Archive for the ‘Davis Bunn’s Novels’ Category

Video Trailer: ‘The Pilgrim’

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Hot off the press, here’s the video trailer for my new historical novel, The Pilgrim (would love to hear what you think):

To view the video on certain browsers, right click on the player and select “Switch to Flash.”

Q&A: Is there a Catholic Saint With Whom You Viscerally Connect?

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Q: There is a tradition in Catholic discipleship training of seeking out a saint with whom you viscerally connect. I understand this happened to you in selecting both Saint Helena and her son, Constantine. Could you please tell us about this experience?

Davis Bunn: I was introduced to the tradition in the early days of my walk in faith. At the time I was working as a consultant and trying to carve out the time and the discipline to write, which I already knew was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I started going to a monastery as an act of desperation, trying to quiet the struggle in my head, create some space to work through all the impossible questions over faith and these conflicting calls on my time and my life.

The Pilgrim Quote 4

My favorite retreat became a monastery run by the Discalced Carmelites (men and women who devote themselves to a life of prayer). One time while up there I read the autobiography of their founder, Theresa of Avila. I was deeply moved by her ability to create a very real and concrete structure from her experiences of silence.

But much as I felt drawn to her, I also found that her life and her aims were just too distant from my own. She wanted to draw increasingly away from the world in order to focus exclusively upon God. I wanted to draw God into the world, or at least do my best, through my creative efforts.

And yet, it was this internal dialogue with Theresa that led me to study other saints. And it was this study that brought me to Helena and her son, Constantine. Who struggled from the moment of their faith-awakening with the conflicts between their hunger for God and their positions within the world.

The Pilgrim released July 17, 2015, from Franciscan Media.

Question for my readers

What person has played a key role in helping your faith grow?

Previously in this Q&A Series:

Publishers Weekly FaithCast: A discussion about ‘The Pilgrim’

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

PW PodcastI had the opportunity to chat with Lynn Garrett, Senior Religion Features Editor for Publishers Weekly.

We discussed the writing life, and why I chose to write about Helena, the mother of Constantine, in The Pilgrim. 

Click here or on the graphic to listen to the 11:33 podcast, called PW FaithCast.

Would love to hear your thoughts about the podcast.

‘The Pilgrim’ Now Available for Kindle

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

The Pilgrim by Davis BunnThe Kindle edition of The Pilgrim has been released. You can purchase it here:

Amazon has five editions of The Pilgrim:

  1. Hardcover
  2. Paperback
  3. Audible, Unabridged
  4. Audio CD
  5. Kindle

$5 off ‘The Pilgrim’ with Coupon Code

Monday, July 27th, 2015

The Pilgrim by Davis BunnFor a limited time, get $5 off my new historical novel, The Pilgrim, when you purchase it at the Franciscan Media bookstore.

The one-time discount code, applied at checkout, is:


(Expires August 3, 2015)

Their bookstore has loads of other great books, too! If your order is more than $20, shipping is free.

You Could Win a Copy of ‘The Pilgrim’

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Are you ready to travel with Empress Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine the Great, on a perilous journey through ancient Judea to Jerusalem?

I hope so, as my new historical novel, The Pilgrim, released today!

The Pilgrim Quote 2


To celebrate, I’ll be giving away copies of the book on my Facebook page during the next few weeks.

Our first giveaway is today. To enter, simply LIKE this picture on my Facebook page @davisbunnauthor.


I’ll announce the winners this evening after 8 p.m. EDT on my Facebook page, so be sure to visit to see if you won.

Get notifications of my future giveaways in your Facebook News Feed

  1. Click here to go to my Facebook author page:
  2. Like the page (if you haven’t already). If you’re already a fan, click the downward-pointing arrow in the “Liked” tab (located in the bottom righthand area of the large cover image).
  3. Check “Get Notifications” and “See First.”

Facebook See First** See First is a new Facebook feature that you can use to see new posts from your favorite pages and friends at the top of your News Feed.

To What Pilgrimage is God Calling You?

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

The Pilgrim By Davis BunnI’m excited for the release of my new historical novel, The Pilgrim, on Friday, July 17. In these two reader reviews, Judith Ingram and Debbie Phillips beautifully reflect on their own journeys as pilgrims.

Judith Ingram, on Goodreads

Davis Bunn’s historical novel, The Pilgrim, reads like a poem—lyrical and layered with spiritual meaning. The plot moves slowly, allowing the reader to savor the characters’ subtle introspections and heart changes that are the real story.

The title at first seems straightforward, “the pilgrim” being the empress mother of Constantine, recently divorced and shamed, on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. As her journey progresses, however, the troubled young Roman soldier assigned to accompany her reveals himself to be a pilgrim, also, on a journey to recover his lost faith.

By the end of the novel, I realized that I, too, had become a pilgrim, following their journey in faith, waiting for God to act and recognizing His movement in factual church history, which Bunn artfully embellishes with fictional details.

I recommend The Pilgrim to readers who enjoy a thoughtful read that is rooted in historical fact and finished off with vivid descriptions and piercing truths that will linger long after the book is laid aside.

The Pilgrim Quote 9

Debbie Phillips, on her blog

Wow, what a book. This is a GREAT historical fiction novel by a favorite author, Davis Bunn. A wonderful, touching tale about Helena, the mother of Constantine; her companions; and her pilgrimage to fulfill the call of God on her life and to walk in the steps that Christ walked while on his way to Calvary. Constantine, her son, has found the Lord and is beginning to change the world. Helena has been given a noble quest, through a vision from the Lord.

Oh, what wonderful characters. Oh what glorious descriptions. A quest that would lead the characters not just to Jerusalem, but to a deep spiritual place that helps them to find a reason to live, a way to forgive themselves for their failings and their past, and a way to join together to make the world a better place, especially for the Christians under Roman persecution.

I love how Bunn weaves a tale and brings me along and helps me to travel with each character on their journey. I felt with each character. I empathized with them. I wished that I could join them on the journey. I wish that I could go now and travel the Via Dolorosa.

This book helped me on my journey to forgive myself; and forgive others who have wounded me in the past. This is a difficult thing for me to do. It is something I have struggled with for the past 3 years. I have not finished my quest. I have not fully forgiven, but I am making progress and this book was one tool that Lord has used on my path to forgiveness.

I have for you two of my favorite quotes from the book…

The Pilgrim Quote 5

“She had to forgive herself.

On one level, it was ludicrous. What had she done to deserve her fate? She had every right to be hurt, wounded, angry and even to seek vengeance.

On the other, she knew the truth of this matter. She did not need anyone to be hard on her. She was harder on herself than anyone else could possibly be. Nothing she did was ever good enough. She had spent an entire lifetime striving to do better, to rise further, to be more. Which, of course, was one reason why she remained so upset with her husband. Because he had both failed to live up to her expectations and dragged her down as well.” pg 63

“Helena sat apart and argued with herself. Personal forgiveness meant accepting that she was flawed. Imperfect. Destined to miss the mark, time and again. She doubted whether she was able to actually, honestly, take that step.” pg 64

“I have a world of reasons to worry. I know I am frail. What I want is to look beyond all that.”
Slowly, Macarius turned back. His good eye gleamed as he observed her in silence.

“I want to be ready to serve at God’s command. And I can’t do this if I let fear and regret and anger dominate my life. I want to turn from all that. I want to focus on God. But I don’t know if I can.”

Macarius took her hand and he had the previous night. “Let us pray on this. And keep praying. And trust God both to answer and to give you the strength to hear.” pg 73

I completed this book and find myself inspired, hope filled, forgiven and more ready to forgive others, more aware of this time period, and deeply grateful for the opportunity to read and review it.

Q & A: What qualities did you read into the character of Saint Helena?

Monday, July 13th, 2015

QandA The Pilgrim Helena Flawed Woman

Q: Helena, the protagonist in THE PILGRIM, is a strong and determined, yet flawed and hurting woman. She’s someone anyone – particularly women – can relate to. When you researched, did you discover some of those elements about her “real life” character, or did you “read in” those qualities as you recreated her fictitious persona?

Davis Bunn: There were a few character points that all of the legends about Helena agreed upon. She did live on what is now the Dalmatia coast while her husband the general went off with the Roman army.

He did divorce her, and then retired to a villa filled with young maids. As the husband vanished from history, the disgraced wife, a woman without title or future, grew into a figure that still holds power today.

Another element on which all the legends agree is that Helena had a vision, just like her son Constantine, only hers said that she was to go to Judea on pilgrimage.

From that point on, almost everything is in disagreement. So I picked and chose. And to this I added three questions:

The Pilgrim By Davis BunnQ 1: What could create an atmosphere that would make a woman destined to become the first Christian empress of the Roman empire seem relevant to today’s reader?

Answer:  She traveled as a real pilgrim would. Without entourage.

Q 2: What internal state might reflect this outer atmosphere?

Answer: I decided to make the timing of her journey be while she was recovering from the divorce. As a Roman woman of means, she was expected to hide herself away in disgrace. Instead, she travels to the ends of the empire on a quest from God. And she takes with her all the emotional baggage that makes her human.

Q 3: How does this woman respond to God’s call at such a time of crisis?

Answer: To me, this was the biggest challenge in the story. Creating a woman obeying God, and yet doing so in utter human frailty.

This has been my own personal experience: that God does not call us when we are content and life is good. God calls us when he wants us to act, and the most important part of this act is relying on God for guidance and strength.

In other words, Helena needed to be weak. Just like us.

The Pilgrim releases July 17, 2015, from Franciscan Media.

Questions for my readers:

Has God given you a quest? How are you responding?

Previously in this Q&A Series:

How historically accurate are the people, places, time period, and events in ‘The Pilgrim’?

The Mending of Lives: Key Focus of ‘The Pilgrim’

Friday, July 10th, 2015

The Pilgrim By Davis BunnI’m touched by the reader reviews of The Pilgrim that are coming in. Today, you’ll hear from:

  • Anne Rightler
  • Jared Beiswenger
  • Eddie Gilley
  • Jodelle Svenhard

Please click the link next to each reviewer’s name to read his or her full review.

Anne Rightler, on Goodreads

Not knowing what lay ahead her intent was to walk the path of Christ’s grief and suffering. Helena, rejected wife of a Roman emperor, mother of Constantine the Great, only knew it was the will of God for her to take this path.

Davis Bunn’s masterful historical novel, The Pilgrim, brings readers a glimpse in the life of a woman, now revered as a saint in some religious faiths…a woman who heard from God and would not be deterred. Helena admits to those she meets she has failed God more often than she wants to recall and is told God wants her to know and share in others’ suffering.

She finds solace in servitude; the Empress giving freely that others may live and see Christ in her. The story is replete with characters in need of her healing balm. Broken people who needed to know the forgiveness of Christ in their souls and in their body. Broken people like the readers may be, in need of seeing God at work in their own lives.

Bunn writes of hope and healing and the mending of lives.

Jared Beiswenger, on Goodreads

“…the book has a solid Biblical message throughout. I think the themes will most resonate with those who have suffered great loss in their lives. I can’t relate closely myself, but nonetheless, I was emotionally invested by the climax. The Pilgrim also sparked my interest in the history of the Roman Empire and the early Church. After reading I was inspired to research the true stories behind the novel.”

Eddie Gilley, on his blog

There is drama, action, character development, and the gospel woven intricately within the story lines… There are moral messages of peace and reconciliation…”

The Pilgrim Quote 6

Jodelle Svenhard, on Goodreads

The Pilgrim is one of those books that “picks up” around word two.

Effervescent with historical characters you swear you studied in college, but suddenly you find they have emotions and lives and are not remotely similar to the gaudy figureheads you took for granted on the white pages of that dorm-room textbook. They live and breath before you as if someone found a way for them to “string theory” through history and sit by your side. And, indeed, someone did. The author, Davis Bunn, is the spellbinder.

“Sit,” however, is something this book rarely does. The characters charge, banter, ponder, blunder and bluster…. The life of a pilgrim is never dull… At least, not this Pilgrim.

Ha. what an unassuming name. About an unassuming individual…. in an unassuming world… But, it cannot remain unassuming, there is too much warmth. Embers from a forgotten fire that blazed through the pages of history so brightly that even dusty canvas, slovenly habits and our modern digitalized age cannot starved it completely cold or still.

Davis Bunn has found that fire, fueled it with words and faith. In The Pilgrim an Empress, a long buried kingdom and one of the most famous Generals in the world LIVE again.

Enjoy meeting them! I did.

How historically accurate are the people, places, time period, and events in ‘The Pilgrim’?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

QandA The Pilgrim Historical Accuracy

This is a more difficult question than it may first seem. The period when Constantine became the first Christian emperor is one about which so much has been written, and yet so little detail is known.

The Legends

For example, no one knows for certain where his mother, Helena – the main character in my story The Pilgrim – was born. There are three main legends, and I used the one that has the greatest sense of historical resonance, that she was British, and her father ruled one of the provinces taken over by the Romans. Her husband was a general who met Helena in the local market and fell in love at first sight.

So one problem was deciding which of the many legends to use as the basis for this story. The second problem was timing.

The Timing

Again, there were many different versions of when Helena had her own vision and felt called by God to take a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In this case, I decided not to use the most popular one in today’s world, that she was a grandmother and her son was already emperor.

Instead, I brought all the major elements of their lives together into a relatively short time span. I wanted to create a sense of dramatic action that would resonate with today’s reader. This same problem, as a matter of fact, was faced 70 years ago by T S Eliot, the last major author to write about Helena.

The Research

The Pilgrim By Davis BunnWhat can be said is that the era and the people were carefully researched. When I first came to study about this crucial moment in our Christian heritage, I was granted a position as Postgraduate Scholar at the University of Oxford. My two tutors during this wonderful period were Bishop Kallistos, head of the Orthodox Church of England, and Reverend Donald Sykes, president of one of the Oxford colleges and a Roman historian.

So the answer is, the facts have been studied, the legends too, and then I tried and make a story from them that would ignite a sense of passion in today’s reader.

The Pilgrim releases July 17, 2015, from Franciscan Media.

Question for my readers:

When you read a historical fiction story, how accurate do you expect the story to be?

Next in this Q&A Series:

What qualities did you read into the character of Saint Helena?