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Fantasy novel gives redemption to demons

June 01, 2013
  • Martinsburg, W.Va., author Scott Dorsey wrote Son of a Succubus, a story that combines demons, angels and humans in a story about political machinations and spiritual redemption. The cover was designed by French designer Melissa Coutino Richet.
Kevin G. Gilbert /

Name: Scott Dorsey
Age: 45
City in which you reside: Martinsburg, W.Va.
Day job: Professor of Information Technology for Kaplan University
Book title: “Son of a Succubus”
Genre: Fantasy
Short synopsis of book: Everyone has been told that vampires, werewolves, witches, and all the creatures of the underworld are forever sent  to hell, but what if that’s not true? What if some of those creatures are good Christians and want to get to heaven? Redemption is for the asking.
Publisher: Ables Publishing
Price: $15.95

What inspired you to write this book? Other books? Authors? Ideas bouncing around in your head?

I have been reading fantasy fiction for more years then I like to admit. One day I was in church and I realized that humans are (like) folklore monsters in their own right. Some humans are incredibly evil and do the most vile things while other humans simply bring hope and love into the world. So I asked myself, “If humans can be at opposite ends of the morality spectrum, why can’t mythical creatures? They might be bound to demands that have been placed on their DNA, but couldn’t some of them be rays of hope and love even in the monster realm?”

I wanted to write a story that paralleled human attributes that we consider monstrous. I could have used killing, but I decided to use sex instead. Not every human murders other people but practically every human has sex or has to live with the burdens of sexual desire.

Today our society uses sex as a party favor, which (might lead) to an increase of sexually transmitted diseases and weakens marital bonds that keep families together. We are bombarded with sex in advertising and it is blatantly pushed onto our children, but we turn a blind eye as a society. If a monster who believes he must have sex to survive can overcome his personal burdens and discover the real reasons behind the pleasures of sex, can’t a human?

Who is your intended reader?

Adults that are sexually active and have grown up conditioned to believe that having sex with more and more people is the key to success and happiness. It is not, of course. In fact, sexual promiscuity has been studied; the most promiscuous are usually insecure, unhappy and lonely. However, since sex is also so taboo in our society, we do not like to talk about it, and everyone must find their own path. I wrote this book in hopes that it helps someone out there find the right path.

So this book is intended for mature readers more than, say, the average middle-schooler.

Yes. I wrote this book for adults. It deals with adult subjects that children are not ready for. One needs to have some life experience under their belt before everything can really sink in the way it is intended.

You use Latin phrases for spells, which reminds me of the Harry Potter series. Where did you come up with the ideas for spells?

Since Virgo grew up in a Catholic orphanage, he had to attend Mass a lot. He would hear the priests mutter their prayers in Latin, and he thought they had some magical powers.

How did you work out the “physics” of the Underworld — how spells work, which are more powerful, how fathering a child extends Virgo’s life, and so on?

Tapsasuet is what Virgo considers his demon half — similar to how people think that sometimes the devil on our shoulder wins and sometimes the angel wins. As for the fathering of children, I was using this as a metaphor. The magic doesn’t come from just having children, it comes from within. Virgo learns a number of truths that overturn his preconceived notions of reality while he is in heaven. Those truths reveal themselves even more in the second book.

You use Christian mythology and geography and worship language — “Thank you, God,” and so forth — along with the magic. How did you develop the blend of magic and Christian religion?

This is a common question. How can I write about demons, magic and sex and bring God into it? Fantasy novels usually have some type of religious element in them. The Bible is filled with demons and sex and even mystical events that some would call miracles or magic. In addition, it also gives readers who have never been exposed to Christianity a chance to (encounter) the faith.

What kind of research did you do for your book? 

There are a couple of chapters that go back to the turn of the century and I had to do a good deal of research to get my historical facts correct. If I was going to write about something that was supposed to be true to the date I was going to use facts. I researched the area and what it was called back then and what it looked like. I also wanted to make sure I had the appropriate technologies of the day. Even simple things such as sandwiches I needed to research and make sure I presented them correctly for the times.

“Son of a Succubus” is clearly more fantasy than Christian, but the book does have a moral backbone. Were you tempted to get preachy as you wrote it?

Certainly, but I did my best not to. I worked hard to allow to individual reader to take the morals in the story to heart in their own way. No one enjoys having a finger pointed at them. I want the readers to enjoy a good story and discover the morals of the story themselves. It will give them an opportunity to reflect on their own lives and how their own actions can be self-destructive to themselves and others.

In the end, you were going for some kind of redemption, yes? 

The main thing I want readers to come away with after reading the first book is that no one is a pure angel or demon this side of heaven and hell. Everyone has to battle with their desires to stay true to themselves and their beliefs. But in the end, you can get to heaven no matter how many evil things you have done, as long as you are truly sorry for your deeds and learn to live for God’s will instead of your own.

What was your process of writing like? How long did it take you to write?

I wrote the first four chapters in third person but I wanted to get into the main character’s head more than I could with third person. I took a break and started again months later. From the time I wrote the first page in first person to the time I typed The End, four months passed. Then the editing and rewrite phase began, and that took another four months. From page one to done and on sale took about 10 months.

Editing is often overlooked in independently published books. Who edited your book?
 
My book was first edited by me and my wife. Then we gave it to a couple of friends that we know. Finally, once it was done as well as we could get it, we sent it off to FirstEditing.com, which had reasonable rates. They did a really nice job with the corrections. I read the book again, accepting or declining their edits and then found a few more that needed to be corrected.

Still, the book is not perfect. This is my first attempt at writing and I am not a professional editor by any means. I would have had it professionally edited over and over again as they do in the big publishing houses, but I simply could not afford that. Some editors wanted to charge over $5,000 dollars for a manuscript of over 141,000 words — the size of my book. For a new unpublished author, that is simply out of the question.

So now that you have published a book, you can kick back, let the book sell itself and rake in profits, right?

As an independent writer self-publishing a novel, there are so many things you have to learn to do to get your book to market. First you need to write the novel. Then you need to edit it — many times in some cases. If there are rewrites, you need to edit it again. On top of that, there are different design and layout elements needed for different book formats — hardback, paperback, e-book — and different book sizes. You then have to do your own marketing, advertising and distribution.

There is no way any individual can be perfect in all of these areas, or, in my case, wealthy enough to hire professionals to handle the specific areas. However, with that being said, I do believe that a book should be as polished as possible before being released onto the market. That is the reason I invested in having it professionally edited.

In the end, you have spent months producing a product that has cost you thousands of dollars that you hope and pray the public will enjoy.

Did you do the design work — the jacket, the text layout?

About the design work, I would like to go on the record at this point and say, “Aaarg!” This part of the book has been a living nightmare.

The text layout was hard but I did it myself and it only took me a week or so. The cover was the real nightmare. I asked Courtney Redding, professor of graphic art of Kaplan University, to put together a cover for me prior to the release of the book. But then I found a photo from the Internet. (I planned to use) but I discovered that it was licensed for a novel in Poland.

My wife designed a second cover as a temporary fix one day while I was stuck in meetings. It turned out her cover design was almost identical to the cover Professor Redding created. It was eerie.

The third and final design is beautiful and was created by Melissa Coutino Richet, a designer in France. I just received the new books two weeks ago with the new cover art and they look fantastic.

Did you learn anything about yourself while writing this book?

The main thing I learned is that I can write a book. It really wasn’t that hard to do. You just need the tenacity to stick with it. The hardest part was getting people to give me the time I needed to work on it. My dogs and cat certainly did not understand. They simply did not comprehend how I could sit there and work on anything for that many hours without needing to play tug-a-war a few times during the day.

What sort of response have you got from people who have read the book?

So far I have been getting some rave remarks. People told me that they love the fact that they cannot figure out how it is going to end until you get there, and they are still surprised. I have been told that they love the action and the humor. I have even been told that people have laughed out loud. They just could not help themselves.

You mentioned that you’re working on another writing project.

“Son of a Succubus” is the first of a series. The series is based on the Ables, which are the magical creatures of the underworld. Virgo may have bit parts in the future novels of the series but some other Able will be the main character for each book. No two books will have the same main character.

Is “Son of a Succubus” available in bookstores in our area? Where? If not, how can a reader buy a copy of the book?

I am working on getting the book in physical book stores, but for the moment you can purchase the novel on Amazon. It is available in both paperback and e-book on Kindle.


— Chris Copley, assistant Lifestyle editor

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