06 September, 2017

#Interview with Luke Gracias, #Author of The Devil's Prayer

About the Book:
Luke Gracias is an environmental specialist who has been working part time in the film industry since 2006. An avid
photographer, Luke traveled through Europe during the development of the film script for The Devil’s Prayer in 2014
and 2015, documenting a 13th Century conspiracy between the Mongols and the Papal Inquisition on which The Devil’s Prayer is based.

Book Trailer:

An Interview:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
After my company, Instinct India, line-produced the Australian shoot of a Bollywood film “ Singh is Kinng” in November 2007, I thought it would be great to write a film script. 

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
I was asked to write a low budget film script. Horror is great genre for low budget film as you often do not need to cast a known star. I thought it would be great to do a Da Vinci Code version of The Omen with a bit of Kill Bill in it. 

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
Yes. I have a film script which has not been made. It is a Musical Romantic Comedy. 

Tell us about your writing process.
I create a story line and then try to balance it out like a three act play. Have an intriguing incident half way through the first act and leave your protagonist with a ticking time bomb to defuse and then keep raising the stakes till they work out how to defuse it at the end of the book. 

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
The scene where Denise the protagonist meets Father Zachary in the Sedlec Ossuary in Prague. It’s a chapel decorated with the bones and skulls of over 70,000 skeletons. The old priest walking on his knees in the tea candles which depict the Nine Circles from Dante’s Inferno was a scene I saw in real life at the Salzburg Cathedral and thought it would make a great film shot. 

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
When I wrote the character for Denise, I thought of how I would have reacted in the same situations. If I prayed to save someone I loved the most and the Devil answered my prayer, would I take the deal knowing there would always be a price to pay? 

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
When I write I get into character of each and every person on the page. I see it and I live out the role of the person from whose eyes the reader sees the story progress. If they are very sad, I will be crying as I write and as this was horror, I scared myself to a few sleepless nights too. 

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
As an Environmental Specialist, my job involves reading and reviewing a lot. I am now a travel reader. It is the only time I get to read. 
Dan Brown. Daniel Yergin. David Seltzer. 

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
The Devil’s Prayer was originally a film script which fell over. I decided to convert it to a book and the Casting Director said in jest, “You can now write without a budget to think about.” 
It gave me a chance to add the second part of the book which is set in the most amazing unexplained destinations around the world. From the Devil’s Bible which lives in the National Library of Sweden to the amazing Asen’s Fortress in Bulgaria. 

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Believe in your story and tell it exactly the way you want to tell it. There is no right or wrong.  Every story will have people who love it and others who hate it. If you do, when you read negative reviews, you will never have regrets that you should have changed it. 

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
Sandra Bullock as Denise. John Travolta as the Devil. 

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
What free time?
I am passionate about my job as an Environmentalist and have been working on Green Energy for the last few years. Europe is streets ahead of the rest of the world. I have travelled twice a year on work and have spent some time looking for new locations for my next book. 
My favourite place to unwind is home. I live on the Gold Coast in Australia, which is one of the most beautiful places on earth. 

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
I love trains and did a trip on the Glacier Express from Zermatt to St Moritz in Switzerland.  I commented on how little ice was left and someone on the train said, “It is September, there is a lot more if you come in March.” A voice from the back of the train said, “It’s called a glacier because it is always meant to be there”. It hit me like a freight train.
I plan to save up and do a charter flight over the Antarctic one day. We live in a beautiful world and if more of us see what is at stake, perhaps something will change. 

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
- I was involved with making a Bollywood film. 
- I travel about three months each year to Europe and India. 
- I am a good photographer and pianist. 

What do you have in store next for your readers?
The sequel to The Devil’s Prayer. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
The locations, facts and history which underlie the Devil’s Prayer are real. From the untimely total solar eclipse over Burkhan Khaldun, the lost grave of Genghis Khan to the missing pages of The Devil’s Bible. From the Katskhi Pillar in Georgia to the Mongols in the Stefaneschi Triptych in the Vatican Museum.  The locations in the Devil’s Prayer have survived against all odds. Not a stone of Asen’s Fortress remains except for the one church in the book. In the church murals, the eyes of each saint have been blinded, a punishment reserved for treason. For man may take liberties with God, but nobody is game to mess with the Devil.

About the Book:
A nun commits suicide in front of thousands in Spain. In Australia, Siobhan Russo recognises that nun as her mother, Denise Russo, who disappeared six years ago. 

In search of answers, Siobhan travels to the isolated convent where her mother once lived. Here she discovers Denise’s final confession, a book that details a heinous betrayal that left her crippled and mute, and Denise’s subsequent deal with the Devil to take revenge. In the desperate bargain Denise made with the Prince of Darkness, she wagered Siobhan’s soul. 

As Siobhan discovers the fate of her soul, she learns that hidden within the pages of her mother’s confession is part of The Devil’s Prayer, an ancient text with the power to unleash apocalyptic horrors. 

And now her mother’s enemies know Siobhan has it. 

Can Siobhan escape an order of extremist monks determined to get the Prayer back? Can she save the world from its own destruction? 

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