The Making of The Patriots

An American Family Portrait

Video Podcast


This is the fifth in a series of videos in which I take a look back at the making of my 9-volume novel series, An American Family Portrait, on the 20th Anniversary of the publishing of the first book in the series, The Puritans. This video features Book 3, The Patriots.

  • With Book 3 in the series, we enter more familiar American history, the Revolutionary War.
  • While we are proud as Christians of the role our faith played in the founding of our country, the decision to take up arms was not an easy one for Christians in 1776.
  • A key question had to be addressed: At what point does a Christian take up arms against his own government?
  • The colonists were, for the most part, believers who attended church regularly and read their Bibles. They were familiar with New Testament scriptures that taught respect for authority, such as:
    • 1 Timothy 2:1-2: I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful, quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
    • 1 Peter 2:13-17: Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right . . . . Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
  • The colonists were familiar with the examples of Jesus, the apostles and early Christians, and the Puritans who suffered hardship, imprisonment and death, yet who never advocated the overthrow of an oppressive government.
  • I attempt to portray the tension and conflict of the colonial uprising with twin brothers, Jacob and Esau; both patriots, one to the colonies, one to England.
  • There are four story lines: Jarod accompanies Benjamin Franklin in a diplomatic mission to France; Jacob follows Gen. George Washington; Esau follows Gen. Benedict Arnold, and Anne and Mercy portray life on the home front.
  • Several humorous episodes balance the tension and suspense, including: Abigail Matteson, a character inspired by Patience Wright, a wax sculptress; and Mercy Morgan who dispels the tension of a dinner argument by quoting etiquette lessons learned by every colonial schoolboy.
  • Jack shares one incident of a reader who got so caught up with the emotions of the story, he threw the novel across the room.
  • CORRECTIONS: John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. And readers can’t throw ebooks across the room, but they can toss ereaders. (Well, duh. What was Jack thinking?)

CLICK HERE to start reading the American Family Portrait series in minutes!

Other episodes in this series: 


  1. Why I Write Christian Historical Fiction
  2. The Incredible Power of Historical Fiction
  3. The Making of The Puritans
  4. The Making of The Colonists


  1. Sports on Sundays: Keeping the Sabbath in the Days of The Puritans
  2. My 13-year Odyssey to Getting Published
  3. John Winthrop: The Forgotten Founding Father
  4. A Middle-Aged Male Author Attempts to Write Poetry From a Teenage Character
  5. 300-year-old Bible stolen

Jack’s Next Post
AUDIO: The Incredible Lives of Patience Wright and John Andre

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