Declan Finn, author of A Pius Legacy, is visiting my blog today as part of his Virtual Book Tour. Welcome, Declan!
The description for A Pius Man says that it slips in history in between the gunshots. Care to elaborate, and how that will affect A Pius Legacy?
I’m a nerd – a history and philosophy nerd, amongst others. I’ve got degrees in both of them because I thought both of them were fun. And since this is a mystery at the Vatican, it has to be seeped in both. There is no other place on the planet where a city is practically drowning in history and philosophy practically.
As for A Pius Legacy – APM focused more on historical questions about the Catholic church. I stuffed in everything from Galileo to Newton and the Inquisition. Legacy will focus more on the recent church, and current topics. I try to be “fair” about the arguments presented, but I’m not always sure I have it down.
Are you shooting for the Da Vinci Code?
Actually, I’m shooting for the anti-Da Vinci Code – not only is my book using actual history that I can footnote (seriously, the first draft had footnotes), these books are actually entertaining. At no point will my characters spend 100 pages just getting out of an art museum like the Louvre. I’m not shooting for Dan Brown, more like shooting at Dan Brown.
So you’d say being Catholic helped you with writing A Pius Legacy?
Yup. It gave me a starting point—a perspective and a body of knowledge other people don’t have. I’ve come to realize just how many people outside of Catholicism – and sometimes within Catholicism – have no idea what the Church preaches, or believes, or even how the logic works. Ask anyone on the street, nine times out of ten you might get a vague mention of “the rhythm method,” and being against contraception, but if you asked them why, I can only imagine what sort of answer you’d get. The proper answer should include a phrase called natural law. If you don’t know about natural law, you should probably pick up A Pius Man as well as A Pius Legacy.
Some writers outline. Some writers make stories up as they go along. Some even get bored when they figure out who the killer is. How does your writing process work?
The Pius Trilogy was actually the first novel I had to outline – I say it is one novel because it started out as one – a long, unwieldy novel. There were so many directions, with so many clues, coming from so many directions, I had to keep track of it. Thankfully, the books are mostly self-contained. A Pius Man came to a definitive conclusion … and then there’s the morning after.
What is most difficult in writing a story like this?
For me, the biggest challenge was keeping out just how many facts there are to stick into a story like this. As a history nerd, I originally had pages upon pages of historical exposition and conversations. So I had to do a lot of cutting … and some drafts had cut out far, far too much. And, then, you have to balance out blathering on about history and philosophy, and then the gunplay. I’m not sure how well A Pius Man balanced the words-to-shooting ratio, though I’m relatively certain it’s calmer in this one.
What, if anything, surprised you while working on A Pius Man?
I didn’t expect it to turn into a trilogy. I figured I’d have a good, solid novel, and move on. Then there was one character who wouldn’t die, and he kept extending the plot. And then there was a small war by book three. So that was fun.
Thank you, Declan Finn, for visiting my blog!!