Ain’t No Messiah
Tales of the Blessed and Broken Book 1
by Mark Tullius
Genre: Psychological Suspense
“God has chosen Joshua to bring forth his new kingdom on Earth.”
From the day he was born, Joshua has found himself the recipient of death-defying miracles. His earliest memories include his own father proclaiming him the second coming of Christ. However, Joshua has wrestled with serious doubts about the validity of this claim all his life. How could he not, having survived a childhood filled with physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his earthly father.
Now, one way or another, Joshua is going to show the world who he really is.
“A compelling, if sometimes-lurid, picture of a faith gone wrong.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Ain’t No Messiah is a beautifully-written book about one man’s effort to find himself – and maybe even a bit of happiness – in a world bitter enough to greet even a supposed Messiah with abuse and scapegoating.” ~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader
I was born mostly dead, my body purple, not a single breath or thump of my heart to be heard. Everyone figured I was already walking into Heaven, spying the Pearly Gates with closed eyes yet to see the mortal world. I guess that’s where all this Messiah stuff started. Mother was the only one who believed I wasn’t fully gone. She begged the Committee not to put me in the ground, but they’d made their decision.
Mother nearly tore off their skin trying to keep them from putting me in that tiny casket. Once they had restrained her, they started hammering nails. Father fell to his knees, looked to the darkening sky, and begged God to spare me. My parents had been trying to have a child for almost seven years. The Committee had told Mother she’d never conceive. I was a gift from Heaven, and God decided to take that gift back.
So Father offered a deal. He promised God I’d be a vessel for His will. I’d be His servant.
And that’s when my cry ripped through the night.
Mother tore off the top of the casket and pulled me from the earth just as the sun sank.
At least, that’s the way Father recounts it.
Just like all his other stories, it’s a mix of fact and fancy and no one will ever know how much of each. They’re simply tales to build my legend. He says belief is the only thing that matters, that we must do everything to preserve it, because without faith, there’s no reason to live.
Mark Tullius is the author of Unlocking the Cage: Exploring the Motivations of MMA Fighters and dark fiction which includes Ain’t No Messiah, Twisted Reunion, 25 Perfect Days: Plus 5 More, Brightside, and the Try Not to Die series. An Ivy League graduate, Mark lists Chuck Palahniuk and Stephen King as the authors who most influence his own writing. He attests that attending Tom Spanbauer’s Dangerous Writing workshop marked the turning point in his career. In addition to his writing, Mark is the host of the podcast Vicious Whispers.
Mark resides in Southern California with his wife and two children.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
I grew up on Stephen King and am a huge fan of Chuck Palahniuk. In the last year I’ve read mostly nonfiction, the majority being tied to my study on traumatic brain injuries.
What book do you think everyone should read?
The old me wants to slap the new me for even suggesting something so nerdy, but I believe everyone would benefit from reading Dr. Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep. It’s very well-written and with more than enough information to make me change the way I view sleep. I was one of those I’ll-sleep-when-I’m-dead kind of guys, but this book changed how I treat sleep for both myself and my family.
How long have you been writing?
In high school I realized I enjoyed writing stories but I didn’t pursue it until after I graduated from college. My first shot at a novel was police procedural and my short stories were either suspense or horror. It wasn’t until 2010 that I began take writing seriously and began Brightside, my debut novel.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Characters usually come to me one at a time. I’ll ask my main character about his family and friends and go with the answers that seem true. Minor characters are based off ideas, people I’ve come across in my travels.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I want my books to be as plausible as possible so I try to research things as they come up. With Ain’t No Messiah I began to worry someone might see my search history and wrongfully assume I was researching crucifix dildos for my own pleasure. Nope, just had to make sure they were a real item, meaning there is a real demand for them, thus making the appearance in the book plausible.
Do you see writing as a career?
I see writing as an act that brings me an incredible amount of joy. I love creating stories and always will, but I also view it as a career that I’m finally beginning to take more seriously.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I don’t read for pleasure very often, but when I do it will be something dark. Stephen King and Chuck Palahniuk are my two favorite authors so that’s where I generally turn.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I used to write with heavy metal music on until I realized how much it was affecting the story. Occasionally I’ll know the perfect band or song that fits a scene and I’ll play it low in the background, but for the day to day writing I have on binaural beats that are meant to increase focus and creativity.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I write several books but don’t recommend it. It is frustrating having multiple things to work on and a limited time to apply yourself to them, but it is nice knowing I’ll have a steady stream of books if I keep it up.
If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
Pen or type writer or computer?
Pen then computer. My friends make fun of me for carrying my yellow notepad everywhere I go, but it’s a habit I don’t think I will break.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
When I began writing, it felt like something I needed to do but I doubted I would be very good at it. I didn’t think I could ever be a real author, but I enjoyed creating stories and always felt better when I finished them. It wasn’t until I was much older that I began to realize how much of a catharsis writing is for me. It’s a place to purge my soul and spit out old fears. Even if no one were to ever read another word I wrote, I’d still tell these stories.
A day in the life of the author?
Fix breakfast and lunch for the kids.
Drive my daughter to school.
Go to yoga or jiujitsu.
Write for 2-3 hours.
Pick up my son from school and take the kids to jiujitsu and activities.
Dinner and family time.
After the kids are in bed write for another hour or two.
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