I got a bit gaga over Robert Browne’s THE PARADISE PROPHECY so I asked if he’d want to stop by and say a few words about it. He’s a super busy guy but he was able to answer a few questions about his book that I fired over to him. Yay! So here you go and enjoy! Thanks for stopping by, Rob!
Why was Paradise Lost such a central force in your story? Was it because it’s untapped water in the genre or are there really rumors of a hidden code and secret organization?
The idea to use Paradise Lost came out of discussions with Dutton about who would be the ultimate villains, and the fallen angels from Milton’s classic seemed to fit the bill. From there it was a matter of figuring out how to integrate these villains into a modern-day thriller and The Paradise Prophecy was born. The hidden code in Paradise Lost and secret organization is pure invention, I’m afraid, but the history of the Devil’s Bible (including the missing pages) and Steganography are very much real, as well as Milton’s visit to Galileo (although no one really knows what transpired between them) and most of the historical details surrounding the story.
A few readers have expressed some displeasure, but others who are religious have accepted that the book is fiction and have given me good reviews in spite of that displeasure. I respect everyone’s right to believe what they want to believe, but I take the attitude that no one really knows the truth about ANY religion—they only have faith to rely on—and I see nothing wrong with presenting a version of events that I feel is just as plausible as any other. As LaLaurie says at one point, the events in Paradise transcend all religious beliefs. The book isn’t really about religion, but about the choices we have as human beings to do the right thing, no matter what we may personally believe. In this case, Sebastian LaLaurie is faced with a very difficult choice and I wanted to explore his emotional journey—as well as Callahan’s. I’m not particularly religious myself, but I find religion and its trappings to be endlessly fascinating and a wonderful backdrop for the story of two people struggling to make the world right again.
Which of your characters is your favorite and why?
They’re like my children, so I love them both equally, but in different ways. Batty is such a tortured soul who has gone through a devastating loss and I feel for him. The moment in the crypt—which I don’t want to spoil here—when he makes contact with his past, brought tears to my eyes as I wrote it. As for Callahan, I love that she’s a strong woman who doesn’t take any bullshit from anyone, despite her own inner conflicts. It was pretty tough to say goodbye to both of them, so it’s quite possible I’ll have to visit them again.
Thanks for the questions, Donna!