Saturday, June 8, 2013

Author Spotlight: Layton Green

We’re fortunate all sorts of intriguing authors visit us here. We choose them carefully to enlighten and entertain you. We’re very appreciative not only for our authors’ taking the time to join us, but for you, our readers, doing so too. We can’t say that often enough. We’ll grab this opportunity to say it again now as we bring you the latest installment in our Gazalapalooza Author Spotlight series, this time featuring the considerable talents of Layton Green. Green stops by today to share some insights about himself and his writing, and to shed a bit of light on his brand new paranormal thriller, The Diabolist.

Some Greenian background is in order. Green is a recovering attorney, deeply afflicted by wanderlust. In addition to writing, Green graduated from law school in New Orleans, and spent several years practicing law. He has traveled through more than 50 countries. To his enduring credit, many of them would let him return if he asks nicely enough. Besides lawyering and writing, Green has earned his bread and board in activities as disparate as interning at the United Nations, being an ESL teacher in Central America, tending bar in London, selling cheap knives on the streets of Brixton, and delivering telephone books door-to-door. After that point on his long and winding curriculum vitae, Green says, "the list goes downhill from there."

In his writing, Green combines his incisive descriptive skills with his plethora of travels and employments. The result is a lucky reader who can’t avoid finding herself sucked into the twisted geographic and psychological vistas Green creates in The Diabolist and his other books, whether in the Dominic Grey series, or otherwise.

The Diabolist is the third entry in Green’s deservedly well-received series of enthralling paranormal thrillers featuring Dominic Grey and his partner, Viktor Radek. In it, the duo combat a fearsome, ancient evil driving a seemingly super-powered madman's scheme to wipe out all competitors in uniting the world's Satanist factions to displace humanity's major religions.

How freaky is that? Trust us, it’s very freaky. And it’s very good, too.

Our esteemed guest is already sitting on the hard wooden chair under the unforgiving glare of our klieg light army, chomping at the bit to get this Spotlight fired up. See him fidget? We like his eagerness. Without further ado, let’s get this edition of the Author Spotlight underway. Our fingers are tightly crossed Green doesn’t summon anything underwordly to pop in for a spell while he’s under our care. Our interrogation room’s not sufficiently spacious to accommodate that.

Gazala:    In my omnipotence, I've sentenced you to be stranded alone on a desert island for offenses best left unnamed. In my beneficence, I've decided to allow you a limited amount of reading material to make your stay a little less bleak than it would otherwise be. I'll spot you your religious text of preference, and the collected works of William Shakespeare. In addition to those, name the one fiction book, and the one nonfiction book, you'd choose to take with you, and why you choose them.

Green:    A lot of really cheeky answers ran through my mind, but I’ll go with the following: for fiction, even though my favorite novel is The Magus, by John Fowles, I’m going to go with 1,001 Arabian Knights for its sheer volume and entertainment value. For nonfiction, I’m going with the amazing book Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story, by Jim Holt. This is probably my favorite work of nonfiction, and, well, the name pretty much says it all. I think it would take me a lifetime to fully absorb and ponder the contents of this book.

Gazala:    Your latest book is an excellent and gripping novel titled The Diabolist, the third entry in your deservedly well-received series of intriguing paranormal thrillers featuring the private investigative team of former Diplomatic Security Agent Dominic Grey and his partner, religious phenomenologist and cult expert Viktor Radek. I've read it. I enjoyed it immensely, and recommend it highly. Shockingly enough, however, from time to time my bare recommendation doesn't always motivate a book's potential reader to become a book's actual reader. Tell us something about The Diabolist, and why its potential reader should make the leap and become its actual reader.

Green:    Well, Richard, let’s hope your powers of online persuasion move mountains of readers! And I sincerely appreciate the shout out. I write books that I would like to read, and the reason I would pick up The Diabolist is because it contains elements I love in my novels: suspense, exotic travel, mystery, romance, action, history, philosophy, occult esoterica, quasi-supernatural happenings, and religion. And with this particular novel, I wanted to explore the themes of the origin of evil and the history of the Devil. In particular, I was fascinated by the question of theodicy, which, simply put, is this: if we accept that evil exists, then either God is omnipotent and responsible for evil, or someone or something else is.

Gazala:    What are books for?

Green:    I think books serve different purposes for different readers: entertainment, education, enlightenment, and escapism seem to be the most obvious suspects, and the ones I can vouch for. I recently read something (I can’t remember where) that said that the classic novels are a one on one conversation with some of the greatest minds in history. I loved that and think it is true.

Gazala:    W. Somerset Maugham said, "There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are." Do you agree, or disagree, and why?

Green:    Ha ha, I love that one. Completely agree. I’ve never had a (fiction) writing class and quite honestly, though I made good grades, I was not a good student. But there are many ways to skin a cat, as they say (though I confess I don’t know why they say that), and I think everyone’s journey to becoming a novelist is different, whether it’s an Iowa MFA, being a lifelong reader before spending 15 years tearing up drafts and studying authors far more talented than myself (my journey), or sitting down and rattling off a great work of literature and then calling it quits, like Harper Lee.

Gazala:    A shadowy, black-robed figure is peering through my window, and I best go see what he's up to before something heinous happens. Ask yourself a question, and answer it.

Green:    Q: The question is, what have I been involved in to warrant the attentions of such an ominous, mysterious figure? A: I search my memory but can’t recall anything out of the ordinary. Then I remember that antique shop I visited in the Garden District of New Orleans, with my friend Lou. Lou is a linguist and was asked to examine a piece of unknown origin for the owner of the antique shop. The owner was a little off, to be honest. He kept his shop dimly lit and had a bunch of religious and occult pieces scattered about. The piece he had Lou inspect was a small wooden box with a flowery, rune-like script flowing down one side. Lou recognized the runes as Ogham, a long-forgotten Celtic language, and a few days later he translated the inscription as, roughly, “God Path.” (Ogham contained no prepositions.) The problem was, nothing else about the box suggested a Celtic origin. I had forgotten about the box and the inscription, though the owner’s assistant, a young East Indian woman with an accent I couldn’t quite place, had lingered in my mind. Didn’t matter. I could figure it out later. I ran to grab my cell in case I needed to call 911, but when I returned to the window, the only thing I saw was the cemetery brooding across the street, silent and empty.

See? It’s like we said earlier, very freaky, and very good. And that’s without anything underworldly popping in for an authorial assist. (At least, none we noticed…) Now you’ve had such a tasty sip, we know you’re thirsty for more of Green and his writing. We’ve made that easy for you. All you need do to grab yourself a copy of The Diabolist from the good folks at is click here. You're welcome.

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