Intersection Column | The Power of Praying Coauthors
by Tosca Lee
Ask me today about my upcoming WWII novel with Marcus Brotherton and I’ll tell you two things: I always believed we’d see this book in print…
And I had no idea how that was going to happen.
Inspired by true stories, The Long March Home is a gripping coming-of-age tale of friendship, sacrifice and the power of unrelenting hope from two New York Times bestselling authors.
Jimmy Propfield joined the army for two reasons: to get out of Mobile, Alabama, with his best friends Hank and Billy and to forget his high school sweetheart, Claire.
Life in the Philippines seems like paradise—until the morning of December 8, 1941, when news comes from Manila: the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor. Within hours, the teenage friends are plunged into war as Japanese warplanes attack Luzon, beginning a battle for control of the Pacific Theater that will culminate with a last stand on the Bataan Peninsula and end with the largest surrender of American troops in history.
What follows will become known as one of the worst atrocities in modern warfare: the Bataan Death March. With no hope of rescue, the three friends vow to make it back home together. But the ordeal is only the beginning of their nearly four-year fight to survive.
That’s the crux of the book’s premise.
But let’s go back a couple of years. It’s 2020. Lockdown just started. The pandemic has caught my family in the ugly, torn-up middle of a near-total house renovation on all fronts because this is the year we are finally making it happen.
Except, no. Suddenly, my three boys are home from high school and college, and there’s a toilet in the middle of the basement. The attic where I wrote my last three books is a gutted shell. I attempt to work in the bedroom on an old plywood desk that every so often <plink> a board decides to fall off of. I try to write but, like the rest of the nation, my creativity has closed up shop.
Fast forward to today. I don’t know how we bridged that distance, but Marcus and I are at the release of The Long March Home, and I am not only grateful for the power of prayer, but for the gift of a partnership where creative partners can pray together.
This is a novel twelve years in the making; Marcus worked on it for seven years before calling me up and inviting me into the project. I added five years to the process—including several months of creative catatonia during the pandemic. I don’t know how many times we sent prayers back and forth for the work on this book, for the writing of this story, for it to find a publisher that will propel it lovingly into the world and for the readers we hope to bless.
I get asked a lot about how authors write a book together, and the truth is that no partnership I’ve seen seems to have the same process. In the end, we passed the final versions back and forth, compromised on a lot, honored one another’s non-negotiables and trusted in these things:
the strengths we each brought to the partnership
the value of rewriting (and rewriting… and rewriting again…)
the importance of humor
the power of prayer
As The Long March Home releases, I am so grateful to be in this moment, to have written this story about an important chapter in WWII history and its heroes with the power of praying coauthors—including the Great Storyteller who saw this book to fruition.
About the Authors
Tosca Lee is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve novels including The Long March Home (May 2, 2023, with Marcus Brotherton), The Line Between, Iscariot, Havah, The Story of Eve and The Legend of Sheba. Her work has been translated into seventeen languages and optioned for TV and film. She is the recipient of multiple awards including two International Book Awards. Her work has been praised as “deeply human,” “powerful” and “mind-bending.”
Marcus Brotherton is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly and Wall Street Journal bestselling author or coauthor of more than twenty-five books that have been called “fascinating,” “brilliantly arranged,” “magical” and “refreshingly frank.”
About the Book
Jimmy Propfield joined the army for two reasons: to get out of Mobile, Alabama, with his best friends Hank and Billy and to forget his high school sweetheart, Claire. Life in the Philippines seems like paradise—until the morning of December 8, 1941. Within hours, the teenage friends are plunged into a war that will culminate with a last stand on the Bataan Peninsula and end with the largest surrender of American troops in history. With no hope of rescue, the three friends vow to make it back home together.
Did You Know?
Scholars agree that Joseph personified one of the most Christ-like characters in the entire Old Testament. As we experience the trials of a post-pandemic world, we often face the polarizing opinions and divisive actions of others. Here are some vital lessons we learn from Joseph:
Joseph never whined or complained. Even though his ten older brothers had sold him into Egyptian slavery, Joseph kept his eyes on God. Instead of whining or wailing, he leveraged his God-given gifts to make a difference. When Joseph’s diligence elevated him to the position of running Potiphar’s home, Potiphar (a secular man) acknowledged that he saw the Lord in Joseph. Joseph’s behavior provided Potiphar with a divine glimpse of God.
Joseph never sought revenge. After interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams and proposing God’s plan for navigating the land through a severe famine, Pharaoh appointed Joseph as Egypt’s prime minister. His enormously powerful position provided ample opportunity to seek revenge on the brothers who had stolen his life. Instead, Joseph sought reconciliation.
Joseph chose forgiveness over vengeance. Rather than embracing retaliation, Joseph embraced his brothers. Because Joseph trusted God, the twelve tribes of Israel were established and the lineage of Jesus was preserved.
I long for the day when our actions and words consistently embrace Christ-like characteristics that provide our culture a glimpse of the divine. There is no time to squander.
-Donna Snow, Meant for Good: A Study of Joseph
Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore
“I like to shop in bookstores because I love being with people and talking to them. I like holding a book in my hands so I can turn the pages. I also like to discover new books and new authors. I could spend hours in a bookstore and never get lonely!”
-Crystal Bowman, Who God Wants Me to Be