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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Have you ever read Dante's Inferno?


illustration by Gustav Dore
I am starting on the next draft edits of A Demon Born and I wonder how many of my readers would be familiar with the epic work of Dante Alighieri. I myself first read Inferno in high school. At the time, I did not fully understand the text, only that this was the version of Hell that now permeates our psyche - sinners damned to endless suffering, fiery pits filled with demons and monsters from our nightmares, and the head devil himself, Lucifer, presiding over it all.

When I read it again after college, I also studied on his life and the era that he lived. Through what I learned, I imagined Dante to be disenchanted in his old age; the burden of exile must have weighed heavily on him. He would have become quite bitter, and even possibly rather crotchety. So when I created his character for my first novel, Circles, I wanted him to be free to express his dissatisfaction with his world.
No, this is not how I envisioned Dante...

After writing the book, I discovered that Dante was in fact my favorite character. Even though he did not play a large part in the story, Dante's presence was needed to help the main character, Solus, understand his own choices and discover his own freedom to express his dissatisfaction with his circumstances. It was then I decided to "have an interview" with the demon Dante, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to our conversation in my head - from his irritated manner to his snide remarks!

THIS is how I envisioned Dante, with dragon wings!
And now I need to "have an interview" with you! Please take a moment to answer the simple poll below. Your answers will help guide me through the final edits of this prequel, A Demon Born. If most of you know of the great orator, then I will not add much more to his character. But if many of you have not read at least Inferno, or never heard of Dante Alighieri at all, then I will need to spend more time introducing him to you, for I would be upset with myself if my readers did not meet this great man-turned-demon properly! I appreciate your comments as well. When did you first hear of Dante or Inferno? Do you have a memorable part of the Divine Comedy (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradisio)? Start a conversation with me!