Thursday, August 16, 2012

Interviewing Author, Declan Finn

I had the pleasure of interviewing Declan Finn, author of It Was Only On Stun! Here's the blurb for his novel:

When Sean A.P. Ryan is hired to protect an actress for a three-day science fiction convention, he figures he's in for a quiet time. But he didn't count on factions from her home country to sent hired killers. This doesn't even count "Middle Earth's Most Wanted Elven Assassin;" he thinks that the actress is really an Elven princess, and will do anything to prove it to her, including murder.

Q:  It Was Only On Stun! is an incredibly fun read. The backdrop is a science fiction convention, so you have all of these dressed-up people from every sci-fi/fantasy fandom, from Star Trek to Harry Potter. The head of security (and main character) is a former stuntman. Then you have Galadren, "Middle Earth's Most Wanted Elven assassin," who takes himself very seriously (and who happens to be my favorite character). So, my question is, did you set out to write parody, poking gentle fun at the genre, or did the novel simply take off and you went with it, enjoying the ride?

DF: The novel took off and left me behind somewhere around page 100 of the original draft (which happens to be about 100 pages longer than the final version).  I didn’t set out to poke fun; much of it happened because I was throwing a non-science fiction fan into the deep end of the pool, and to him, it feels like he’s been thrown through the looking glass. As for the costumes, easily half the people at any convention are dressed to the nines in some heavy-duty outfits.  If you check out my “Sean Ryan” trailer, those are pics from DragonCon, and there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of people dressed in professional-level costuming.  How could I not have my background characters in the same outfits?

Two characters who were the biggest, obvious parodies, just happened.  One was “Morrie, The Jewish Vampire,” who was a little strange, but useful.  Galadren was a later addition– I had been writing a later Sean Ryan novel, and my father casually added a few lines to Sean’s resume about facing “Earth’s Most Wanted Elven Assassin.”  At that moment, I had to rewrite It Was Only On Stun!  Strangely, I’ve been complimented by psychologists on my ability to write for schizoid personalities, and where did I get the training?  When I tell people that I haven’t had any such training, the people asking the questions back away slowly.

Q: You have Catholic characters, as well of characters of other religions. How does your own Catholicism influence your writing?

DF:  It influences my writing in two major ways. It tells me of the existence of evil and the power of redemption. However, unlike “modern” thought, that tells us we have to forgive people automatically with the excuse of the day (either with being “misunderstood” or “s/he’s a victim, too”), redemption requires some level of repentance.  This is why the bad guys are evil, though Galadren is not so quickly condemned. The former are evil, the latter is pure and truly crazy.

There are also other ways Catholicism informs my work, but those are the big ones.

Q: Your main character, Sean Ryan, is Catholic. He's also a very violent guy. He makes a remark about his Rosary doubling as brass knuckles. Would Sean Ryan describe himself as a good man?

DF: If asked, Sean would first say, “Oh, I’m very good.” If you pushed for an honest answer, Sean would say, “Maybe.” On one hand, Sean is often in situations where he needs to survive by any means necessary, if only because he has people to protect. If he could be certain that giving his life would end a threat to someone he’s protecting, he would.  The violence wouldn’t bother him, because much of it he deems “necessary force.”

The “maybe” comes in for those moments when Sean wants to kill someone. There is a darkness in him, as there is in all of us, it’s called original sin (see, there’s that Catholicism again).  For a man who deals in day-to-day violence, Sean’s darkness has more opportunity to act, and go beyond what necessary. As much as he jokes about going to the dark side, he hasn’t yet, and he knows it.

Next to that, the brass knuckle rosary is something he would have no problem with. Sean would actually rationalize it as “God gave His life to save us. I don’t think he’d have a problem helping me save other people.” Though, later, Sean would probably say, “Sorry about that God,” and wash the rosary thoroughly later on. It would be his way of being respectful, while keeping others alive … I never said he wasn’t strange.

(Read the rest of the interview at my other blog, "A Fortnight of Mustard")

It Was Only On Stun! will be available for free for Kindle at Amazon for five days of Labor Day Week (Sunday to Thursday). You can also buy it at Create Space.

AUTHOR BIO:  Declan Finn lives in a part of New York City unreachable by bus or subway.  Who's Who has no record of him, his family, or his education.  He has been trained in hand to hand combat and weapons at the most elite schools in Long Island, and figured out nine ways to kill with a pen when he was only fifteen.  He escaped a free man from Fordham University's PhD program, and has been on the run ever since.  There was a brief incident where he was branded a terrorist, but only a court order can unseal those records, and realloy, why would you want to know? It Was Only On Stun! is his first novel. You can visit him at his website:

1 comment:

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