Interview with Paul Jesep

You're a priest with a seminary degree and you wrote a vampire novel?
Who better to write a vampire novel?! Yes, in addition to being an attorney I did graduate from seminary and became an ordained priest. Not surprisingly, since the novel has a lot to do with Satan and devils there is much theology and philosophy I bring into the story. I raise questions as to whether Lucifer is really evil and what would happen if one of Satan's children turned vampire.
What's different about your vampire novel?
It is the first in a series setting the stage between warring devils and vampires. This is the war to end all wars because it will cause the End of Times. Humankind is caught in the middle.

One of Satan's many bastard sons, Benning Wentworth, named after his uncle the New Hampshire colonial governor, attempts to distinguish himself from his many siblings and win his father's approval by becoming a vampire.

It changes the balance of power between devils and "royal" vampires, creatures who naturally evolved from humans as part of evolution. The novel makes a distinction between them and the fiendish creatures often preying on humans.

In addition, Benning's immortal kiss causes an unwanted, unexpected spiritual awakening. It causes severe bouts of depression and suicidal tendencies.

Benning was to take a leadership role and assist his father stop the Second Coming of Fire, the spiritual union of humankind. Instead, his vampyric kiss causes him to struggle with new emotions, a new way of seeing the world, and whether he should facilitate in making the Second Coming occur, thus losing any chance to win his father's approval.

The novel borrows generously from New Hampshire seacoast history giving it a strong gothic, New England theme.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
An uncle had a boat yard on the Hudson River. I spent a great deal of time developing my imagination and learning to occupy time. The area had been founded by the Dutch, hence there was history, legends, and lore to spark the imagination. Later, I spent time as a teen volunteering at a music hall always wondering whether I'd meet the resident ghost. At a very early age I had been intrigued, interested, and pleasantly spooked by ghosts, vampires, and werewolves.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It's been in the works for many years. I lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire for over ten years. I wrote for the local paper on politics, history, and other things. I also wrote about New Hampshire history for a statewide magazine. Portsmouth is one of the oldest towns and seaports in America and has dozens of eerie cemeteries, haunted houses, and great lore about witches, ghosts, and more. It's the perfect setting for a vampire novel. The novel seeks to entertain, tell a good story, and weave in some commentary about life.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's cathartic, there are things I need to say, and it is fulfilling and satisfying to share thoughts and ideas with others.
What are you working on next?
The next book in the series of "The Vampire Benning Wentworth and the End of Times." The first book lays the foundation for the war between devils and vampires and the series will play out in others. Will humankind survive? Will Lucifer reign supreme? What evil will take hold of the universe? What will the war between devils and vampires be like?
Who are your favorite authors?
Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Bram Stoker, de Chardin.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The need to Create.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Thinking about writing ... road trips to mountains to both hide and be spiritually nourished.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
A book about Dr. Doolittle the animal doctor and Baba Yaga, a Ukrainian/Russian folktale about a witch with iron teeth, who lived in a house that jumped about on chicken legs. It probably directed me toward vampire genre at a very early age. In junior high I fell in love with Nicholas and Alexander by Robert Massie and Bram Stoker's Dracula.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Brothers Karamazov - timeless wisdom
Common Sense - I'm a Thomas Paine "r"epublican
The Age of Reason - see above
Dracula - brilliant story, wonderfully atmospheric, connects you to another world
Tolstoy short stories - Christian virtue without the ritual, ceremony, and superstition that compromises the faith.
Describe your desk
I stand at my table with milk crates on top where my laptop rests. I am surrounded by icons, art, and piles and piles of papers/magazines/research. I multi-task. Usually, I have music on - opera, classical, baroque.
Published 2014-01-01.
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