Monday, June 3, 2019


Up next in our round of Q&As is Paul Driscoll, author of "The Jar of the Alabaster Assassin"! Paul is the co-founder of Altrix Books along with Kara Dennison, and co-creator of the upcoming book series The Chronosmith Chronicles. He's also in the midst of editing Altrix's next charity anthology, coming out later this year.

Altrix Books: What about the Unearthed concept made you want to pitch a story?

Paul Driscoll: My Masters dissertation at Oxford University was on the origins of the gospel of John. I adopted a sociological approach to the gospel which involved plenty of research into the archaeology of fourth century Palestine. For me, it was the most fascinating part of my work, helping to ground in reality not only the text but my faith too. I have never been on a dig, but it’s one of the first things on my bucket list. Writing about a fictional one is the next best thing.

Altrix: Tell us a little about your story.

Driscoll: Mary, a young US mum smuggles home what looks like an unremarkable alabaster jar from a synagogue excavation in Huqoq. It soon turns out to have been a very bad mistake, forcing her to confront her own demons and placing the life of her young daughter at risk. There’s fire – lots of it, and judgement will be served.

Altrix: What books, shows, or real life events inspired your work, if any?

Driscoll: This is an entirely fictional piece – in that I’ve invented a myth and projected it back in time (although there are plenty of facts about Huqoq and the actual excavations that are ongoing there). I think that’s a more honest approach than that taken by the likes of Dan Brown with their sensationalist claims and academically flawed assumptions. That said, this is probably best described as Dan Brown meets Stephen King. I think if the two are fighting it out, then King wins by the end of the story.

Altrix: What was the most challenging part of creating your story?

Driscoll: The concept of what’s inside the box is a fun one to play with, but my immediate thought was how do I subvert it – it’s not always what’s on the inside that matters. Getting that point across without the story coming across as too contrived resulted in several false starts and about turns. Authenticity is something that even the most fantastical works need and that has to be character led. Some pretty ‘out there’ things happen to the main cast and I had to work hard to ensure their reactions to the unbelievable were believable. By the end of the story the mystery is not solved – that’s up to you, dear reader, but for Mary the right lessons have been learned along the way.

Altrix: Where else can our readers find your work?

Driscoll: I may have caught the bug for writing historical fiction, or is it fictional history, so do excuse me but I must get back to the 1880s for the first Chronosmith Chronicles novel. Keep an eye out on the Altrix Books website for future announcements.

Order your copy of Unearthed from Altrix Books!


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