Joseph Mauck is the author of The Cross and the Godless.
Where did you get the idea for this story?
The first inklings of The Cross and the Godless came to me as I followed a news story way back in 1981, when increasing numbers of political refugees from Nicaragua and El Salvador made their way across the US/Mexican border. I lived in Southern California at the time, when the ongoing violence in those two countries alarmed a great many Americans. For me, the horrific murders of nuns and priests was particularly troubling. But I also read about magnificent acts of courage and sacrifice on the part of Christian volunteers who helped thousands of people. And yes, there were horrific murders along the border. Some were attributed to death squads. Helping destitute immigrants in those days was a dangerous undertaking. As a dramatist I couldn’t resist writing a story that reflected that same Christian courage. At first, it was just a one page outline. But with careful thought and a lot of research over the years, I pulled the story together between other projects.