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Inside page from Jesus on ThyFace
Lazarus hath changed his status to risen

Posted on 10 November 2010, 14:41

I’ve reviewed new comedy book Jesus on ThyFace here, and my interview with the UK authors, Denise Haskew and Steve Parker is on Ship of Fools. In the interests of keeping it short there, I cut part of the interview, so here’s the authors’ account on how they wrote the book…

Steve Parker: I’d like to say we were keen to take a satirical look at the Bible, but the idea came from the other direction. I came up with an idea for a whodunnit/thriller based entirely on the social networking pages of the principle characters, and I asked Denise what she thought. She said it was probably the worst idea she’d heard in a long time.

Denise Haskew: There was the germ of an idea there, though, and I suggested retelling a classic, familiar tale using the characters’ social networking pages – something like Pride and Prejudice, War and Peace or Wuthering Heights. I thought that might work. This was last Christmas, and we were on our way to a Christmas party in London. On the way, we sat on the train chucking out suggestions. It was clear that for a book like this to work, we needed something that was familiar to as large a number of people as possible. “What’s the best selling book of all time?” we mused. Then, just like a scene from the movies, the idea hit us both at exactly the same time: ‘The Bible!’

Steve Parker: I remember Denise saying, ‘Lazarus hath changed his status to risen’, then she reached into her bag and pulled out a pen and pad. We were pretty poor company at the party – we just sat in a corner giggling and writing down gags.

Denise Haskew: When energy flagged, we turned to alcohol. I remember one particularly thorny problem working out how to best tell the story of John the Baptist’s beheading. I was looking forward to getting to this, as I thought Salome would be such a great character. As the Paris Hilton of her day, she was in many ways the ideal subject. But when we got to that bit, we couldn’t get the story to work. So we went down the pub and had a couple of pints of Winter Warmer, and then hit on the solution after just one pint: the story was much better told from Herod Antipas’s point of view. Herodias and Salome were plotters, whereas the luckless, conceited Herod was taken for a ride. Obvious, but it needed beer to bring it into focus.

Read the rest of the interview on Ship of Fools.

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