Friday, June 30, 2006

Answering the Charges of Anti-Catholicism

A reviewer on posted this:

"First of all, why hasn't anyone mentioned the SEVERE anti-Catholic viewpoint in this book? And don't get me wrong, I'm not Catholic, I'm not even Christian, and I certainly don't mind a good Church bashing on occasion when done appropriately, and I absolutely love a good vampire and/or witch story, but I was STILL offended on behalf of all Catholics. Hallaway created a world wherein the Vatican runs a hit squad of witch killers. Once they identify you, they murder you, viciously, in cold blood. The Church was depicted as hypocritical (using their own witches in order to kill other witches), insane (psychotic obsessive witch killers showing absolutely no intelligence - just passion for murder), and full blown evil (attempting to create a race of master, day-walking vampires in order to continue killing all witches - and likely all other vampires and probably a few humans who just don't like the Church). If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say Tate was either a lapsed Catholic with a personal vendetta against the Church, or someone who stopped reading history at the Inquisition - and didn't pay much attention to the facts even at that. I don't mean to come across sounding like a Catholic apologist, but come on! Her depiction of the Church was so vindictive, it made me what her real agenda was.

My only real agenda ever is to write a ripping good yarn. Honest.

That being said, I don't want to dismiss the concerns this reader has for the biases she's perceived in my book. I will say that she's absolutely correct that I made the Vatican the villains in Tall, Dark & Dead. Another reader (on LiveJournal, not on pointed out, and correctly so, that I also had my Vatican agents misusing Last Rites.

If Doctor Freud could get his hands on me, he'd probably decide that I do have some kind of deep-seated issue with Catholics. All my writing, even that in my much-referred to alternate life, has some passing reference to Catholics or Catholicism. My extended family are all Catholic. I grew up in a small Wisconsin town dominated by German and Irish Catholics. I went to three years of a Catholic grade school. Both of my parents are lapsed Catholics (for the record, I, however, am a lapsed Unitarian.)

None of this, however, has made me a Catholic-hater (at least outside of my fiction. Clearly something is going on in the subconscious of which I should try to be more aware of in future books.) In the alternate-me books, I worked very hard at not having any anti-relgious overtones, and am happy to count priests (both active and ex) in my fan base. Admittedly I wrote this book a lot quicker.

My reasons for making the Vatican the villains in TD&D had much more to do with the contemporary fantasy feel I wanted the book to have. And it probably does reveal something dark and ugly about me that when I asked myself, "Who, in this day in age, is most likely to have an organization devoted to stamping out witchcraft?" I answered, "I know, how about the people who brought us the Inquisition?" You know, thinking about it, perhaps I should have chosen a more fundamentalist religious sect – the sort who are still actively burning books, etc. – but I made those folks the villains in my last set of books (and talk about something I need to GET OVER.)

Plus, despite what the reviewer implied, I actually like the history of the Catholic church (about which I've read extensively while doing research for my other-me's books). Church history is so fascinating and rich, and full of heretics and dissenters. Perhaps, however, I am a victim of the Catholic mystic. The same misunderstanding of modern Catholicism that has people, by the droves, willing to believe that the Vatican is actively trying to take out Dan Brown's hero for uncovering "truth" about Mary Magdalene. People who can see Illuminati-level conspiracy in the bureaucracy of the Catholic church, simply because it's so ancient and so big.

I don't want to be one of those people.

While I can't fix the problem in TD&D, I (*knocking on wood*) will have the opportunity to correct it in following books. In the proposal for the third Garnet Lacey book I have Matyas and his mother returning (after a somewhat successful exorcism). Matyas has a close working relationship with the Order of Eustace, and I can use him to correct Garnet's assumptions about the witch hunters. Keeping in mind that all of the information about the Order comes directly from Garnet, I can have Matyas tell her, for instance, that, despite what she's heard and what she believes, the Order isn't officially under the aegis of the Vatican and, in fact, may be a splinter group of heretics who still consider themselves Catholic, but who are not. That way their insane evilness makes more sense. I can write in any number of ways for them to get their funding, etc., which could help distance their evilness from modern Catholicism.

Because I do want to fix this perception. It's most certainly too late to make things up to the angry reviewer, but, my mother always told me, it's never too late to try to do the right (write) thing.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

My Two Favorite Words in the English Language...

..."THE END"

Yes, this means I finished last night. Now all I have to do before sending the sucker in is some polishing.

A great big huge sigh of relief.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Home Stretch... and Fun News

I have one more scene to write, then I'm done. Part of the reason this process at the end has been so slow is that I'm also doing some revisions at the same time. It's a strange thing, but despite having written several books now, I still am very anal about sending in the best product I possibly can. It's my job, you know? More than that it's my career -- my vocation.

Fun News... Tall, Dark & Dead has gone into a second printing. Never in all my life has this happened for me. To say I am thrilled would be an understatement.

Also... my editor emailed me this yesterday: "We talked about the cover for DEAD SEXY today. The publisher really praised the cover of TALL, DARK & DEAD and said we wanted a similiar look for this one. The scene we chose is the one where Garnet is taking a ritual bath in preparation for casting the love spell, Barney [the cat] glaring at her. Everyone was very enthusiastic about this idea!"

As am I... It sounds really cute!

Back to writing! And stop bugging me, Rick! [BIG TEASE] Oh, and Rick, your buddies in Iraq have been sending my alternate persona a lot of fan mail! Thanks for sending those books. I may not be into our reasons for being there, but it's fairly awesome to get "UNCLASSIFIED" email from the International Zone.