Thursday, August 8, 2013

Interview with Deborah Stevens

Today we talk with Deborah Stevens, author of The Serpent's Disciple. Come back tomorrow for an excerpt from her work.

Your Name:

Deborah Stevens but I must inform you that my maiden name is Andruccioli.  So, of course you realize my novel had to take place in Italy. In fact, I chose my father’s birth place of Pesaro, not knowing how important it would become to the plot. 

Tell us a little about yourself?

First, I want to thank Jamie for allowing me this opportunity to introduce my new novel The Serpent’s Disciple.
I am originally from Detroit, which unfortunately has been in the news lately for being the largest municipality in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy. After graduating from Michigan State University, I moved to Traverse City where I started my family and had the experience of living on a cherry farm.  Eventually, moving to the Twin Cities where I now reside with my husband.

What made you want to become a writer?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a book in my hand.  Over time my preference for a certain genre of literature we know as “thriller fiction” was taking over my bookshelves.  I might have remained a reader rather than an author of thrillers, except that my mind began to dream up plots for novels as I listened to the news of events from around the world. At such times, I’d jot down ideas for stories and books, doing so hundreds of times before the fateful day when the idea for The Serpent’s Disciple took up residency in my head and then took on a life of its own.

What genre do your works fall into?

Fiction Thriller, although I guess it could also be included under Historical Fiction or Mysteries since it is based on fact and there is a mystery to solve. 

What about this genre appeals to you?

I love a good plot that pulls real facts from today’s headlines and combines them with events from the past. There’s nothing better to me then a plot that keeps you guessing: unexpected twists and turns throughout, creating suspense and uncertainty for the reader.  It’s fascinating to think that what you are reading actually happened or is presently taking place in today’s world, wondering, how much of the story is true and what part of it was the author’s imagination. The desire for wealth and power never seems to disappear, so with a little luck and a lot of imagination the next #1 Best Seller could be right around the corner.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

Anyone who likes to combine some history with fiction, I believe, will find The Serpent’s Disciple an interesting read.  In 1978 Pope John Paul I was about to release a list of names of the clergy within the Vatican who belonged to an illegal Italian Masonic Lodge known as Propaganda Due, or P2. The next day the Pope was found dead. This we know to be fact. 

An ancient evil threatens to take over the Catholic Church and use it to create a New World Order. Thirty years after John Paul’s death the new leader of P2, Peter Romanus, sets in motion the final stages of his plot to kill the current  pope and take control of world governments through the Church. A family secret and an ancient artifact could save humankind from this diabolical leader many fear is the Antichrist.

 While visiting their father’s birthplace of Pesaro, Italy, Anthony and Nelli Andruccioli become entwined with the Grand Master’s plot where they learn of their family’s deep and ancient connection to Saint Anthony and are called to protect the Church: Nelli as the Chosen One and Anthony as one of the Guardians sworn to protect her from the false prophet. Together they must navigate the labyrinth of ancient prophecy and Vatican politics to expose the truth before it is too late.

P2 did exist and was believed by many to be behind the death of Pope John Paul I. In fact, most of the The Serpent's Disciple is based on widely accepted fact. The main characters and prophecy are of course creations of my imagination.

What gives you inspiration for your book?

The headlines from around the world is a treasure trove of ideas to any author.  When you begin digging deeper into the facts leading up to an event, there is usually many factors involved behind why something happens.  That is the arena where a writer can begin to create a real or make believe world of characters and plots to entertain the reader.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Many of the characters are based on real people and the positions they hold, but the main characters are creations of my imagination. 

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?

Christine is the mystery woman in the novel. The reader really doesn’t know much about her except she is very important to the storyline.  She will again be important in the sequel. She’s a fascinating character because I can have her take on any identity I desire. What could be more exciting than that?

What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

The anticipation of sitting down and writing and seeing where my imagination takes me that day. I love doing research and get excited to pass on what I learn to the reader and maybe have them discover something they didn’t know before.   

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you either growing up or as an adult?

Not really, there are just so many good books out there.  My tastes have changed over time, but I have discovered that I am most interested now in studying the impact of people’s religious beliefs or lack of on individuals and the world. It makes for interesting reading. 

Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer?  If so, what do you do during the day? 

I am lucky to be able to devote myself completely to writing at this time in my life and enjoying every minute of it. 

What is your favorite writing tip or quote?

That’s very personal.  I think every person who writes finds the secret of what works for them. For me, it’s spending time researching and finding interesting little tidbits of information that I can weave into the storyline.  I think one must write every day to keep the thread of the story fresh in their minds, at least for me.  It keeps that spark going that might be lost if you are not living the story. 

Tell us a little about your plans for the future.  Do you have any other books in the works?

I am very pleased to announce that I will be signing with an agency out of Rome, Italy, in the next few weeks. I am hoping to see the book translated into Italian, which will be very exciting for me. I have many events and reviews of the book coming out in publications around the country in the next several months. I hope to be attending two book fairs, one in the Twin Cities in October and another in Miami in November.
I am working on the sequel which I am very excited about.  This one will again be set in Italy. Many of the characters will be familiar to the reader if they read the first book, but of course a new plot inspired by the latest headlines answering the age old question will evil finally win over good?

Where can we find you online? 
Amazon: Available in eBook and Paperback week of August 12th


  1. Intriguing! Also enjoyed reading the interview! Thanks

  2. This is fascinating! Thank you for giving me the chance to read about such an interesting writer.

  3. An amazing story by a gifted writer. Thank you, Deborah.