I have written Cocaine Zombies a while back. As such much of the process of writing it has slipped though my mind, as things tend to do when you get older. Ruler of Demons however is still fresh in my mind. I though I would talk a bit about the process of writing it. I tend to write quickly and than go back and make changes over time.
In Cocaine Zombies the central premise related to the religion and the folklore concerning voodoo. I did do some research on voodoo and tried to be as accurate as possible. At the same time, in the back of my mind, I though that if I failed to be accurate there were few people who actually practice voodoo today.
Don’t get me wrong I realize there are some. I met a woman at the voodoo museum in New Orleans who claimed to be a practitioner of voodoo. In Africa, Haiti, New York and various Caribbean Islands the number of voodoo practitioners could increase to a respectable size.
That being said Ruler of Demons concerns more popular and mainstream religions than voodoo (that is not intended as a slight of voodoo). Mostly Ruler of Demons concerns Catholicism and Judaism yet it does make reference to Islam. As such it seemed disrespectful not to strive for even greater accuracy in my research.
I have seen and read the Exorcist and thus thought Catholicism was a good place to start when it comes to demons. I should note the book by William Peter Blatty is very good and translates well over time. The movie is of course a classic. Although, I started with Catholicism I was surprised at how prevalent demons are in all of the major religions. I took this as a good sign. I wanted to build on a fear that down deep at a subconscious level could cause even a modern civilized person to run screaming into the night.
If one was to take the Bible literally, there are many references to demons. Not demons as metaphors but the real deal. Jesus healed the sick by casting out demons. The old testament and the new share references to demons. The Quran references demons as well.
I wanted a religious sec for the book that existed before the time of Christ. Yet I did not want to go back so far as polytheism. I had heard of a Jewish sect that believed they could bring about the coming of the Messiah by performing acts of evil. That was my starting place. It was not until after I wrote the first draft that I took the next reasonable step. I endeavored to speak with someone who actually knew something about religion.
The religious leader I contacted recommended I read the book Satan in Goray by Isaac Bashevis Singer. The book was written in 1955 but the story took place in the mid sixteen hundreds in a small Jewish village in an area around Poland. Although, prior to reading this book I had not heard of Singer I came to learn he had won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1978.
Satan in Goray if nothing else provided an insight in to how superstitious people were at the time. Demons and ghosts were commonly believed to be real. This concept was very helpful in creating the idea of the mythical sect trying to bring forth the messiah by engaging in human sacrifice.
Although in some ways Ruler of Demons is a battle between good and evil that does not make it black and white. In Cocaine Zombies I wanted there to be an arguable position that mankind would be better off without free will. In Ruler of Demons I wanted there to be an arguable position that mankind would be better off ruled by the Devil.
The main character Sam looks at things with no preconceived notions. He must piece together the impossible and the improbable and try to determine the truth. Sam is not in search of a religion. Unlike R.E.M. he is not loosing his religion either. Sam is detached without historical baggage and is simply trying to save the world and protect his friends. Sam’s occupation as a lawyer and his prior experience make him skeptical of most things but willing to believe anything provided there is sufficient proof.
The point of this book is not to promote or dissuade someone from religion.The point is to entertain and perhaps provided a few chills and laughs at the same time. Unlike Mark Twain I do not seek to banish anyone for searching for a moral in it. On the other hand you might find a moral I did not intend to place there.
Ruler of Demons concerns some fundamental questions as to the nature of mankind. Yet, at the same time the reader can simply enjoy it as a fun frivolous read. If anyone has had actual dealings with ghosts or demons please let me know.