Me: What drew you to Judas's story?
Tosca: My editor friend Jeff Gerke (who published Demon and Havah) suggested it. And I ran in the other direction for about a year. What finally got me was the encouragement of friends - most notably Robert Liparulo - and the fact that I finally admitted I was obsessed with the story.
Me: How do you see yourself in Judas?
Tosca: This story is largely about love vs. the law and about the agendas we have for God. Things that I've gone round and round about most of my life. Ultimately, though, this story is really about the inexplicable and uncontainable person of Jesus.
Me: In Matthew 26:50, Jesus tells Judas, "Do what you came for, friend?" What do you think of Jesus' response to his near betrayal?
Tosca: That he knew it was coming. That perhaps, he even had compassion for Judas, knowing that a day would come when he had wished he had never been born.
Me: What was the hardest part of writing Iscariot?
Tosca: The research. It took a year and a half. It was ginormous. And then writing it. And then editing it. The entire project was a long labor.
Me: What, if anything, do you want the readers to take away from Judas's story?
Tosca: Of course I want them to ask the question if they would have done the same, but what I really want is for them to slip into the skin of someone close to Jesus and experience him, as I did.
Many thanks to Tosca for giving me the opportunity to do the Q & A!!!
In Jesus, Judas believes he has found “the One” – a miracle-worker. The promised Messiah and future king of the Jews, destined to overthrow Roman rule. Galvanized, Judas joins the Nazarene’s followers, ready to enact the change he has waited for all his life.
But Judas’ vision of a nation free from Roman rule is crushed by the inexplicable actions of the Nazarene himself, who will not bow to social or religious convention – who seems in the end even to turn against his own people. At last, Judas must confront the fact that the master he loves is not the liberator he hoped for but a man pursuing a drastically different agenda.
Iscariot is the story of Judas – from his tumultuous childhood and tenuous entry into a career and family life to culminating events that have marked him as the betrayer of Jesus. But even more, it is a singular and surprising view into the life of Jesus himself that forces us all to reexamine everything we thought we knew about the most famous – and infamous – religious icons in history.