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IRDA Winning Author João Cerqueira: “Humor is my weapon against the things I dislike.”

Jesus and Magdalene was the winner in the Humor category of the 2020 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.

Following find an interview with author João Cerqueira.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

The name of the book is Jesus and Magdalene and it was published in 2017.  The original version, A segunda vinda de Cristo à Terra, was published in Portugal in 2015.

What’s the book’s first line?

Prologue (or good reasons for Jesus not repeating the events of the first coming to Earth).

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

The book is about ecology, racial conflicts and, especially, human nature. Jesus meets a modern Magdalene that fights for a better world – although using questionable methods – that would take him into a journey of conflict and madness. Although he limits himself to accompanying Magdalene attempting only to pacify those on bad terms, even then Jesus is unable to escape the fury of mankind. And only a con man will recognize him. Using humor, Jesus and Magdalene broaches recent phenomena of social and political conflict.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

Jesus and Magdalene is inspired in three different episodes that happened in Portugal, but could happened in any part of the world: a group of radical ecologists invaded and destroyed a field with genetic modified corn; a forest that was considered natural reservation was cut to construct a resort; in a poor neighborhood happens a racial clash between blacks and gypsies.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

The main character is not Jesus, but Magdalene because she is guiding him through the novel. Magdalene has noble intentions, but fails to understand the reality of the people she wants to help because she knows only her world. She, like most of the persons who live in cities, believe that people from the country or from the third world need to be protected like children. But she can’t connect with the people she wants to help and Romy, the gypsie girl, teaches her a good lesson. Across the story, she will discover her own ignorance and in the end the price that she will pay is high.

She reminds me Jane Fonda protesting against the Vietnam War.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

A good laugh while reflecting on important matters in today’s world. I also hope that the book will allow the reader to understand better other cultures – always with a smile on his lips.

When did you first decide to become an author?

My father had an excellent library. From The Canterbury Tales to Don Quixote, all the major titles were there. The desire to be a writer probably manifested itself as soon as I started looking at those books. However, I only really felt capable of writing a novel after I turned 35. I am interested in exploring the complexity of human nature. Why there is so much violence? Why there is so much stupidity? Are we really so much different from other animals? Humor is my weapon against the things I dislike.