If, 20 years or so ago, you were to pull me aside and tell me, “Matt, one day you’ll be writing a Biblical Epic,” I would have said that you were bonkos. I wouldn’t have believed it. Nope, not in a million years.
But it happened. Somehow…my God…IT HAPPENED!
The seed from which the “epic” grew was planted my junior year in college. I was in a class where we essentially had to read a bunch of screenplays. The very first screenplay we read was an unproduced adaptation of John Milton’s Paradise Lost (adapted by John Collier). I had not read Milton’s epic poem at the time, but the screenplay was the most beautiful thing I ever read, or at least so I thought at the time. This was no ordinary screenplay! It was a work of art in and of itself. No camera-angle-talk or interior/exterior mumbo jumbo or any of that jazz. You could read it like a piece of literature, but it was also extremely visual. You could see the cinema as you read!
That next June, I found myself in summer school at BU and I was enrolled in a British Literature class. This was when I read Paradise Lost, the actual John Milton poem, for the first time. Once again, the story struck a chord, somewhere deep inside my soul. I thought the concept was brilliant. It was a Biblical-like story told through the devil’s eyes. For so long, we were only getting God’s perspective and Jesus’ perspective. But now we got the devil’s perspective, and that felt extremely important to me. Hearing this point of view allowed us to better understand evil and darkness in a more complex way, instead of something that was one-dimensional.
At the time, my British Lit. professor knew I was majoring in film and he told me I should someday try to make Paradise Lost into a movie! He said the poem was so visual and it was almost like Milton was writing with cinema in mind. I agreed with my professor and said, “Yes, one day I shall turn Paradise Lost into a movie! I’ll do it, just you wait and see!”
Flash-forward to a year or two after college. I started re-reading Paradise Lost and began thinking about how I would turn it into a movie. But then it hit me: “Why am I doing this?” I thought to myself while I showered later that evening. “A brilliant screenplay has already been written. All somebody has to do is make a film out of that. I’m not needed for this.”
Instead, I suddenly felt drawn to the Holy Bible. I had read much of the Bible in various literature courses at BU (including Genesis, Job, and Revelation), but I had never read the Gospels, so I thought it was about time to do just that. To my surprise, I found the Gospels to be much more interesting than I ever would have thought. There was so much wisdom in those pages. Morality! And truth! It didn’t matter if you were religious or not; the Gospels were great to read for anybody looking to strengthen their moral backbone but also for anybody looking for the inspiration to speak the truth in a society of pure and utter bullshit (especially when you know people will hate you for doing so).
After the Gospels, I felt a pull to re-read Revelation and this is when I stumbled upon chapter 12: THE WOMAN AND THE DRAGON. That one small chapter—only a few paragraphs long, really—ignited the flame of the Holy Spirit within me (okay, maybe I’m being a tad dramatic). The chapter is very cryptic (as is all of Revelation), but I could almost see in my mind’s eye what it “meant”. An entire epic-sized story flooded into my mind. This story would be loosely based on the chapter but would also integrate the Gospels and, yes, even draw much of its inspiration from Paradise Lost.
In other words, I was going to write my own Paradise Lost!
And that’s exactly what I did. THE WOMAN AND THE DRAGON started out as a screenplay that I wrote in 2007. About ten years later, that screenplay turned into a novel. Not only was this novel inspired by the Bible and Paradise Lost, but a growing interest in psychology also helped flesh out the story’s main protagonist (i.e. the devil). I became fascinated with narcissistic manipulation techniques, such as deception, projection, guilting, shaming, blaming, gaslighting etc. I saw all these techniques as comprising the devil’s malicious modus operandi.
So, thus, we have THE WOMAN AND THE DRAGON, a story that is, I suppose, almost 20 years in the making. It couldn’t have been written at a better time, seeing that we are currently in the midst of a global, apocalyptic-like corona virus pandemic and there’s consequently a renewed interest in The Book of Revelation.
THE WOMAN AND THE DRAGON is now available to read on Amazon and perhaps the day will come when it finally turns into a movie.
Find the book here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZY35QX5
Here is the book’s trailer…
And here is the book’s teaser trailer…