'The Fifth Gospel' is set entirely inside the Vatican and told from the perspective of a Catholic priest. I'm not Catholic myself, yet authenticity and factual accuracy are very important to me, so the novel required an enormous amount of research.
The Vatican has to strike a difficult balance between running a country and running a religious institution.
I write about modern people who share a deep sense of connection to the mysteries of the past. I find that I understand myself and my world better when I'm able to peer into history as a mirror.
The Bible never tells us what Jesus looked like, and in the earliest surviving paintings of him, he is sometimes depicted as short-haired, sometimes as beardless, with no authoritative version winning out over the others. Yet around 400 A.D., all of the other competing images were replaced by the long-haired, bearded Jesus we know today.