Monday, July 24, 2006

You May Be Sugar, Spice, Everything Nice -- But You're Not Jesus' Little Girl

43 year-old mother/self-described "descendant" of Jesus and Mary Magdalene to write a book.

For, however outlandish Ms McGowan's claims, they are being taken seriously by one of the world's most respected publishing houses. Simon & Schuster is publishing her book and ploughing a marketing budget of more than a quarter of a million dollars into promoting it. It has already invested a seven-figure sum in the rights to her book, The Expected One. "I certainly expect there will be a backlash," said Ms McGowan. "But I have the support of my family and friends and that's what I draw from."

Claims to such a genetic lineage might normally draw scepticism from a world where an author's credibility can make or break a book. But rights to Ms McGowan's story of religious intrigue have been sold in more than 20 languages and the first print run in the US alone is 250,000. Her novel - which was first self-published last year and sold just 2,500 copies - goes on sale in Britain next month. It is the first part of a trilogy.

Digby Halsby, of Simon & Schuster's UK division, said Ms McGowan had been working on the book since 1989 and thus predated Dan Brown's efforts. When asked how a publisher could authenticate the author's claim about her heritage, he said: "It's impossible to verify. It's all to do with a matter of faith. She makes a very convincing argument."

Ms McGowan's claim to be descended from a child of Mary and Jesus is outlined in the afterword to what she says is a partly autobiographical novel.

She has offered no proof of her heritage but said she had traced it to an ancient French lineage that claimed to trace its roots to the pair.

I think I need to bang my head against a wall for a few minutes....