Viola Ryan: Oh no. I don't want to take credit for creating Lucifer. I mean what would I tell my kids. I just borrowed him from the imaginations of others.
MIU: But you put a rather unique spin on him.
VR: True, but the stories about Lucifer were all so simplistic. As a writer, I like delving into motivation. Rather than just stick with Lucifer is evil, end of story, I gave him some pretty good motivation.
MIU: So without further comment, I give you Lucifer.
Lucifer: Thank you, MIU for having us and thank you Mrs. Ryan for giving me an actual story beyond he's evil. What I'm sure everyone would like to know is how you chose me to be your hero?
VR: (laughs). I never chose you. You chose me. I started writing my cute little vampire story during National Novel Writing Month 2007. It was plodding along, keeping up with my word count, until you showed up. That took the story in a totally different direction.
L: You must take some of the blame...I mean credit. You didn't have to keep me. You could have told me to shut up and sit in the corner while you worked.
VR: Now it's my turn to laugh. When a character comes to you as strong as you did, you don't tell them to shut up. Besides, I didn't want to. If I must share in the blame, when you came to me, I was beyond thrilled. It was one of those moments an author loves, when what her muse sends is better than anything she consciously came up with.
L: So why did you keep the vampire part? I mean, I'm the Devil. Why turn me into a vampire?
VR: It made sense to me. Vampires are seen as demons. Fallen angels are seen as demons. According to math, if A=B and C=B then A=C. I didn't understand why no one saw it before.
L: Why do you think your muse sent me?
VR: I've gotten that question in various forms a lot. I mean who writes about Lucifer as a hero. I had more than one publisher tell me she couldn't see a way to sell it. People have strong feelings about Lucifer. If you were just a fallen angel, that would have been fine, but my story wasn't about just any fallen angel. It was about the first, the biggie. Lucifer himself.
L: That isn't an answer.
VR: The truth of the matter is I love studying Christian history and the evolution of dogma. Not in college, just on my own. Many of the research books I used for The Mark of Abel I already had. I loved going to the used book stores and having a reason to buy more. My research library is quite impressive, now. I won't need much for the rest of the series. I didn't consciously put you as the hero, but when I think about it, it makes sense that Christian stories ended up forming the universe my story existed in. I love playing with them. I use several books in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelations, and many extra-canonical texts such as The Book of Enoch and The Alphabet of Ben Sirah.
The Mark of Abel is far from what could be considered Christian fiction, seeing as you're the good guy and God can be a bit of a jerk, but it deals with various Christian themes, especially redemption. These are universal and speak to something deep within us.
L: Why did you choose redemption as your theme?
VR: I didn't chose it. It chose me. The story others have written about the Devil centers around damnation. He is a cautionary tale. I played with that until I found a way to flip it. There are two big parts to your story that must be addressed. 1) Trying to overthrow God. 2) Tempting Eve with the apple. If I wanted to write a wounded hero, I needed to make those things not evil. Playing with the motivation, I did just that. Not only are they not evil, they are the highest form of good. If Lucifer isn't evil, then I had to find a way to redeem him.
L: Or at least get me a happy ending.
VR: I'm not done with you. You are a good guy. One of the best. You just have a lot to learn. It's fun creating the necessary lessons.
L: As I told God, Janie isn't a learning experience.
VR: (Laughs) You ain't seen nothing yet, my friend.
MIU: Thank you both for being here. You can learn more about The Mark of Abel below.