Congratulations to Declan Finn on the release of Live and Let Bite (Love at First Bite Book 3). In honor of the feat, he’s agreed to share his thoughts on writing… and a question most writers face… Why?
Usually, when people tell me “I want to be a writer,” I tell them, “Turn back now.” When people tell me “I have to be a writer,” I tell them to go on full speed ahead, because there’s really no other way to do it.
Why do we write?
The honest answer to the question is that I have to write. I have to. Must. I am obligated to write. Call it compulsive. Call it obsessive. But I have annoying people in my head talking to me, urging me to write stuff down … if you don’t understand it, you must not be a writer. There’s a reason I call being a writer legalized schizophrenia.
Usually, when people tell me “I want to be a writer,” I tell them, “Turn back now.” When people tell me “I have to be a writer,” I tell them to go on full speed ahead because there’s really no other way to do it.
To be perfectly honest, people who want to be writers don’t know what they’re in for. People who have to be writers don’t have any other choice in the matter, so much as well lean into it and charge ahead at full speed.
On the one end, you could say that writer’s are playing God. Technically, we are. We’ve created worlds, people, history of a planet – even if it’s just the fictional background of characters. On the other hand, as Dorothy Lee Sayers brought up in The Mind of the Maker, being god of your own little world isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. After a while, the characters will start making decisions on their own. Which helps me, because I’m lazy and I don’t outline, so I just let them run rampant all over the place.
Some people write to entertain, which is probably the best way to go about it. Some people want to slip a message in there to go along with it, which is fine, as long as they keep the story going. Personally, any message I slip in comes from my own point of view. I am a monotheist, Thomistic philosopher. I have certain ideas of how the world worlds. I see things from a certain point of view.
Take, for example, my Love at First Bite series. There’s one character who believes themselves a blood-thirsty monster, even though they’ve only ever killed someone in self-defense. We have another one who is a vampire, and working on redemption….Yes, a contrite vampire. Because why not?
What happens when “the blood-thirsty monster” enjoys killing … but only does it when the life of self or others is at stake? Is that person evil because they enjoyed doing what was necessary? Especially if the intent is to save lives, but the enjoyment was a side benefit?
If your answer is “Yes, X person is evil,” then you must also condemn Winston Churchill and George Washington who remarked on the thrill of “being shot at without effect.” Does that means every soldier who has ever done a victory party that they survived a shootout must be evil because they’re happy to have survived while the ones trying to kill them didn’t?
If your answer is “No, this person isn’t pure evil, because his actions were good, but his thoughts are impure,” then that might be closer to the truth.
The first person who is pure may step up and throw the first rock.
As a Catholic, our catechism tells us that God made us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, so we can live with Him forever in Heaven in the next.
But we all know God in different ways. Thomas Aquinas knew God through reason. Francis of Assisi knew Him through nature.
And some people know God by dying for Him.
When a world consists of evil vampires trying to take over a city by slaughtering innocent people, sometimes knowing God means being a soldier for Him.
For He has died to make men Holy. Some will die to make men free.
Is it a message? Maybe. At most, I just figure it should be a conversation starter about the nature of redemption. Of what’s black, and what’s white, and what’s a shade of gray – and not a collection of bondage porn.
Being a writer is who I am. It’s what I do. It’s all I really know how to do well. I just try to write some fun stories and throw some ideas in there for the audience to chew on and let any “message” attend to itself.
Declan Finn is the author of books ranging from thrillers to urban fantasy to SciFi. This most popular of these books includes the 2016 Dragon Award nominated novel for Best Horror, Honor at Stake: Welcome to New York City, where vampires don’t sparkle, they burn. The sequel, Murphy’s Law of Vampires and Live and Let Bite are already out.
Finn is one of a legion of writers over at The Catholic Geeks blog (a legion, for we are many). Other books he has written includes the comedy-thriller It Was Only on Stun! where he blows up a sci-fi convention (no, not this one). The sequel is Set to Kill, a novel that spun off of his parody, Sad Puppies Bite Back.
He co-authored the science fiction espionage novel Codename: Winterborn, and Codename: UnSub. However, he is most proud of his The Pius Trilogy – book one of which, A Pius Man, will be rereleased from Silver Empire Press in 2017. Finn also hosts the Catholic Geek Radio show and can be found wherever someone is starting trouble.