Declan Finn is the NYC-based author of books ranging from thrillers to urban fantasy to Sci-Fi, including the Dragon Award Nominated Novel for Best Horror in 2016, Honor at Stake, and the 2017 follow-up, Live and Let Bite. He was also nominated for Best Apocalypse Novel at the Dragons in 2017. He won the book of the year award with his novel Hell Spawn from CLFA. Finn is known for being annoyingly Catholic, his action sequences, and writing faster than most readers can keep up with. In less than a decade, he has written 30 novels, and is waiting for all of them to be published. He’s been part of multiple anthologies, and will write for anyone.
In this interview, he shares some of his thoughts regarding his latest book, Hell Spawn.
FF: What inspired the story in your new book, Hell Spawn?
I was inspired by a course in Christian Spirituality and Mysticism at Saint John’s University, back in 2001. The professor discussed some of the charisms of Saints, such as bilocation and levitation. My first thought was “get them a cape.” When he covered the ability to smell evil, I thought “Wouldn’t that be a great ability for a cop?
And of course, a cop with the abilities of a saint had to hunt down a serial killer possessed by a demon.
FF: What can you tell us about the main characters in your book?
The primary character, and narrator, is Thomas Nolan, a New York City police Lieutenant. He’s special in that he has the charisms associated with saints—he can smell evil, bilocate, and he’s not entirely clear about what’s going on in his life. Other characters include his wife, Mariel, his son Jeremy, as well as Nolan’s partner, Alex Packard.
FF: Which character surprised you the most?
All of them surprised me, really. Nolan doesn’t accept that he’s as good as he is. But everyone around him who hears about his “abilities like a saint” just says, “That fits.” And I love watching Nolan lose his mind over the blasé reaction.
Heck, Nolan’s attitude towards shootouts also surprised me. To quote his narration, “In New York, Marquis of Queensbury is a Ben & Jerry’s flavor.”
I guess I’d have to say it was Nolan himself. But then, he’s new for me as a character. I usually have characters with a dark side. He didn’t have one. Even when he got angry, it didn’t involve a dark side. He was angry at the correct things for the right reasons.
FF: Why do you think storytelling is such a powerful way to share truth?
Because the audience is emotionally invested in the characters and the story. You don’t even need to preach at them. In fact, the story will carry your message … sometimes even when you don’t have a message, you can find someone who will read a message into your story.
FF: What can readers expect from the rest of this series?
You can expect a fun time with plenty of action, and plenty of character.
FF: What kind of research did you do for this book?
I spent a lot of time research cops and researching the demonic. For the former, I read Eddie Conlon’s Blue Blood. For the latter, I read Father Amorth on exorcism, as well as Deliver Us from Evil.
FF: What do you want readers to take away after reading your book?
I want them feel like their time was well used, and that they had fun.
FF: What are the biggest challenges for you as an author writing in your specific genre?
The problem is sticking to the genre. I started writing an urban fantasy novel. But I had researched serial killers in my youth (a long story) and merged it with the research into the demonic for the book. It became a horror novel, mostly by accident. The next two books weren’t as scary, and were more urban fantasy thrillers.
FF: What authors or books have inspired you as an author?
J. Michael Straczynski, Timothy Zahn, John Ringo and Fred Saberhagen.
FF: How has your faith or world view impacted the way you tell stories?
I don’t go into any story with my faith in mind. However, it’s part of me. The books are an extension of me to one degree or another. So it all comes together. Usually in an odd culmination of “Die Hard is a Christmas movie” and “Everyone, go to confession and be the best human being you can.” It’s unique.
Saint Tommy, NYPD Series #1
Genres: Christian Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Suspense
Release Date: May 2, 2022
My name is Officer Thomas Nolan, and I am a saint.
I can smell evil. I show mercy to the lesser criminals – the desperate. Even those I’ve put behind bars seem to like me. But now there’s a serial killer bringing darkness beyond imagination to my city. I can smell his stench a mile away. But how can I prove it?
How do you do forensics on a killer possessed by a demon?
Buy Hell Spawn from Amazon HERE!