’s the true topic of discussion.

In more concrete terms, there are certain family names that are linked to bloodline legends and lore, and my paternal grandmother’s family, “Paschal,” is one of those names. That’s how I came to know that we had a blood connection to this story, ultimately. Through the traditions of the family and the name. It’s also why I named my character Maureen Paschal.


Wonder what my lineage would show me if I trace it; I mean, surely they would waste paper, ink and all that time for goddesses... *ahem* Tell us, Kathleen, what has been the reaction of the general public to your lineage claim?


Eeek. Remember what I was saying above about women who were maligned and misunderstood? I suppose it was my destiny to learn what that feels like first hand, and I most certainly have, both here and in the UK. Unfortunately, there were a number of very sensationalized, tabloidy accounts about this idea from publications that shall remain nameless (cough—USA TODAY—cough) that began this whole firestorm of criticism which had nothing at all to do with my book and its contents, and even less to do with who I am and what I stand for. It was and is very frustrating, because there is a danger that this very important story of a woman who arguably changed the face of the western world is at risk of getting lost behind all of that garbage. This book isn’t about me, it’s about Mary Magdalene. It’s not about the messenger, it’s about the message. But the book was released at a disadvantage because so many people had judged it without reading it, based on a tabloid story that was totally without merit.

The good news is that virtually all of the critics are those who haven’t read the book and have no idea what it is really about. I received a fascinating e-mail yesterday which I just read to my husband, because it sums up this idea. The title of the note was APOLOGY and the gist of it was that this woman hated me and hated my book based on what she believed was my attempt at self-aggrandizement and my bloodline claims. She had written me hate mail two weeks prior to tell me that I was going to hell and that I was a horrible person and an egomaniac, etc. Then for some reason that I still don’t get, she decided to read the book anyway. And she loved it. And she realized that I am a totally different person than she thought, and more importantly, that the book is a truly spiritual and fulfilling journey, far beyond anything she had anticipated.

So I simply ask that people read the book and judge it on its own merits.

But the other side of this is that a lot of people are fascinated by the whole idea of the bloodline, and I also get a lot of e-mail asking me: how do I know if I am or not?? To which my answer is two-fold. If you think you are, and you are driven to find out, then it’s probably because you are. But beyond that, here is the answer that I think really matters: Being a descendant of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, at the end of the day, has nothing to do with biology or chemistry or DNA or blood. It has to do with the spirit. I believe that Jesus and Magdalene were teaching the most beautiful and basic principles of humanity: love each other, have faith (in any form that it pleases you and without judgment on others), care about your community, give to charity, treat people the way you want to be treated, realize that no one is greater than anyone else and we’re all here to learn to live as equals, honor the planet and the life upon it.

If you believe in those ideals, then you ARE a descendant of Jesus and Magdalene, period.


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15 comment(s):

Blogger C Bradshaw said...

Fascinating interview, Trollop. I have to say, now I have to get the book.

9/26/2006 11:47:00 AM  

Blogger Gun_Wielding_Bitch said...

Ok, so if I am God's child and Jesus is His son, then Jesus is my brother. So, Jesus and Mary Magdalene had kids and it is possible that all these generations later that I could be a grandchild or something of Jesus... So, my brother Jesus is my grandpa... Do I have to move to a southern state now? I'm sounding like a redneck.

Anyway, the book sound kinda cool. I'll check it out.

9/26/2006 01:16:00 PM  

Blogger Mailyn said...

I am confused at this point but that's nothing new. Wait, is this one of those Inspirational books? I am so lost. And yes, I did read the interview. Twice.

Oh and another question, if I don't believe in Jesus does that mean that all his descendants are invisible to me as well?

Damn it this is the reason I stay away from religion. This is giving me a headache. :-P

9/26/2006 02:12:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

Lovely interview. I haven't read her book and feel a bit lost but Kathleen's answers are very intriguing. Waiting for the second part.

9/26/2006 02:34:00 PM  

Blogger Jolie said...

I wonder what Ms. McGowan answers to people who says that her work is a form of heresy? Anyway, very interesting prespective.

9/26/2006 02:50:00 PM  

Blogger Marg said...

I agree very interesting. Makes me want to read the book next...but it will have to wait a week or so.

9/26/2006 04:47:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

Great interview Trollop! Looking forward to second part. :)

9/26/2006 05:00:00 PM  

Blogger Tisty said...

Wow, now thats what I call getting into you work. maybe reasarch should carry some sort of label like : WARNING could be a life ultering experience.

Still, I beyt it makes for an interesting book.

I can't wait for the 2nd, lighter, half of the interview.

I'm curious tos ee how you bitches get Nutella into it :-D

9/26/2006 07:10:00 PM  

Blogger Lollie Rose said...

This is all very enlightening. Dan Brown claims Jesus had a child. And Ms McGowan is one of those living proof?

I guess it's not really that farfetched especially for 2 centuries. There could be thousands of descendants if indeed Jesus and Magdalene had a child.

9/26/2006 09:41:00 PM  

Blogger Lollie Rose said...

Is there gonna be a second part of this interview? :)

9/26/2006 09:43:00 PM  

Blogger Aggie said...

I don't believe the theory .. but I'm happy to read a well written fictional story about it all.
My reason for not believing that Mary & Jesus married and had children is that there WOULD be an account of it in history - if not proof. There would be no valid reason to hide that story, than the gospel story itself.
No one thinks less of someone because they marry and have a family. So I find the premise ridiculous, but find the stories amusing.

9/26/2006 10:56:00 PM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

Good interview. Though, I don't agree with Ms. McGowan' beliefs, but the premise of the book is certainly interesting.

9/26/2006 11:08:00 PM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

Hey, am I the only one having problems with comments? It's really slow in loading the page and most of the icons are not showing. I can't even see my pic!

9/26/2006 11:10:00 PM  

Blogger Lorelei said...

WHy why Mary referred to as a prostitute in the first place? It wasn't mentioned in the bible that she was right?

9/26/2006 11:55:00 PM  

Blogger Lorelei said...

Danielle, I can't see the profile pics too and this comment box is loading very slowly. It's probably Blogger as they usually have problems. Speaking of Blogger, what's up with Beta Blogger?

9/26/2006 11:57:00 PM