A Trilogy of Ancient Tales
An Unprecedented Window into the Past
In 1999, after twenty years of research and writing, W. Kent Smith published his first book, Lost Stories for All Ages: Apocryphal Literature for the 21st Century, amidst a flurry of other fictionalized accounts of apocryphal texts. Now, he is facing the fact that he may have a bittersweet pill to swallow, at least temporarily.
According to Rodolpho Carrasco, of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune:
“The representation of ancient texts is important enough for people and organizations to invest millions of dollars and countless hours. The reason is simple: At the dawn of the Third Millennium A.D., in a frenetically digital and mass migratory world, there is an ever-growing hunger for truth and meaning.” (Old Texts Come to Life in Modern World, March 6, 1999)
This demand has led to a rapidly developing genre, which has not only produced a frenzy amongst authors, publishers, and booksellers, but it has also brought apocryphal literature into renewed acceptance.
“But,” says Smith, “there are hazards in this feeding frenzy. A novel—like all fiction, for that matter—must create characters to tell an engaging story. Unfortunately, character development in ancient texts usually falls flat, so the author, in writing his fiction, is forced to fill in the missing pieces, making stuff up as he goes along. They call it ‘dramatic license.’ The result is a fictionalized novel where characters are, at least partially, based on conjecture, which tends to lead readers away from the real truths and meanings that are buried in these texts.”
With a love for the cinema, which began in his youth, Smith came to believe that the stories in apocryphal literature were “movies just waiting to happen. But non-fiction and the cinema seemed incompatible, especially biblical non-fiction.”
Story Continues Below
To hear Kent talk about the little-known biblical prophecy, which speaks of the 5,500-year chronology from Adam to Christ, with Zen Garcia, the host of the Internet talk show Secrets Revealed, CLICK BELOW.
Story Continues From Above
Still, Kent’s desire to tap the power of the cinema haunted him. Eventually, he felt that he discovered a way to reconcile the two forms of communication. “Believing I had discovered certain things about our historical record, I was driven to write non-fiction stories within a cinematic narrative. Political dramas set in a vivid, historical context particularly intrigued me.
“A screenplay hinges on symmetry and balance,” says Kent. “The beauty of the cinema is that it can tell a simple, yet powerful, story. I didn’t try to write a novel per se, so I never had to stoop to making up a bunch of stuff about the characters. One thing I never wanted to do was embellish the facts. I wrote Lost Stories for All Ages, envisioning it all as a movie, with action and dialog. That’s one of the reasons why, I believe, it’s so special. It’s something everyone can relate to. I mean, what’s the point of all your scholarship when only 100 people will ever read it, let alone understand it?”
Lost Stories for All Ages contains three interconnected short stories, adapted from a series of biblical manuscripts, which began to be rediscovered by the Western world, starting in 1768. In them, Smith brings to life some of the best known apocryphal Bible stories.
After spending years researching, adapting, and writing these stories, Smith has self-published the book. “I had to remain true to the original texts,” he adds. “These stories are woven together in a very subtle and unique way. For a long time, no one could really appreciate how important it was to present them as a trilogy. Self-publishing was my only way to insure that would happen.”
Now Lost Stories for All Ages is perfectly positioned in an emerging market, with an accurate, easy-to-read adaptation of these texts. Yet Smith’s dilemma is still a tough one. “I’m thrilled to see that in this new millennium we’re finally bringing these ancient texts into the spotlight. It’s exciting to see that people are ready for this kind of material. But I’m also frustrated, because Lost Stories might be overlooked and underappreciated simply because of its simple, straight-forward presentation. If I’m not careful, it could get lost again in all the clutter of similar-looking titles.”
And that, incidentally, leads us to the reason for the creation of a supplemental publication to the book, called The Lost Stories Journal. “Yes, that’s right. I’m constantly having to remind everyone about the reasons why things like these books keep getting lost! It’s not something new, you know.”
So that’s what The Journal is all about, then? “Yeah, that’s a good way of putting it, I guess. It’s a place to rediscover the things that keep getting lost!”
But aren’t you still worried Lost Stories for All Ages could get lost again no matter what you do? “Of course, but then they’ll just have to get rediscovered one more time by some other unsuspecting soul. Truth always seems to have a way of doing that!”