Hi all, thought I’d do a little question and answer session about Divinity. Some of these were questions that people have asked me over time in working with the book, others are just questions that I know some people are wondering, or may ask after reading, so I thought I’d get them out of the way now. If I miss any though, please feel free to leave a comment, I’m always happy to respond to my readers!
Q: If you had to categorize the book, how would you?
A: Historical Fantasy. I think it fits almost perfectly there.
Q: How long have you been working on Divinity.
A: A LONG TIME! I’m not kidding… I think I was still in College when I wrote the initial draft… it was about 60k words and not very good at that point, and back then, the title layout was going to be more like Magnifica, which I decided against this time around.
Q: Where did you get the idea to write about Divinity?
A: It basically came to me after writing several flop short stories and fan fictions. I took a few subjects that I knew a lot about and molded a story around them. However, the initial ground work for the story came from two places; The music I listen to, and the teaching of my High School Religious ed teacher, Dr. Pirozzi. His teachings about belief vs. mythology vs. reality was key in creating the central story.
Q: What is the central themes
A: Do I have to choose just one? Well, there’s more… Forbidden Romance, overcoming adversity, faith, and challenging one’s own worldview.
Q: You seem to be very highly critical of organized religion and blind faith… are you an atheist?
A: NO!!! Far from it. I’m a catholic. I attended catholic school and even taught religious education for a few years to middle school kids. I want to make it clear that I believe in God and follow the teachings of my church. That having been said, I’ve always felt that questioning one’s beliefs, the wisdom of our leaders, and taking a close look at the writings and rules of a religion is a very healthy thing. Blind faith with no reasoning can be a very dangerous thing as history has shown us over and over. Asking questions isn’t a sin and should be encouraged.
Q: Are any of your characters fictional based on people you know.
A: There are historical characters based on real people, but as to whether or not I based any of the fictional characters on anyone I know… ummm… no comment.
Q: Are you planning on writing a sequel to Divinity?
A: Shhhhh!!! 😉
Q: What was the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome in your writing?
A: Well… being a slightly above amateur historian… I’m a stickler for historical accuracy. I know how that must sound, given the fictional premise of the story, but even in fiction, there should be fact, especially if you’re writing about people and places that actually existed. Let me give you an example… take Pearl Harbor… watch the battle scene…
I could spend all day going through the inaccuracies of this scene… but I’d like to point out one glaring one that always vexed me. Go to the end of the video where the heroine is running away from gunfire as the Japanese peppered the hospital… IT NEVER HAPPENED! It was reported by American and Japanese News sources alike, as well as witnesses on both sides that the Japanese NEVER FIRED on the hospital. Sure, some stray shots may have hit the hospital during the battle, that’s expected, but this portrays the Japanese not just as aggressors, but cold-hearted killers. Even though it’s historically documented that even when the Japanese had a clear shot, they would not fire on the hospital.
To me, that’s a serious crime and a disgrace. If you want to come up with a completely fictional story that’s fine, but when you write a story around fictional characters and then give the impression that the events around them actually happened, it’s a different ball game. So to answer the question, the hardest part was making sure that I did not make the same mistake. I had to carefully research the historical figures that I was using in my story to get as close to accurate as I could… but given that a lot of these characters lived over 500 years ago, there really isn’t much on many of them, so a lot of their personalities are based on my own opinions and research.
So in the end, the biggest hurdle that I had to overcome was creating the story in a way that it could happen without altering history. That’s right, as far as the reader is concerned, what I wrote should be historically possible.
Q: Where did you come up with your characters’ names?
A: I’ve gotten a lot of praise for using very distinct character names and I’m proud of that. I research the names of people, not only by country, but by region and came up with my cast that way. For the Angels, that was a bit more complicated. If you’ll notice in most texts regarding angels, their names almost always end in either ‘iel’ (Gabriel, Uriel, Jophiel), ‘lyn’ (Roselyn), or ‘ael’ (Michael, Amael, Samael) with a few exceptions (Lucifer, Layla, Xaphan). So I basically took the names that already existed and used them to create new ones like Adalyn.