My 4th main published book--a unique inspirational historical fiction novel:
I'm pleased to have, with the help of the good LORD, published my 4th main book, which is a unique inspirational American historical novel, called "The Christmas Victory, A Gem of a Sermon All Wrapped Up in A Historical Novel." I have also published a special Christmas Gift Edition of this novel.
How I came to write this novel:
Taken from the foreword:
First of all, I did NOT plan to write another book.
Secondly, when I was in Seminary, circa 1974, The Lord began to give me insight into the meaning of Isaiah 7:14 from the use of language and context. I came up with a unique interpretation which I did not find anywhere else, but which I found to be extremely practical.
Thirdly, I wrote an article on my findings and published it in my ezine and on my Squidoo page.
Fourthly, in November 2012, I was given the opportunity to preach and decided to use my idea and preach on Is.7:14. I entitled the message “The Christmas Victory.” It was well received by many, but some thought it a bit esoteric, so the next year (2013) I decided to rework it and asked to preach it again. I made it more understandable and preached it on Dec.15, 2013. I had only good comments this time. NOTE: If you are a preacher, you can use the sermon, because I have released the copyright on it.
Fifthly, as an illustration, toward the end of the sermon, I used Paul Harvey's bird story, of which he says he couldn’t trace the parentage. In case you're not familiar with it, you can listen to it below:
Sixthly, for the choir anthem, I had the choir sing “I heard the bells on Christmas Day,” and I gave a brief history of the writing of the song's lyrics, the poem by Henry W. Longfellow, which I derived from the internet. It's a history of triumph through tragedy, starting with the loss of his dear wife through a tragic fire. Then there was the war, which he had so hoped would be avoided, and his son's disobedience in joining the army. Finally, there was the terrible injury which his son sustained in the war. You can listen to the full story below:
Seventhly, while I was working on my sermon and the hymn history, a friend of mine with whom I was praying on the phone, asked me if I were writing another book. I told him NO. He said he felt the Lord telling him to pray for the book I was writing. I told him again, I'm not writing any book and have no intention of writing another.
Eighthly, BUT, the more I thought both about my sermon (and the fact that it needed to reach a larger audience) and the history behind that hymn and the bird story, I felt that these elements perhaps did have the making of another novel.
The clincher was when I saw an episode of the T.V. Show “Touched by an Angel” in which Mark Twain was affected by the Longfellow poem. I decided to try to tie all these elements together as a way of getting my sermon (which is found in block style in Chapter 6) a larger audience by wrapping it up in a novel.
What are Historical Novels?
Historical Novels, a.k.a. works of historical fiction, are novels which are based upon actual historical events or time periods and use fictional characters and/or fictionalise actual historical personages by giving them unique characteristics, words or thoughts. Historical novels also create fictional events or activities within a chosen historical time period.
My American Historical Novel
My American historical novel covers the years 1860 to 1909 and deals with the lives and tragedies of H.W. Longfellow, his son, Charles, and Mark Twain. It's about one little sermon and one, even littler poem, and how, fictionally, they may have influenced and given hope to, not only the author of the poem, Henry W. Longfellow, but also his son, Charles, and Mark Twain, whom Charles meets. .
Why my new historical novel is unique
My American historical novel is unique for several reasons, not the least of which is that it just may be the only novel with a sermon in it--I don't mean one that preaches a sermon by the message it conveys--I mean an actual sermon as part of the novel.
In addition to that outstanding characteristic, my novel may also be unique in that, as a reflection of the author's hope, it poses eternal salvation for certain historical personages, of which there is no actual historical record of their ever embracing Christianity.
Check your understanding: Take my little 3 question quiz:
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- True or False: My historical novel is based on real actual historical personages and events
- True or False: This novel actually contains a sermon typed out within it
- Which historical character does NOT appear in this novel?
- Nathanial Hawthorne
- H.W. Longfellow
- Mark Twain
- Nathanial Hawthorne
Reviews of my new historical novel
I now have 2 reviews of my new historical novel, "The Christmas Victory." Here they are:
1. REVIEW By Jamie Polychrones
JAMES M. BECHER has an uncanny way of mixing history with fiction in The Christmas Victory. He takes famous individuals from the past and expands on some the actual events that occurred in their lives with fictional suppositions. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Mark Twain are major contributors to American literature. But their personal lives remain hidden in the past.
This historical fiction novel expertly weaves two genres together to create a tale that’s entirely possible. No one will ever know the true beliefs of these two men, but readers will enjoy James’ speculation about their everyday lives. With a spiritual slant, this book will enlighten and inspire readers and fellow writers to examine their own lives and contribution to history. Tragedy defines their future in this novel, as it does for many people.
2. Machelle Miller's review (Goodreads)
First of all, let me say that this is a must read!! The storyline is mixed with just the right amount of historical information, which makes the book both a learning tool as well as a heart-warming experience. The sermon itself is one that I will always remember and leaves no doubt that it can change lives. I loved the poem that eventually became the Christmas Carol "I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day." When I heard vs. 4 it brought tears to my eyes, because for the first time I realized what the original context might have been. Thank you to James Becher for my signed advance copy, and the privilege of writing this review.
Here are some excerpts from my new historical novel on Bublish ("Buy" links included to the right of the excerpt):
- Christmas past - The Christmas Victory - James Michael Becher - Literature & Fiction - Bublish B
- No Chrismas for Henry - The Christmas Victory - James Michael Becher - Literature & Fiction - Bu
No Chrismas for Henry
- A happy ending - The Christmas Victory - James Michael Becher - Literature & Fiction - Bublish B
This excerpt is from the end of part I. I include it just so you know the happy Christmas ending for the Longfellows. But what could have brought about such a great change? You'll have to buy the book to find out.
Another review, specifically of the Gift Edition:
From my 5-star review of The Christmas Gift Edition Reviewed By Liz Konkel for Readers’ Favorite:
"...a delightful gift edition of an uplifting story of Christmas and faith. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow hasn't felt the Christmas spirit since the death of his wife but that doesn't keep his children from trying to bring him cheer. He struggles more when his oldest, Charles...wants to join the war and he...fears for his son's safety. Samuel Clemens goes on...Mark Twain and meets the lovely Olivia who becomes his wife. Mark's and Henry's lives overlap in interesting ways as the two men face unexpected tragedies throughout their lives and challenges in their uplifting discovery of faith. The story revolves around a sermon called 'The Christmas Victory' and a poem called 'Christmas Bells.'
James M. Becher's story is light and uplifting with a historical setting centered on two well-known writers who pull themselves out of tragedy and bleakness to find their faith. .... The story weaves between Henry and his son Charles, Mark Twain, and Jim Berk. They influence each other as their stories link together through their struggles and how they come to discover their faith in God. The historical backdrop is set during the war and the time of Lincoln but the focus is solely on lighter elements of the Christmas spirit, family, and faith. Becher centers on tragedies and uses the darkest moments in Mark's and Henry's lives to explore how to not give up on happiness and turn to their faith.
Christmas is the perfect time to set the story as it's a season for hope, belief, and family which blends perfectly into how the story progresses with Becher capturing cheer and melancholy in the tone. Becher uses “The Christmas Victory” to lead each of the characters toward the light and help them pull themselves out of the tragedies that have made them lose faith. Becher also includes a variety of colorful images throughout* that add to the Christmas spirit, which is captured in the very meaning of Christmas found in the characters' struggles. The Christmas Victory would make the perfect gift to share with loved ones and is a story to enjoy as a family with its poignant themes of faith, family, and reconnection."
*View some excerpts from the Gift Edition to give you an idea of the pictures I added, ("Buy" links are included to the right.):
- Christmas Past - The Christmas Victory (Gift Edition) A Gem of a Sermon, All Wrapped Up In a Histor
A look back at past Christmases in 1860's New England with pictures. Because of space constraints, I could add only 2 pictures.
- Writers and Officers - The Christmas Victory (Gift Edition) A Gem of a Sermon, All Wrapped Up In a H
Here's a rather long excerpt from Chapter 4 of the Gift Editon regarding Mark Twain and Lt.Charles Longfellow to give you more of an idea how I use pictures in this editin,
© 2014 James M Becher
TerriCarr on August 01, 2014:
Great timing to come out with a historical novel about Christmas. In just a couple of months people will be looking for heart-warming material about the holidays. Sounds like a fascinating idea!