Mercy: The Devil is in the Details... (Author Interview)

Mercy looks like a great supernatural thriller.  Can you tell us a little about the book?
I refer to Mercy as a “supernatural love story,” because the love which develops between the two main characters is the central theme and driving force of the story. The character of Anthony Banna is first visited by the demon when he is eight years old, and the haunting continues throughout the majority of his life. He eventually learns that there is one person on earth who can help him to defeat the demon, and he spends many years searching the world for that individual.

How did you come up with the story in Mercy?  
The are four unrelated elements which form the foundation for the book Mercy. The first of these is the Byzantine cross fragment which I found and photographed in Woodstock, NY (it is the cover of the book). The second is the epitaph I discovered nearly fifty years ago on an old gravestone in Southhampton, NY (in the book, it is the inscription on Mercedes Engle’s tombstone in Gravesend, NY). The third element is an urban legend I heard about when I was a student at New York Military Academy. And the final element is the friendship I had many years ago with a Native American chieftan of the Oneonta Nation from upstate NY.

What can you tell us about Anthony Banna?
Anthony is an Italian-American boy, who grows to adulthood under the constant threat of the demon he first encounters in the corpse of his dead Grandfather at the age of eight. The demon intends to kill him, however and whenever he chooses, and to ensure that the boy resides in Hell for all eternity. As the old saying goes, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger;” Anthony grows strong and determined to defeat the demon or, at the very least, to die fighting against it.

What inspired you when writing Mercy?   
I became inspired to write the best story I could, when the central theme of the story became clear to me: “Love really does conquer all.” And it is in finding the special love that completes us that hopefully brings us the person we can go through life with securely and happily. There was that, and the fact that I was a huge fan of ghost- and horror-stories as a kid. There were points in my writing of Mercy at which the story began to write itself and I just went along for the ride.

When writing Mercy did anything stand out as particularly challenging?  
Probably the most challenging thing about writing the book was coming up with the 17th Century Dutch immigrant chapters and weaving them into the story in a seamless and cohesive manner. I was never a huge fan of history, but I became intrigued when learning about the little-known story of the Dutch colonization of the New World. Incorporating that into the story of Anthony and the demon in a hopefully believable way was both difficult and satisfying.

What do you like to do when not writing?
My main pursuits outside of writing are music, photography and family. Also spending as much time as I can in Woodstock, NY with my wife Jan and our dog Jackson Brown.

Where can readers find out more about your work?
I have written two other books, a children’s book called Confuchsia: An Early Bird’s Tale, and Surviving the Frog Bog: Life, Love and Laughter in the Age of Aquarius, which are available, along with Mercy at Amazon and other booksellers. I’m on Facebook and Instagram, and currently at work on my fourth book, another supernatural thriller tentatively titled, The Walrus.
Finally, I have a blog at: