Thursday, February 24, 2011

Interview with author David H. Burton

I had the pleasure of interviewing author David H. Burton. His book The Second Coming was an awesome read; you can check out my review here. Keep reading to find out more about this fantastic author and his writing...

***WARNING: THIS INTERVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS***

FR: The Second Coming involves many interesting creatures, which is your favorite to write? Was this a creature you researched from myths or developed on your own?

DB: Hmm. I would say it’s a split between the Firstborn and the Lastborn. When I originally wrote this book, the Firstborn started off more like Tolkien’s elves. I quickly realized they’d be much more interesting as cruel overlords. They abhor all species except their own, thinking the Earth should belong to them. The Lastborn, being their mortal enemies, were fun to come up with, especially in their creation. Spoiler alert! - The Firstborn don’t tend to mix with other races, but sexual urges being what they are, humans are seen as sexual conquests or as ‘exotic’. The resulting half-breed of such a pairing is either a hideous freak or the reverse – a creature of incredible beauty called a Nymph. The Lastborn are the result of the freaks mating. They’re grand, beautiful, and twice as strong as the Firstborn. And as with a lot of the beings in this world, they’re flawed in a lot of ways. Some good, most not so – and they have selfish motives. There’s not a whole lot of nice in this series. As for research, these guys more or less came out of my head. :)

FR: One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was the departure from mainstream-Christian apocalyptic writing. What inspired your approach to writing The Second Coming so differently?

DB: LOL! Well, I kind of look at this as the antithesis to the Left Behind series. Not that it was intended that way, but it’s quite antagonistic in its message. I bring back the Old Testament God – he’s jealous, bloodthirsty, ruthless, and nasty. And when the prophesied Second Coming arrives, nothing is what we expect.

I grew up originally as a Jehovah Witness and then as a born again Christian. The religion never sat right with me – particularly the fire and brimstone God that wiped out entire races. I never bought into such a hateful deity, so writing this was cathartic in a lot of ways. I decided to use this being that I’d grown up to fear and use biblical scripture to create a fantasy story around it. Quite frankly, it wasn’t all that hard.

FR: Share with us one of your favorite quotes or scenes from The Second Coming.


DB: This is one of my very favorite scenes. It’s when Friar John has to sacrifice a soul in order to fulfill a bargain with a ghoul. In it, as he prepares himself to kill, he cites passages from the Book of Revelation.

*****

John strode to the edge of the city, marching through its cobbled streets.


The place stunk. It wasn’t just the city. It was the land. It smelled of stagnation and refuse.


Heated blood coursed through his veins. In the commercial part of the city, the area where the rich Barons sold their wares, he found the place where he could whet his blades. He aimed for the one that had older stones and sold his services to the less fortunate. A man like that, in the interest of making money, would keep his fat trap shut and not question the sorts of devices that John required to be sharpened.


And it was as expected. The near toothless lout did just that with no word or look at what sort of man would carry such diabolical devices. And he smelled as bad as the land.


John then set out for the crossroads of need and insatiable desire. Along its rubbish-strewn streets, he eyed a young man, dressed in enough rags to barely cover areas that most would consider private. At the other end was a woman garbed in much the same.


The sun caught her stark-red hair and John knew exactly which path to take.


He walked to the entrance of an alleyway and motioned for his victim to join him. He gave a coy smile, one that alluded to a desire other than what he intended. With his newly sharpened tools, he waited with patience and a different form of desire set in his eyes — one that would rid himself of any softness.


He thought of the book of Revelation as he waited.


I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.


With every step she took towards him he thought of his chances for redemption, lost.


With every footfall, he contemplated the challenge before him and immersed his heart and mind in a sea of darkness he thought he had long abandoned.


Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.


His skills were old, unhoned, and required practice.


The cold blades in his hands slid against each other, a clean and deliberate slice. His ears delighted in their slow grating.


And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.


His victim sauntered towards him, a stride of those that have practiced this profession well. She was a half-breed; and the part of her that was Naiad had taken control. Her yearning was ravenous; her footsteps intense.


She drew near.


Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.


She stood before him and exposed her white flesh. She waited for his hunger, and he gave it to her with all his might. The blades pierced her, in a place that suppressed her scream.


And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.


The scarlet hair spilled over his arm and John trapped her soul in the crude ceramic urn he had purchased in the market. It was set with a spell and sigils to house souls. John left her body in the alley as well as his outer robe. It was stained crimson.


He strode into the street, making for the edge of the city and then hummed a few bars of Ave Maria.


It somehow brought him comfort.


*****

FR: What's next in the Words of the Prophesy series?

DB: The next book is tentatively titled, The Blood of Isis. It follows the story of Paine, Brahm, and Friar John as they cross the ocean. Paine seeks out his sister for revenge, in addition to needing the services of an ancient goddess who once raised a lover from the dead. He wants to bring back Diarmuid. A pregnant Brahm flees from the Valbain with Sephirah still living within her body – Lya has sent orders for Brahm’s death. And as Paine seems to head down a darker path, Friar John struggles with killing the boy he inadvertently fathered.

FR: You have a new book, Broken, coming out this spring, can you give as a "sneak peek"?

DB: Ah, yes, Broken. I should have this out in Spring of this year and this is about as sneak-a-peek I can give you at the moment, the first few words:

*****

A letter came by registered mail.

It was from my mother.

She’s been dead for three months.

*****

I know that’s not much to go on, but here’s the blurb:

Three months after her death, Katherine Gregory receives a letter from her deceased mother.

It reveals a family curse in which the firstborn child in every generation will die in their twenty-fifth year. Battling visions of fey creatures and coping with a past that has left her scarred, Katherine must find the desire within her to fight for her life. And with three days left until her birthday, she must unravel the mystery behind this faery curse – for any day after could be her last.

FR: What is currently on your "to-read" list?

DB: Reading is a bit of a challenge these days. I’m trying to get 3 books out this year, not including a non-fiction work that’s running through my head about our adoption story (my same-sex partner and I adopted three boys, brothers, three years ago – it’s been a huge adventure.). So if I had to tell you about my TBR, which will take me forever to get to, the books would likely include:
  • Scott Nicholson’s The Red Church
  • Sanderson/Jordan’s Towers of Midnight
  • Michael J. Sullivan’s The Crown Conspiracy
  • Peter V. Brett’s The Warded Man
  • Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
  • Robert J. Sawyer’s WW:Watch
FR: Thanks, David for sharing with us!!

DB: Thanks so much for the wonderful review and for the interview, I really appreciate it!!!!

*****
You can also check out the trailer for The Second Coming:

2 comments:

Kendra said...

Great interview, Julie! This author will definitely be added to my TBR list.

David H. Burton said...

Thanks so much for having me, Julie!!!