Blood of the Lamb by Sam Cabot (aka SJ Rozan and Carlos Dews) just came out earlier this month from Blue Rider Press. The authors were kind enough to answer a few questions about the book, and courtesy of Blue Rider Press, we have 2 signed copies to give away, so be sure to check out the details at the bottom of the post!
Please welcome SJ Rozan and Carlos Dews to the blog!
What inspired you to collaborate on Blood of the Lamb? Will you tell us a bit about the book?
Carlos: I had the idea that led to BLOOD OF THE LAMB. But never having written any genre fiction and having too much respect for genre writers to try one by myself, I looked for a collaborator. Luckily a mutual friend introduced me to SJ. After a great deal of arm twisting she agreed to work on the book with me.
SJ: Every word he says is true. I backed in every step of the way, sure this collaboration wouldn’t work. About the book, what your readers need to know is, it’s a paranormal thriller set in Rome. Vampires, the Vatican, churches, art, and cappuccino — what more could you ask for?
Can you tell us about the writing process for Blood of the Lamb?
Carlos: We were certain from the beginning that we didn’t want competing voices in the book. So we decided that SJ would write each chapter based on Carlos’s research. Carlos would then read, edit, and make suggestions for the chapter SJ drafted while she worked on the next chapter. When we were both satisfied with a chapter we put it to bed and focused on the next portion of the book (although the chapters we worked on weren’t always in the order in which they appear in the book).
SJ: Tru dat. A certain amount of circling went on, too. I would get to a point in a chapter and realize something we’d worked out plot-wise wasn’t going to work, or that what I was writing required details or information we didn’t have. We’d work those things out together and then I’d go on. Skype and email were big participants in the process.
Will you each tell us about your background and what you felt you brought to the table for this project?
Carlos: Having lived in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome for five years before we began work on the book, I brought to the table the information about the place (the churches, artwork, Church history, etc.) as well the original idea for the book and the major characters. My background as a scholar of literary history also helped with the researched required for the book.
SJ: I have thirteen crime novels and dozens of short stories behind me, so the writing and the pacing of BLOOD OF THE LAMB were right up my vicolo. (Italian for “alley.”) I’d never worked on a book based on someone else’s idea, though, and that was a new and kind of exciting prospect.
What kind of research did you do for the novel?
Carlos: BLOOD OF THE LAMB required a great deal of research. We were committed to historical, artistic, geographic, and architectural accuracy. This meant a great deal of research into the history of the Italian Risorgimento of the 19th century, the works of art found in the churches in Trastevere in Rome, and the history and current practices of the Catholic church.
SJ: The commitment to accuracy that Carlos describes was absolute. We’d both read thrillers where the liberties taken by the writer took us out of the novel. (“They got from where to where, how fast?”) The whole fun of the kind of world-building we did is explaining actual facts about the real world by reference to a different underlying system of truths. That said, research was Carlos’s department. Most of my research was by way of telling him what facts I needed and then standing back.
What would you each like readers to take away from Blood of the Lamb?
Carlos: A new take on vampires, serious consideration of issues of faith, and loads of information on Trastevere, the Italian Risorgimento, the art and churches of Rome.
SJ: And the idea that what you see isn’t always what you get.
What did you enjoy most about writing Blood of the Lamb?
Carlos: Working with SJ!
SJ: See, now I’m in trouble. If I say, “Working with Carlos,” I sound like I’m just returning the compliment. If I don’t, that’s even worse. Hmm…
What’s next for each of you?
Carlos and SJ: Sam Cabot is hard at work on the second book in the series. The new book, with the working title SKIN OF THE WOLF, is set in New York and sees the return of three of the major characters from BLOOD OF THE LAMB (Livia Pietro, Thomas Kelly, and Spencer George). And then there’s book three, set in China, we think… Stay tuned!
About BLOOD OF THE LAMB:
The Historian meets The Da Vinci Code in this exhilarating supernatural thriller set in Rome, where rival groups are searching for a document that holds a secret that could shatter the Catholic Church.
This document, dear friend, will shatter the Church ..
Reading these words in a letter in a dusty archive, Thomas Kelly is skeptical. The papers to which they refer have vanished, but Father Kelly, a Jesuit priest, doubts that anything could ever have had that power—until the Vatican suddenly calls him to Rome to begin a desperate search for that very document.
Meanwhile, standing before a council of her people, Livia Pietro receives instructions: she must find a Jesuit priest who has recently arrived in Rome and join his search for a document that contains a secret so shocking it has the power to destroy not only the Catholic Church, but Livia’s people as well.
As cryptic messages from the past throw Thomas and Livia into a treacherous world of art, religion, and conspiracy, they are pursued by those who would cross any line to obtain the document for themselves. Thomas and Livia must race to stop the chaos and destruction that the revelation of these secrets would create. Livia, though, has a secret of her own: She and her people are vampires.
In a sprawling tapestry that combines the religious intrigue of Dan Brown with the otherworldly terror of Stephenie Meyer, Blood of the Lamb is an unforgettable journey into an unthinkable past.
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