Author Stephen Morris Interview and $30.00 Amazon Gift Card Contest LIVE Here!

Come Hell or High Water, Part 2: Rising by Stephen MorrisBBB: Tell us 3 things not in your bio we don’t know about you that might make us leery of befriending you. LOL

SM: Only three things?! Hmmm… Let me think. First, I hate the beach! The sand, the water, the sun, the whole package! Secondly, I dislike nature in general. I grew up in Seattle and I could hardly wait to get away from the mountains, Puget Sound, the trees, and all the “wild things.” I much prefer cities! Central Park is wild enough for me – lots of trees and rocks and streams and then I can walk across the street and get back on the subway. Of course, it’s anathema for someone from Seattle to say this, but the first time I stepped up out of Grand Central and looked around 42nd Street, I said, “This is Home! This is what a city is SUPPOSED to be like!” Thirdly, people at my “day job” have compared me to Dr. House: not that I look anything like Hugh Laurie but I can be disdainful and dismissive and uncooperative with anyone who disagrees with me! My partner went to Disney World and brought me back a Grumpy the Dwarf shirt because it encapsulated my personality PERFECTLY! HMPH!

BBB: What actors would you choose to play some of your characters if your book were made into a movie or a TV show?

SM: I have been thinking about this for a while! I have the first scene of the movie clearly in mind, as the camera pans along the Vltava river valley and then comes in close over the Prague skyline and then comes in even closer to the Old Town Square just a mob erupts from a side street next to the Astronomical Clock and hustles Fen’ka to the stake awaiting her in the midst of the square. But the actors who would play the roles? I think George would be played by Victor Garber or Alan Rickman. Magdalena could be Michelle Williams and Elizabeth would be Olivia Wilde. I think Fr. Dmitri would be Sean Griffiths or Tom Wilksinson.

BBB: How do you keep track of your world building?

SM: For the COME HELL OR HIGH WATER trilogy, I replicated a calendar from August 2002 so I could make notes on it of what happens on which day, including both real-life events (like the stages of the Prague flood) that are brought into the story as well as the fictional events the characters act out. I also made a chart of the modern academic characters in the books so that I could keep track as they developed — which colleges they are each affiliated with, their subject specialties, hair color, etc!

BBB: Please tell us more about Come Hell or High Water, Part 2: Rising and the storyline that drives it.

SM: Magdalena is convinced that she is helping right the wrongs of centuries and clear Fen’ka’s name but she is clearly out of her depth and dealing with much more sophisticated, ancient powers that have other agendas. She works with George and Elizabeth without realizing that she is helping them unleash the full power of Fen’ka’s dying curse against Prague. There are academics in Prague for a conference, experts in magic and evil and the supernatural, who realize the danger the city faces and they struggle to keep one step ahead of George and Elizabeth – not always successfully!

BBB: How many more books there be in this world?

SM: I have several planned! There are the 3 books in the COME HELL OR HIGH WATER trilogy and then another 6 that I have sketched out. I do not anticipate that any of them will be trilogies or multi-volume stories but I have begun working on 3 of the next books and have titles for at least 5 of the 6 to come.

BBB: Did you do any kind of research to determine the details of your characters lives / lifestyles?

SM: Some of the research is simply the result of living and observing and keeping a careful eye on the kinds of people or personalities drawn to certain occupations or situations. But some of the research involves a lot of time with books and articles or interviewing people who know more than I do about some places or people or characters. I often have to make research trips not just to the library but to Europe, as well! For instance, I spent a week in Waterford (southeast Ireland) so I could get all the details about the Dearg-due, a Waterford “native” so-to-speak.

BBB: Are you a plotser or a panster? or a Planster (a combo of both – lol)

SM: I like the “planster” designation! I think I am a combination of both “plotser” and “punster” approaches. I always begin with at least a broad outline of the plot in mind and then start writing. Some chapters are much more carefully plotted while others just kind of happen as I write them. I had to be very careful in Part 3 of the COME HELL OR HIGH WATER trilogy because the flood that nearly washed away Prague in August 2002 is an important event in the book and I had to be very aware of the weather and what parts of the city closed at what time, etc.

BBB: What types of creatures can readers expect in your world?

SM: I always do a lot of research and bring creatures or characters from traditional folklore into the world I create. That’s why the troll under the Charles Bridge is a giant-goddess rather than a grumpy old male dwarf, because trolls in the oldest stories are large semi-divine female figures but modern retellings of troll stories make them into something else. I always like the lesser-known characters as well, like the Dearg-due from Waterford, Ireland. I have an upcoming book that features an Estonian werewolf: a werewolf who is known as such to his neighbors and who can fly because his role in the village is to fight the terrible storms in the sky that could destroy the fields and livelihoods of the villagers.

BBB: What’s coming up for you in 2012 and 2013?

SM: I am not only working on editing Part 3 of the trilogy but I have 5-6 more books in the series sketched out, as I said earlier. I anticipate working on these books — and I will be able to retire from my “day job” this summer so I will be able to write and research full-time thereafter! I’ve already planned a research trip for next September!

Books in the Come Hell or High Water series in the order they should be read:
Come Hell or High Water, Part 1: Wellspring
Come Hell or High Water, Part 2: Rising

Author Bio:
Stephen has degrees in medieval history and theology from Yale and St. Vladmir’s Orthodox Theological Academy. A former priest, he served as the Eastern Orthodox chaplain at Columbia University. His previous academic writing has dealt primarily with Late Antiquity and Byzantine church life. “Come Hell or High Water” is his debut novel.

He is also the Chair of the CORE Executive of Inter-disciplinary.net and organizes annual conferences on aspects of the supernatural, evil and wickedness, and related subjects. It was an I-D.net project that took him to Prague for the first time in 2001 and he immediately fell in love with the city! He has been back many, MANY times!

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Learn more about Stephen Morris below :
Read reviews of the author’s work here.
http://www.comehellorhighwaterprague.com/
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118 comments

  1. Greetings from Hurricane-struck NYC!

  2. Interesting that just as you publish a trilogy called “Come Hell or High Water” just as Hurricane Sandy wreaks havoc on New York and New Jersey. Any thoughts of a sequel in America in 2012?

  3. There is a chance that such a storm could figure in one of the follow-up novels to the COME HELL OR HIGH WATER trilogy. NYC appeared briefly at the beginning of Part 1 of the trilogy and I had thought of having one of the follow-ups also begin in NYC… But the chance to involve a storm of such historic proportions is certainly tempting! Ironic, isn’t it, that Part 2 was released just before the hurricane struck?!

  4. Hi, Elliot! Hi, Victoria!

  5. Is all of the magic real? If so, where did you find the spells?

  6. Yes, all the magic is REAL and authentic! I found it in a variety of sources that I have plundered for information over the years: books about medieval magic, academic articles and essays about various ethnic folk rituals, collections of legends, transcripts of witchcraft accusations and trials, etc. For instance, the Italian folk magic in the chapter about Bartolomeo all came from an article I found in the Columbia University library stacks about Italain occult practices. THe curse that starts the whole trilogy rolling, that Fen’ka screams out from the pyre, is all taken from 9th century Gaul monastic service books that the monks would use to curse nobility who tried to steal monastic lands or encroach on monastic privileges!

  7. I would like to know from readers:

    1. Who is your favorite character from among the academics?

  8. 2. Which academic character would you like to see in a featured role in one of the COME HELL OR HIGH WATER follow-up novels?

  9. 3. Many of the follow-up novels will be in Prague, but not all. At least one will be set in Ireland and another will be set in Salzburg. Is there a city or country you would like to see used as a setting? Why that particular place?

  10. Victoria Bennett-Kante

    Hello! So my question is what first interested you in occult and medieval magic?

  11. Victoria Bennett-Kante

    I want to see George stay involved and I think England or Greece would be great choices. Both have such history!

  12. Omg, I hate the beach too! LOL. I live in California, everyone here is all about getting tan and such but not me. I just get enough for my daily dose of Vitamin D :D Come Hell or High Water sounds interesting, will be checking it out.

    • I know… there is a reason people moved inland and away from the sunny coastal areas thousands of years ago! Bleah!

  13. New Orleans sounds like it could work, between Katrina and all the occult lore there. I’m sure it’s been explored before, but done well…

    • Somewhere we picked up the wooden placard from a voodoo supply shop in New Orleans and it hangs on our living room wall. A few days ago, I checked the address in Google and saw a photoraph of that address: that same location is STILL a voodoo supply store, with only a slightly different name!

  14. I first became interested in the occult and magic when I was very VERY young and saw “The Wizard of Oz” on television for the first and second times. The first time, my mom says I was terrified of the Wicked Witch’s appearance in Munchkin Land amidst smoke and flames and that I ran straight to bed! (I must have been 5 years old or so.) The next year I began watching the movie again and made myself stick with it past the appearance of the Witch and after that — I was hooked! The Wicked Witch of the West became my favorite character because not only is she the most interesting but she is the only one who wields any real power in the story. She became my idol for years and years! (Even just a few days ago, I made a comment on FB about the hurrican wind picking up our house and depositing it atop someone wearing pepermint stripped stockings and glittering red shoes and my cousin responded: “You’ve been chasing those shoes for YEARS!” LoL!)

    • Victoria Bennett-Kante

      Absolutely! When I was in England, you can feel it in the air…there are so many possibilities there! With Greece; because of the old monasteries and maybe even bringing in Mythology with the occult? I think because George is such a strong character, commanding and knowledgeable, he could become very important in future happenings.

  15. Hi, Trix! Hi, Van!

  16. Someone else has suggested using the Arthurian lore of the UK as a basis for one of the novels. I would LOVE to make a eesearch trip to all the Arthurian sites in Wales!

    Greece, esp Northern Greece, has some great material to work with.

    New Orleans is certainly a possibility… I’d have to practice a while to get the accents right!

  17. You’ll love COME HELL OR HIGH WATER, Van. Not a beach in sight!
    :)

    • Victoria Bennett-Kante

      Hey now! I love the beach! If you have a setting in Ireland or England..you’d almost have to include the coast :)

      • Yes, but the coast of Ireland, esp in the southeast, is anything BUT a beach! Dramatic, exciting, and dangerous — yes! But a beach? No way!

  18. You should come visit Germany to scope out possible sites for more book scenes. ;-)

    • I agree — I’m hoping that we can come see you in the fall of 2013! Have you found any particular folklore figures that you’d recommend?

  19. What books are on your nightstand or in your TBR pile right now?

    • Hi, Lisa! I am looking forward to the soon-to-be-released next installment of Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files” and the next in the “Hangman’s Daughter” series as well. I am currently reading Charles Stross’ “Laundry Files” series about the UK Occult Secret Service. I recently finished the “Rivers of London” series by Ben Aaronovitch — which is GREAT! — and found Linda Lafferty’s “Bloodletter’s Daughter” interesting as well.

  20. Just curious how badly your area got hit by Sandy? I have friends in New Jersey, Mass, and Rhode Island that I had to check up on to make sure they were alright.

  21. I plan to take the Evil Conference to Ireland and to Salzburg in various sequels, as well as returning to Prague. Are there other cities/countries that you would like to see the Evil Conference go to, bringing the academics to battle the threats of black magic?

    Oooh you really captured me on Ireland. I always believed Ireland to be magic soaked because of the druids. What about Scotland? Finland? Japan may be interesting or china.

    • Hi, Raonaid! I plan to include Scotland in my research trip next autumn and Finland does have some fascinating folkloric material to work with as well! I’ve already started reading that long Finnish epic saga-poem they have!

      We are in uptown Manhattan so the only thing we have to deal with are the tons of wet leaves on the front steps. Below Times Square was badly damaged — we have 5 people camping out with us until power is restored downtown.

  22. I think my favorite scene was the fire and greedy Frantisek’s attempts to escape. Overall, several colorful characters and some are unexpectedly dispatched early on. And how dare you leave us hanging at the end of Pt. 1, so that we must buy Pt. 2! The scope of this project is immense. When did you start thinking about it? Do you already know how the series will end?

    • Hi, Kevin! In some ways, I started thinking about this when I was in jr. high school — there’s a scene coming in Part 3 that I had already imagined way back then! But it began to take more solid form about 6-7 (maybe 8? egads!) years ago. Yes, I knew how it would end almost from the start — but I tried hard to not let it be too obvious to the readers! (Although I had to seriously rework the ending because the editor and I decided that one of the characters really had to go and deserved a book of his own! Whew!)

  23. Are there other cities/countries that you would like to see the Evil Conference go to, bringing the academics to battle the threats of black magic?

    New Orleans by all means, and possibly Salem, Mass or Philadelphia

  24. Some friends of ours just visited the Grimm brothers childhood home. It’s part of a whole “fairy tale road” with other sites, etc… Sounds rife with possibility, although the whole fairytale thing is getting a bit overdone recently. It has been fun reading your interview here, but I really need to get back to work. I’ll try to check back later!

  25. If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?

    • As I teen, I would have answered, “The Middle Ages!” because I loved — and still do! — the romantic, albeit sanitized, popular version of that period. I was so glad to discover the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) during college, with its motto: “Recreating the Middle Ages… As they should have been, not as they were!”

      But now, I think I’ve grown to appreciate electric lights, indoor plumbing with hot AND cold running water, modern police and fire departments, and all those things I realize were invented for good reason — including computers that keep track of the footnotes when you move paragraphs around in academic writing! So I’ll have to say that I would stay in the time and place I find myself now!

  26. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

    • Hmmm… the thing that scared me or scared someone else? Besides riding a roller coaster or publish these books? Maybe the sacriest thing was getting on the plane to leave Seattle when I was 18 to come east for college. It was the first time I’d flown and everything I had ever seen or experienced lay on the Seattle-side of the boarding gate and absolutely everything on the other side was unknown and unexperienced by me before. Rarely is there such a clear-cut geographic/spatial/emotional demarcation to Before-and-After! I still remember the surreal experience of walking down that boarding tunnel and moving from one world with its set of experiences to another.

      • Victoria Bennett-Kante

        So true! I’ve lived on both sides of the US and the experiences are so different! When you’re writing, do you find that things just happen and surprise even you?

        • Sometimes the characters just won’t do what I want (as Frank L. Baum once complained about the inhabitants of Oz!) and then I have to let them do what they want. Although I try to keep some control over the situation and guide them to the final result I want, sometimes we take a very different route to get there than I had expected. For instance, the chapter about Hans the apprentice thief had to be re-written more than once because the trio of Hans, Dietrich the master thief, and the hexenmeister just had such personalities that they insisted I follow their road map to St. Jakub’s Church instead of mine!

  27. Why did you feel the need to write these books?

    • I always wanted to write but in jr-high and high school I never thought I did dialogue very well and so I concentrated on academic essays and preaching. But after I sold that first short story, I realized that I could write passable dialogue after all! Then when Rob suggested in Prague that I “do something with all of this” (as I describe in the book’s Acknowledgements), it all snapped into place.

      And, there was something on television a few years ago that asked, “What do you want to be now?” and my instantaneous response without thinking was, “Novelist!”

  28. Loved the first part and am super psyched to get the second! And, yes, the title is so appropriate now!

    • Hi, Clay! Who would have ever expected the power of the curse to land on our own doorsteps?! And so quick on the heels of Part 2′s arrival! Almost like a scene out of the Twilight Zone, huh?

  29. What advice do you have for others that might be thinking about writing but uncertain of their skills like you described yourself at first?

    • I would suggest that a person like me read a lot (develop an ear for what sounds right or what sounds like what you want to sound like) and then go ahead and WRITE anyway and then have a few trusted people read it. I never took a writing class but I’ve heard that can be very helpful… both the instructor’s suggestions and the comments of the other students. Practice, pracitce, practice!

  30. Sounds like a great series!

    • Hi, Cheryl! Thank you! Yes, if I do say so myself, it is a great series! Witches, vampires, ghosts + all in a beautiful city like Prague = what’s not to like?!?!?!
      :)

  31. Victoria Bennett-Kante

    Well I am off to get my young one some dinner! Thank you so much, I really enjoyed this and wish you much success!

  32. You had me at “Alan Rickman” LOL

    I adore well-researched and unique fiction, and I look forward to reading your books! Thank you so much for doing this appearance and giveaway!

    Heather

    hafowler at gmail dot com

    • Hi, Heather! Glad to meet another Alan Rickman fan! I hope you earned a few points buying a copy of the book — just the thing to while-away-the-time while waiting for Hurrican damage to be repaired or indulge in travelling across the world and thru time without leaving the comfort of your favorite reading chair!

  33. Hey Stephen, If this question hadn’t been asked yet. What inspired you to write this book?

    • Hi, Jon! Well, I tell the abridged version of the inspiration of the book(s) in the Acknowledgments of each novel — earn points for the contest by buying a copy and read it there! I will say, however, that much of it is the result of a lifetime of intrest in — even fascination with — the supernatural and the occult, tarot cards and witchcraft. All these ingredients were simmering together in a cauldron in the back of my mind for decades and then — when it was ready — the stew poured forth! All it took was for my friend Rob to tip the cauldron by suggesting, “You should do something with everything you know aout medieval religion and magic together with the history of Prague!”

  34. Such an amazing cover!!

    If you could go back and rewrite, would you change anything?

    • Hi, Elie! Thank you for the comment on the cover! Yes, I am really happy about the covers for both Part 1 and Part 2. I think we really captured the core of each book in the images.

      Go back and rewrite? Well, hmmm… if you keep tinkering and polishing, there is always something to improve but then it would never be finished! However, maybe… No! Now that the book is in print, I think that’s a Pandora’s Box better left unopened. As soon as I suggest one thing that might have happened differently, the whole row of dominoes will start cascading down upon us or the sleeve of the story begin to unravel and never stop!

  35. I think it would be interesting to see the story travel to Africa. I am sure there is some interesting history that could time in with magics.

    • Hi, Elie! I answered your question earlier, but for some reason it did not appear as a “reply” but appeared as a distinct comment. Sorry about that! I didn’t want you to think I had missed you — Yes, there is a lot that could be done with the centuries of North African magical practices

  36. Yes, there is a lot that could be done with the centuries of North African magical practices — pagan, Christian, and Islamic.

  37. Hi Stephen,

    I will be on the hunt tomorrow. I love new authors for me.

    Do you generally set one large or many small goals?

    • Hi, Karen! One large goal or many small goals? BOTH! I have the large goal of reaching the end of the book and the big final conflict but there are many smaller chapters/goals to be achieved en route to the conclusion. Much like a mountain climber whose big goal is to reach the summit but that cannot be accomplished without achieving many small goals — overcoming smaller obstacles that block the road to the big one!

  38. What do you do to reward yourself when you reach your goals?

    • How do I reward myself? Depends on my mood — sometimes I have a drink, sometimes I take the evening off, sometimes I plunge right into the next chapter or portion thereof to maintain the momentum!

  39. Do you keep track of random plot bunnies as they pop up or do you let them run free and grow until you need them?

    • I do appreciate random “plot bunnies” that spring up from time to time. For instance, I had thought that the black dog that lurks in the midnight shadows of the Loreto cloister would only make one appearnace (in Part 2) but the academics get themselves into quite a fix (in Part 3) that I wasn’t sure how they would extricate themselves and suddenly – lo, and behold! — the black dog loped onto the stage just when I needed him. Thank goodness!

      There is also an unexpected loose end from the trilogy that — when I realized it — clearly demanded a follow-up novel of its own with at least some, if not all, of the surviving characters of the trilogy making an appearnace. Quite handy, that! Helps keep the series going!
      :)

  40. I would like to see you travel to Spain or South America. They get a little left out when the word academics comes up. There are very bright people everywhere.

    • Spain is a great place for the conference to be placed. I have friends I can stay with in a few different places on the Iberian penninsula as I research the locales and folklore. There are bright people everywhere, I agree. South America is just a bit trickier for me to navigate and stay in long enough to get all the background I need.

  41. Love the use of traditional folklore to draw characters from! How do you decide how much detail is enough when creating your characters?

    • Hi, PC! How much detail is enough? Not a tried-and-true formula for that… I take enough to be sufficient to create the character and there are often conflicting details in the various re-tellings of the tales, so I get to pick and choose the details I like and that seem consistent with each other and with the story I am trying to tell. For instance, tracking down the grave of the Dearg-due in Waterford was a week’s adventure and I was able to use all three versions of the story in the last chapter of Part 2. But often it is simply the oldest layers of the stories that are best to work with because as the versions of the folklore come clser to modernity, they get more Disney-fied and prettied-up and not very useful for my purposes.

  42. Finally! Someone else that hates the beach too! My mom can’t wrap her brain around me hating the beach; I think she’s almost resentful about it.

    • I know, Bethany… Beach people can be crazy! They take a reasonable opinion like ours as if it were a personal rejection of them!

  43. Thanks for the interview! I’m interested in Magdalena’s adventures. And by the way, I have a similar love-hate relationship with nature. ;)

    • Glad to hear it, Lesley! Also, as I told another reader, there are many possibilities for the (northern) Greek folkloric material. Of course, the Greek notion of “pharmacueticals” are the root of many modern notions of “witchcraft,” so in some ways taking the Evil conference battle against black magic to Greece would be like going home!

  44. Regarding the author’s question, I think it would be interesting to see the Evil Conference go to Greece.

  45. Is your books urban fantasy or paranormal romance or call something else?

    • Hi, Stacey! My books are both urban fantasy and historical fantasy — urban, because of the contemporary chapters and historical because of the chapters set in 1356-7. I often call them historical-urban fantasy.

  46. Fascinating subject matter. The research must be incredibly interesting. What’s the most surprising fact that you have unearthed?

    • Mary, it’s hard to single out the most surprising fact but one that was a surprise was the identity of trolls as semi-divine female figures of gigantic proportions rather than the grumpy dwarves we most often assume them to be. Another was both how long a man in Bonifac’s situation might survive but also how quickly he might succomb. Another was the role of Estonian werewolves (to be used in another book) as “good guys” who were known to their neighbors and appeciated for the role they played in the life of the village — not at all the usual image of a werewolf in our culture!

    • I was also fascinated to figure out how long it would take to pickle a Hand of Glory. :)

    • Mary, another surprise was the discrepancy between offical teaching and popular views concerning shapeshifting. The official church proclamation was that if anyone ever were to be actually transformed into an animal, it would be the equivalent to their death as animals were not able to contain human consciousness or soul and thus the soul would be dispatched to Judgement and unable to return to its previous body until Judgement Day. But in the popular tales that were told and re-told, the whole point of the transformation into an animal as a punishment was that the human consciousness would persist and the person would be aware of what was happening to them. The popular view was much more akin to the idea of “transubstantiation,” in which the outer appearance of a thing (its “accidents”) or its inner reality/consciousness (its “substance”) might be transformed and thus its appearance not match its inner reality.

  47. What was your favorite childhood book/series?

    • Dovile, I liked the Edward Eager series of “Half Magic” and “TIme Garden” and the rest, as well as “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Wizard of Oz.” I also really enjoyed “The Diamond in the Window” and “The Swing in the Summerhouse.”

    • How could I omit the “Prydain Chronicles” by Lloyd Alexander?! I read and re-read those books! There is a chapter in the last of the series in which an evil knight confronts Dallben, the elderly enchanter. This chapter always summed up for me what great fantasy is about, both in the events of the encounter and in the description of it.

  48. Have you ever written fan fiction? For what fandom?

    • No, Dovile, I have not written any fan fiction.

    • Well, maybe… in the days before it was known as “fan fiction,” one of the first long stories I wrote (with chapters) in jr-high did use the idea of the tesseract from “Wrinkle in Time” which I adapted to be a timeract to travel thru time. But I did not use any of Madeleine Le’Engle’s characters from “Wrinkle.”

  49. If your mind were a house, what would it look like inside?

  50. I’d like to see the Evil Conference going to Moscow.

    • If my mind were a house, Dovile, I think it would be a flagstone castle that was crammed full of amazing odds-and-ends all jumbled together. And yes, Moscow would be a great place to take the Evil Conference! Much Czech magic is a synthesis of Celtic practice (the original settlets of the Vltava River valley) and Slavic magic (the second major wave of immigrants to settle in the area), so many elements of Slavic magic have already appeared in COME HELL OR HGIH WATER.

  51. Did you start writing stories at an early age?

    • Yes, ELaine, I started telling stories in the grand style of the “oral tradition” in grade school and started writing in late grade school/early jr-high school in Seattle.

  52. To answer your question about favorite character, I especially liked Father Dmitri. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him in part two!

    As the author, is there any character that you particularly enjoyed writing for?

    • Molly, I’m glad to hear that you like Fr. Dmitri. I did enjoy writing his scenes. I also really enjoyed experimenting with each of the 1356-7 chapters, fashioning each to be an almost self-sufficient tale with its own cast of characters and ethnic magic — Italian, Slavic, German, Czech, Gypsy, etc — and trying out various formats (like the mini-mystery of the nuns).

  53. Hi there! What are your thoughts on audiobooks? I didn’t see these listed available in audio, do you think they’d “read”well?

    • I think they would “read” very well as audio books, Joani, and I would be very happy to see them appear in audio format in the (near?) future!

  54. How about taking the evil conference to Mexico?

  55. I’ve been along the southeast coast of Ireland and I have some awesome pics, it’s def not the beach at all! The book sounds really interesting, I’m def going to be checking it out! By the way, is your birthday in the colder months? I swear the people who hate the beach and water seem to have been born in the colder months and vice versa. But your answer could prove me wrong. Wont be the first time! :)

    • My birthday is June 18, Joani, so I’m not sure what that does to your theory! I do really enjoy all four season though — that was one of the aspects of moving to the East Coast I really appreciated: A real winter and summer, although the fall and spring are a bit truncated in Manhattan.

      And setting a book in Mexico? “Never say Never!” is always a good motto.

    • Now that I think of it, June is one of the colder months in the Southern Hemisphere, right? So maybe your theory survives intact!

  56. Thanks for sharing!! And I totally agree on your opinions of nature and the outdoors.

  57. When writing what is your favorite part of the story?

    • We should start an Anti-Beach Union, Donna! We’d have 1,000s of members overnight! :)

      My favorite part of the story to write? Hmmm… That can vary a lot. It is usually the first, opening scene which gets the ball rolling! or it can be a scene that I have mulled over and reworked in my mind over and over again. For instance, I think my favorite scene to write in the trilogy is actually in Part 3 and is a scene I first imagined when I was in jr-high involving the 3 angels Senoi, Sansenoi, and Samangelof.

  58. I loved House’s personality on that show, so if you’re anything like that I see nothing wrong with that. lol I do think it’s funny that you received a grumpy dwarf shirt as a present. I think I might have received the same type of gift since my personality is pretty much the same.

  59. Hi Stephen! Answering your questions as to which my favourite and least favourite characters are, I have to say I tremendously dislike Sean. I know he’s supposed to be one of the good guys, but he’s so smug I can’t help wishing it was him who had been turned into the snake of the medieval bestiary as he truly envies everyone. And of course, George, who is so high and mighty with regard to his power he deserves to be taken down several pegs. As for favourites, I like Dmitri a lot, as well as his wife Sophia, and I think their relationship is not all that reaches the eye. That first tarot reading has left me speculating on what might be hidden. I’m fascinated by Elizabeth (it’s fortunate I’m a girl though, so I’m pretty safe as I’m not a prey):although she’s working with George, who for me is the truly evil character in the novel, she doesn’t strike me as evil (OK, so she has sucked the blood of an innocent guy and eaten his internal organs, which does not qualify as nice. I’ll have to read more to explain this though!

    • Hi, Alexandra! Yes, Sean is a bit difficult, but his heart is close to being in the right place! Dmitri does seem to be becoming people’s favorite. Very interesting to hear that. He & Sophia are a real team! But you like Elizabeth, huh? My, my! Well, one of my later novels (I’m thinking to call it EARTH TO EARTH, ASHES TO ASHES) will be set in Ireland and have more Elizabeth in it. In the Waterford folktales, the Dearg-due is a tragic heroine.

  60. thank you so much for coming, enjoyed your post

  61. I plan to take the Evil Conference to Ireland and to Salzburg in various sequels, as well as returning to Prague. Are there other cities/countries that you would like to see the Evil Conference go to, bringing the academics to battle the threats of black magic?

    - How about Japan and Sidney.

  62. Great interview. Love the cover and look forward to reading it. Thx for the giveaway.

  63. I like your comments regarding the beach and nature in general. I’m not the same way myself but you gotta be you. Enjoy the Grumpy shirt, I’m sure you’re a lovable guy under all that somewhere.

  64. I think Romania would be a natural for the Evil Conference. The birthplace of Vlad Dracul and still rife with superstition today. Lots of places in Eastern Europe fit the bill but this place is special.

    • Carl, Romania is beautiful and could easily become the locale of a meeting of the Evil Conference in the future. It was such a crossroad of influences — Roman, Greek, Slavic, Turkish, etc– it is rife with possibility!

  65. Your book sounds really good. I am always looking for new authors to read. I like nature but more of the stark kind-I live in Arizona and the desert suits me fine.

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