Welcome, Marietta. What is your new novel about?
The Gnostic Keepers is about the preservation of the Gnostic Gospels. These are gospels that do not appear in the Christian bible and are also called the Apocrypha, which means of dubious or doubtful origin. All of the books in the current Christian bible, were officially canonized in the Third Council of Carthage, in 397 A.D. and are regarded as divinely inspired. In this council, a list was read, as to what works were inspired by Christ and all other books were to be gathered and burned. Anyone caught reading these forbidden books, were deemed heretics subject to persecution. The task of preserving the gospels is given to seven monks, by the Archangels Uriel, Michael and Gabriel. The monks face many challenges taking on this holy quest, with the church and its quest to burn all the books and the demon Azazel, who also wants all the books destroyed. The book begins in the 4th century and spans across a time period of 500 years.
Who is your most likable character?
My favorite character is Virgil the poet, author of The Aeneid. In the Gnostic Keepers, he plays a similar role, which he had in Dante’s Inferno. The difference is, that in addition to being allowed in Purgatory and Hell, he is also allowed to travel in Heaven. He is the official liaison between the three places. Virgil is a shrewd character, whose power comes from his knowledge of politics and having people owe him favors.
What about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Since the span of the book is over 500 years, there are many fascinating periods of history included, such as the Huns, Vikings, and there is even the very bizarre corpse trial of a former Pope.
Is there a message in your writing that you want readers to grasp?
The importance of knowing your religions history and how it came into being. To look beyond dogma and strict literal interpretations, to what you think the real message is or ought to be.
What challenges did you face writing the book?
As a person without any religious affiliation, I didn’t want to approach the novel in a way, that seemed as if I was negating, dismissing or satirizing spiritual beliefs, because that automatically puts people off and they are reluctant to read what you have to say. Instead, I took an approach using nuanced and light-hearted humor, to separate the inconsequential from the more salient points.
What do you like to read?
What is your favorite genre? I like reading satire and absurdism and the idea that we search for meaning in absurd conditions and random occurrences. My favorite absurdist writers are Albert Camus, George Orwell, Joseph Heller, Samuel Beckett, John Kennedy Toole, Tom Stoppard, Ralph Ellison, and most especially Kurt Vonnegut. I also like post-apocalyptic novels like, On the Road, by Cormac McCarthy and I thought In Watermelon Sugar, by Richard Brautigan was phenomenal.
How have you marketed and promoted your work?
I promote my work through Twitter, Goodreads and my blog, The Mordant Scribe.
Have you written any other books?
Yes, The Bill, a political satire and Looney Bin Incorporated a social satire.
Describe your writing in three words.
Non compos mentis.
If you could have lunch with one person, real or fictitious, who would it be?
I would love to have lunch with Jack Kerouac and ask him all about his road-trip adventures and train hopping across the United States.
Who designed your cover?
The cover concept and design was done by Aaron A. Alvarez, a very talented artist, who draws for the online comic theobscuregentlemen.com and he’s also content creator for thedad.com.
Where can people learn more about your books?
Thank you, Marietta. Best of luck with your new book!