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Religion as Inspiration for Writers

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 29, 2011

Keeper of the Rings, my fourth science fiction romance, was inspired by the Jewish New Year. As the shofar, a ram’s horn, is blown on this holiday to celebrate the new moon in the seventh month and the creation of the world, so is the sacred horn blown at the annual Renewal ceremony on the planet Xan in my story. But something goes wrong in my fictional tale and disrupts the harmony.

Not so the service I attended earlier today. As I sat listening to the soaring music, a sense of comfort and peace washed over me. I’d heard these same tunes every year for decades now, and they still inspire a spiritual uplifting. However, as a writer, this is where my imagination took flight several years ago.


My backlist title, Keeper of the Rings, was originally published by Dorchester and written as Nancy Cane. Recently, I’ve revised it and converted it into digital format, so the story is still fresh in my mind. I thought back to that other Rosh Hashanah service which inspired Keeper of the Rings.

“What If” —These are the words every writer thinks. What If… I was so devoted to my religion that I became a follower, like a nun? What If… in my world, everyone worshipped the same god, Lothar, and the religion was called Sabal? What If… I’d joined the inner circle known as the Caucus to learn the truth, because I suspected the ruling priests were keeping information from the populace to maintain power? What If…everything I knew about my world turned out to be false?

Leena, my heroine, joins the religious body to clear her father’s name after he has been discredited and to discover what the priests are hiding. She learns something is dreadfully wrong at the Renewal ceremony when it’s time to blow the shofar…uh, I mean the horn:

Leena held her breath. The sound of the horn was more than a symbol for ushering in the new year. It summoned Lothar, and when he awoke, he reset the climatic cycles of Xan for another year. Without his beneficence, her world would revert to the wild, untamed fury of the past. No one ever wanted that to happen. It would mean the end to civilization as they knew it. Renewal was the pinnacle of all the seasonal holidays.

“Show us the horn,” Dikran shouted as he faced the rear.

Karayan and Eznik drew the doors apart, and a collective gasp went up from the congregation.

Emptiness yawned from within the richly lit interior.

“Dear deity,” Leena whispered. Where was the sacred horn?

Dikran had a stunned look on his face, while the other members of the Synod wore horror-stricken expressions.


Yep, you guessed it. The horn has been stolen. Thus begins an adventure mixed with mystery as Leena, an archeologist, is assigned the task of locating the missing artifact. You can learn what happened to it along with Leena for only $2.99:




Backlist Ebooks

See? You never know when inspiration will hit. To a writer, nothing is sacred.

L’Shana Tovah! Have a sweet and healthy new year.


5 Responses to “Religion as Inspiration for Writers”

  1. Rebecca Greene said

    Your story sounds great! I love it when backlisted books get a fresh intro! 🙂

    And inspiration comes from everything around us. You just have to keep an open mind…and eye…and ear. Well, you know!

    Thanks for the great blog!

  2. Thank you for stopping by, Rebecca. You’re absolutely right. We writers have to look around us with open eyes and ears.

  3. Love how your mind works! Of course, you were fully paying attention to the service at the same time, right?

  4. Ah, I don’t know about that, Lisa. When I’m not plotting a story in my head, I might be studying women’s hairstyles to entertain myself. Our Rosh Hashanah service has beautiful music, so I usually pay attention then.

  5. Oops, I meant Allison. I seem to mix up author Allison Chase with Lisa Manuel for some reason.

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