Prepared to Face the Demon

Alan J. Paul
Alan J. Paul Author Interview

Mercy is a fascinating supernatural account of one man’s struggle to overcome his family’s mistakes. What was the inspiration behind this engaging story?

I found it interesting that the Literary Titan reviewer discovered a layer to my story which I didn’t actively intend, but which in retrospect, is apparent to me as well. There is one particular chapter near the beginning of Mercy which addresses the “turmoil, sadness, sickness and death” which had inflicted Anthony’s extended family. The demon is initially attracted to the Napolitano family because of the love which is abundant throughout, but also because Anthony’s grandfather is essentially an evil person at heart, who was ripe for possession. So, in that respect, Anthony’s journey is an attempt to overcome the failings of his family and the tragedies to which they were subjected because of them. Believe it or not, the initial inspiration for the story of Mercy was the stone cross fragment which I saw and photographed outside a small shop in Woodstock, NY. It is the cover of the book. It started me on a game of “What if…?” which eventually became the story of Anthony and the demon and his cosmic connection to a 17th century woman. 

Anthony is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideals that guided his character development?

The character of Anthony is based largely upon me and some of the experiences that I had as a child, as a young man, and, now, as an older man. But he is of course an idealized version of me. I’m not at all sure I would have had the courage and fortitude to deal with a demon for a good portion of my life! His feelings are largely my own, but his problems and solutions, of course, are not. When the central theme of the book eventually became clear to me, that “love reallydoes conquer all,” I needed to make sure that Anthony was not only prepared to face the demon, but equally prepared to face, embrace, and most of all be worthy of, the rare love which would one day come his way. 

I enjoyed the unique take on angels and demons in this book. What were some themes you wanted to explore in your novel?

The primary theme here was tied into the questions, “What exactly is religion?” and “Who exactly is the being we call God?” I guess these questions arose from my own questions about, and struggles with, Catholicism and being raised in the “Italian-American version” of the Catholic Church. Shortly after Anthony meets his mentor/confessor Professor James Gilligan, a former divinity student, he asks him if he still believes in God. Gilligan’s answer to that question is the starting point to Anthony’s defensive posture against the demon. 

What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m currently seven chapters into my next book, which is tentatively titled The Walrus, and is another supernatural mystery tale. The story is essentially an exploration into the possibility that something, or someone, could be inherently both good and evil. I’m hoping to have it available by the end of this year or early 2021.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Anthony Banna remembers the day the demon first came for him. It had been at the age of eight, when his grandfather’s corpse had grabbed him from its coffin, eyes blazing, speaking in a voice that was not his own . . .

Years have passed. The demon comes and goes, never staying away for long, never giving Anthony the normal life he craves. Now a student at Rutgers University, Anthony decides, finally, that enough is enough.

Under the guidance of celebrated academic and demonologist James Gilligan, Anthony begins to delve into the supernatural, eventually discovering among the old, dusty tomes, the story of one Mercedes Engle, a 17th Century Dutch colonist who, legend claimed, had been visited by the Archangel Raphael. Anthony can’t help but wonder: could Mercedes’ descendants still live in New York? Could they hold the key to defeating the demon once and for all?

Mercy is the thrilling, romantic, and sometimes comic tale of an Italian-American boy who, coming at last into adulthood, is forced to face his demons head-on—literally

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on June 7, 2020, in Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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