Edward Flom, like many people, knew the story of the life of Jesus Christ. But what happened after Jesus was crucified? What happened to his disciples? He has devoted the past two years to discovering an answer to those questions. The result is his new book, Thirty Three, the Story of Hope.
Flom, 53, recently celebrated the national launch of the book at a book signing in Tampa.
A South Tampa native and real estate developer, Flom turned to writing when a friend and colleague, Kirk Berendes, suggested the idea for the story two years ago.
The real estate market was struggling, and Flom was ready to tackle a writing project.
"I was always a writer," Flom said. "I've always worked on it as a craft, so when the idea came, I was ready to go."
He moved to Clearwater Beach for a year and immersed himself in writing and researching Jewish and Roman history, early Christian anthologies and Scripture.
Thirty Three tells what happened to the disciples after Jesus' crucifixion in a story told with cultural and scriptural accuracy that's not meant to be preachy, Flom said.
"These guys were all Jews. They were in a strange town, fearful of their own lives. How did a rabbi and his very simple followers usher in this new movement after he was executed? How were they able to do that?" he said. "It's a phenomenal story."
Flom and Berendes believed so strongly in the idea that they developed it as a multimedia project.
When they came up with the concept of the book, they formed a company, 33 Hope, to also develop a screenplay, Christian music and a social media website.
With the help of a third partner, entertainment attorney William Whitacre, the company is getting some national attention. It enlisted a Nashville music producer and produced two Christian songs.
The screenplay was written by Cristóbal Krusen, who wrote the film Final Solution and First Landing, a TV movie that aired on the ABC Family Channel. 33 Hope is in talks with an international film and production company to co-produce the film.
The company is also developing a "33 Faithbook" social networking website that owners hope will be similar to Facebook.
"We're trying to bring the light of Christ to the world by creating a safe harbor," said Phil Gilliam, the computer programmer from Clearwater in charge of website development. "It will be a fun, safe place to share with your friends, connect, play and network."
The website is expected to launch this month.
Thirty Three, the Story of Hope is available online at 33hope.com.
Elizabeth Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.