I’m very pleased to be a part of this event. Online book tours are becoming a very popular method of getting the word out about new books. (I’ll be organising one myself soon for RealmShift and MageSign.)
However, this particular tour is all about the book Shadows by Joan De La Haye. Joan is stopping by a variety of blogs, which is what makes it a book tour, talking about all sorts of things relevant to herself and her writing. For her stop here, Joan and I decided to have a conversation about demons. Like you do. We’ve both got a fascination for the subject and thought we’d chat about the different ways that we might percieve them, research them and write about them. Why demons? Well, let’s have a look at Joan’s book, Shadows.
Sarah is forced to the edge of sanity by the ghosts of her family’s past. Suffering from violent and bloody hallucinations, she seeks the help of psychiatrist and friend, Michael Brink.
After being sent to an institution in a catatonic state covered in blood – from stabbing her unfaithful boyfriend – Sarah is forced to confront the truth about her father’s death and the demon, Jack, who caused her father’s suicide and who is now the reason for her horrific hallucinations. Unlike her father, Sarah refuses to kill herself. She bargains for her life and succeeds.
In Sarah’s struggle to regain her life and her sanity, she discovers there is more to the world than she could ever have imagined, and it leaves her seeking the answer to the nagging question, “Who is really mad?”
Intriguing stuff. Here’s the chat we had a few days ago:
Joan De La Haye: Good morning/Afternoon!
Alan Baxter: Howdy! (Joan is in a timezone 8 hours behind mine – it was morning for her and afternoon for me!)
JDLH: So…we both write about demons…why do you find those creepy little suckers so fascinating?
AB: I’m a huge fan of all things mythological and ancient. I love to study ancient history and the development of the mythologies around ancient cultures. Demons are such a tasty morsel in that field!
JDLH: They sure are. I also find that the myths around demons and gods to be quite interesting. And it’s not a field that a lot of writers delve into. These days it’s all about Vampires.
AB: Tell me about it. I was at a Con recently where one of the panels was “Enough vampires already!”
JDLH: There are so many interesting things out in the dark void and I think the demon gets forgotten sometimes and only gets to play bit parts.
AB: Absolutely. And the further back you go, the more interesting they become. The Christians took demons (as they took pretty much everything else from other cultures and mythologies) and made them essentially fallen angels, which is the common perception. But the idea of demons goes way back, to ancient Greece and beyond. Only the Christians really have demons as ultimately evil. In a lot of other cultures, they’re a kind of ghost, not always nasty. And more recently, in Islam, the demon is known as the Jinn and that’s more like the older demons.
JDLH: And in some religious traditions they were fallen gods. In your book, RealmShift, what role does the demon play?
AB: Well, in RealmShift the protagonist Isiah has to follow someone down into Hell. So Isiah calls up a demon and traps him, then impersonates him to gain entry into Hell and get his man. It’s a bit more complicated than that, but I don’t want to spoil the story as there’s probably still one or two people out there that haven’t read it yet. 🙂 Given the Judeo-Christian nature of the story there, that’s the mythology the section is based on. What about in Shadows? The demon in question is Jack, right?
JDLH: We don’t want to give anything away. Yes, Jack is the name that the main character Sarah gives him. He’s a mid level torment demon. I recently wrote a short story for the Wilt Writers website on how Jack became a demon. I will admit that Jack is based purely on my imagination. He just seemed to come alive on the page. But for future books around the Shadows World, The Council members are based on nine of the 72 Goetic Spirits.
AB: Can you explain a bit about the 72 Goetic Spirits?
JDLH: They’re the 72 demons that Solomon imprisoned in a brass vessel and then later escaped. The Goetia is a Grimoire that describes these demons and how to summon them. It’s a very interesting book.
AB: Aleister Crowley was fascinated with the Solomon story and in an introduction to his book of The Goetia he posited that the evocation of demons is actually a kind of psychological self-examination. What do you think of the concept that the demon is actually a facet of the self?
JDLH: I think the psychology behind demons is fascinating. I also think the human mind can come up with all sorts of interesting ways to mess with us and demons could be another way of doing it. I also think it depends on the person’s belief. If they believe that it’s a real entity then it will be real for them.
AB: Absolutely. Belief is a very powerful thing. That’s why we have religion! I like the concept that the belief actually manifests the demon – I use that concept a lot in my writing.
JDLH: Same here. And that belief can manifest in a variety of forms including madness. Madness or the perception of madness is a very strong theme in Shadows.
AB: I like the blurb for your book where it ends with ‘…it leaves her seeking the answer to the nagging question, “Who is really mad?”’ Madness and demons have always walked hand in hand and it begs the question, Which came first?
JDLH: Exactly, and I try and examine that question in Shadows. It’s only the beginning. There is so much material that can be covered just on that question.
AB: To go back to the Christian mythology again, there are a lot of Fundamentalist churches that talk about sin as being an open door to demons; if you sin, you let demons in. This is taking the demons-are-evil approach again. I wonder how much the demon is used as a control tool like that as much as a way to explain madness?
JDLH: That’s also a very interesting question….one I actually hadn’t thought about.
And I’m sure that’s something most people haven’t thought about either.
AB: The demon is really the ultimate boogeyman. And there’s nothing religions like more than threatening you with the boogeyman of choice.
JDLH: Thank you so much for chatting to me, Alan. It’s been a fascinating conversation and I’m sure we’ve left people with a few questions of their own.
AB: No problem. It’s been enlightening. I suggest everyone checks out Shadows (and the Ars Goetia!)
JDLH: And also check out RealmShift!
AB: And the sequel MageSign! Thanks Joan.
You can learn more about Joan and her book at her website or the site of the publisher:
You can buy a copy of Shadows from these places:
Mobipocket – Shadows will be available from Mobipocket with a 35% discount for the duration of the tour.
Follow the rest of Joan’s book tour at these blogs:
4th May – Ruthies Book Review – Interview and Give away
5th May – Pat Bertram on three of her blogs:
Bertram’s Blog – Guest Post about how I feel about Writing & Writing Shadows
Book Marketing Floozy – On starting Rebel e Publishers
Pat Bertram Introduces – Interview with Jack
6th May – Alan Baxter on-line – Discussion about Demons between Alan and me
7th May – Pamela K. Kinney – Interview
8th May – Book Roast – Excerpt and Give away
11th May – Dark Fiction Review – Review of Shadows & Interview
12th May – Gabrielle Faust – Interview
13th May – The Dark Phantom – Interview
14th May – Pop Syndicate – Guest Post
15th May – Marcia Colette – Guest Post – Demons Part 1
17th May – Amberkatze’s Book Blog – Guest Post – Demons – Part 2
18th May – Angel Leigh McCoy – Before, middle and end of the editing process.