Two years ago I came up with an idea of writing the story of King Herod. There were so many things about him that I didn't know, and the flat evil stock character he had become just wasn't enough anymore. In fact, the more I found out about him the more of a tragic hero he became to me.
The problem was that everytime I set out to write the story, it grew. I couldn't simply start with the Christmas story because the fact that he sacrificed his own two sons to keep Jerusalem stable seemed key to understanding his perspective on the massacre of the innocents in Bethlehem. But to really comprehend his motives for killing his own sons you had to see what the two Hasmonean brothers did to Palestine, feuding for the kingdom until there was almost nothing left.
I believe Herod was loyal to the Jews, building their economy until it was stable and even robust. He was also a practicing Jew- not simply a Samaritan as some say. To understand that you have to be told about the short missionary phase of the Jewish population where his father was converted. So converted that he had a Jewish prophet come pray for his army before going to battle, a plan that backfired.
You also should understand that Herod's father was poisoned by treachery, his brother committed suicide rather than be mutilated and tortured in the Hasmoneon feud. Finally, Herod married the grandaughter of one of the brothers, thus uniting the kingdom. Oh, and it was Herod that brought the Romans in... one of the reasons his people hated him.
But he also brought the Olympic to Galillee, built palaces, courtyards and the TEMPLE.
As I studied, I realized that my original plan wasn't going to work and now I've got a six book series which may never see the light of day, but I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get started.
I guess I'm glad I waited. Like bread dough the idea just need time to rise to its proper height. Wish me luck.