Today our reviewer, Amy Lignor, is talking with Carrie F. Shepherd, author of Fall From Grace: The Scribing of Ishitar
FQ: Readers would love to know how this epic story came to your mind? It truly is unique!
I have always been fascinated with theology throughout cultures and time and the common themes that almost every belief system holds. The idea was to take the basics of each and bring them together in a manner that the stories are compatible. The questions really become: What if there is not one true religion? What if we’ve all got it right? And, as a result, wrong?
FQ: Are you a Greek Mythology fan? The representations of everything from Mount Olympus to the Christian heaven were extremely interesting and seemed to really gel together; which path would you say was your favorite to write?
Yes. I’m a fan of all genres of Mythology. I was introduced to the Egyptian Gods by one of my favorite teachers, Ms. Shea, in seventh grade. From there I was hooked. By the time I graduated High School I’d read all of the stories from Greek, Norse and Native American cultures. It was then that I started seeing the common themes and threads.
As for the path I enjoyed most writing, that would be whenever the Gods met at Council. I could easily picture what the room would look like and find myself sitting at one of the tables engaging in the debate and conversation.
FQ: Do you have a favorite character?
Azrael. Probably out of necessity!
I spent a lot of time living in his head and interpreting the world from his point of view. It was fun for me to reflect on what he would find interesting, or infuriating, enough that he would come out of the story to share his opinion with the reader and what he would just tell as fact from the point of view of the characters.
FQ: I have to say unveiling the forms, figures, even the entities’ ability to be male or female was amazing to watch when various scenes took place. Were you interested in delving into human ‘mortal’ issues such as sexual orientation, power, love, greed, etc.?
I wanted to create a society that was somewhat true to the real world we live in where all of these things you mention exist.
But, specifically, in this story, the women clearly have no voice and tend to use their ability to change their essence to further their politics and their aims. Yet, interestingly enough, rather than demanding equality from the men, or simply over powering them and taking it from them, these women turn against one another.
FQ: In the book mortals are blamed quite a bit (and the affinity the Lord has for them). Do you feel that humanity HAS let the Divine down because of the wars, death, pain, anguish, and more that we bring to the world?
I think that’s the ultimate question. Mortals are raised above angels, demons and even Gods in many different versions of theology. Do we have the ability to live up to the Divine’s expectation of us? I think the vote is still open on that one.
FQ: I love the look into politics as well. Were you interested in focusing a bit on the male/female political views in our day and age? Such as, should a woman be President?
The larger political question in my mind, as far as these characters are concerned, is how far will each character go—what will he/she do—to gain control of the ultimate throne. By the end of the book, the main factions are pretty clear. But we won’t know who, ultimately, is seated to power until the end of the series.
FQ: Raziel - the powerful woman - was fun to watch. I was wondering if she was perhaps based on Athena?
Raziel’s personality was based on a multitude of women in literature who have been in her position. She wants the power, but she’s limited by her sex given she’s a member of a society where only men rule. She’s a woman who isn’t above doing anything, however, to get what she wants. Noliminan and Lucias had best watch their backs.
FQ: I read that this was a twenty-year project for you. That is truly amazing, but the complexity of the story certainly was researched and not just thrown together. Is Book Two in the works? Or, will there be as much time taken, do you believe, to unveil the second? And, in the end, will this be a trilogy?
Book two is definitely well in the works. The skeleton outline is done for each installment; they just need to be fleshed out now. The story is meant to be built as a series, rather than a trilogy. Though, I haven’t pinned down exactly how many installments it will take to wrap it up.