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The Contessa Chronicles is in part a prequel about Jesus’ life in heaven before he was sent to earth, with me imagining him living on a working ranch, having a mother, a father, and a sister named Contessa–whose diary is found by a grieving girl in modern day times.

I had so much fun picturing a young Jesus growing upon a ranch, getting up early to care for the animals, learning to drive a truck with the ranch hands, sitting by the well talking to his mother, racing his sister to dive off the pier at Crystal Lake.

The story then becomes about what Contessa does once she enters the Valley Land, and begins to finish the work he started.  What does she do to help lift people out of the Pit?  Other random questions get answered along the way–some in fun and some in all seriousness.  Like–what really happened to the dinosaurs?  How did the prophets know so much?  Who are the Triple A design team, and how did they help Michelangelo complete the Sistine Chapel?  Why did Skinner really get kicked off the Ranch?  What happens when Skinner meets Contessa at a funeral, and what does each one say to the parents?

Filled with glimpses of familiar stories, and some astonishing new ones, I hope to invite you to use your imagination also to see a world where heaven is not some place far off, but can be right here among us, if we just reach out our hand.