Carlo J Vella discusses The Book of Secrets and his writing experiences.
IAN. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
CV. I get inspired by the beauty that surrounds me, the magnificent history Europe offers and the wonderful tales of old that are narrated to me as I travel to unravel the hidden secrets that surrounds us all.
An English teacher living in Barcelona, Spain where not only do I teach foreign students the English language but also spend the rest of my time writing. Born in Australia, I have written 2 other books which unfortunately did not make it to the top best selling list. Isn't it everyone’s dream to write a best seller? Well, I'm still working on it and while I'm doing that, my time devoted to writing has been not only an adventure but an educational one at that, and to me that is just as good as having a number one best seller. The Book of Secrets was released in January 2010 and the follow up will be completed January 2011
Remember - Don't give up on your goal or your dream! A door is ready to be opened for you and when it does, don't hesitate! DO IT! GO FOR IT! The opportunity may only come once!
IAN. Tell us about The Book of Secrets
CV. It is a story about a book predating the bible.
A young man whose life seems to be in turmoil meets with a mysterious man who guides him through the streets of Rome and Barcelona to locate a book that holds a deadly secret. The book was guarded by the hands of the Templers for they knew it’s power and so did many others who wanted the book but peril struck the ones who attempted to locate the Book of Secrets.
The Vatican knows of its origin and so does St Augustine an order run by a mad man who has the hunger for ultimate power and who will do anything to get his hands on the tome.
The battle of all battles is closing near and all they need is someone to open the gates and let them through. The war in heaven.
Be careful what you hear, Angels do lie!
IAN. How long did it take to write the book?
CV. It took me around six years to write the book. The research is what took up most of the time and of course having a full time job, weekends were the only days I found I had a little time to write.
IAN. Six years! That's amazing. What inspired you to write the book?
CV. As a little boy I used to go to Sunday school and hear stories about Angels and Satan, stories that scarred the life out of me. I was doing some research about The Templar Knights when suddenly I had this idea I wanted to write a story and make it excitingly “strange” by adding some unusual elements to the story.
IAN. Talk about the writing process. Do you write at night or in the morning?
CV. I prefer to write at night. It’s quiet, no disturbances and my muse seems to come to me at that time. Also I work as an English teacher during the day.
IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?
CV. I wing it. All my stories have been winged.
IAN. How is your book different from others in your genre?
CV. Good question. I write horror/historical fiction. I send the reader back in time and when they return to the present, they bring with them the history they had encountered. I like to bring history to the present and have the scenes act out in present day style. I also like to add some Pagan presence into the story and maybe a little controversy (LOL). It already caused some controversy due to the homosexual content it has between religious characters. I say no more!
IAN. Is your book published in print, e-book or both?
CV. Both formats are available. There is also 2 different versions of the book in print. You have your standard print and the “easy to read” version where the print is in 14 point, nice and big.
IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
CV. Enjoyment. I have had readers who were offended by the book and others who were totally gripped by it and wanting the next chapter to be written. We can please everyone. There will be good and bad reviews so I only hope that the reader gets entertained by what they read and that is all.
IAN. Where can we go to buy your book?
A. Any book shop but I tell readers that’s it’s cheaper if they get the book off my web site.
IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
CV. There are 2 novels I’m working on. The sequel to the Book of Secrets which is called “The 13 Tortures” It is the story of the patron saint of Barcelona and the other which has no ties with the previous books called “Voices”, a supernatural tale. You can find information on these book by going to http://carlojvella.blogspot.com/
IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?
IAN. Thank you and good luck with your book.
The Book of Secrets
468 and 286 pages
Lulu and Equilibrium Books
“My father was a Druid, and I travelled to a number of countries and studied with monks and other religious leaders within The Craft. I was ordained to be the next high priest, but I did not let that happen.”
“Druids in this century? Are you serious?”
“Oh, yes! That’s like asking if witches exist. They do, of course, but not the fairytale types society imagines. We all know that the witch trials were conducted by religious fanatics who believed the devil walked among them recruiting helplessly foolish and weak woman. These people were lovers of the Earth, used what Mother Nature grew for them to aid in everyday life – quiet folk who minded their own business, kept to themselves. What caused the problem was that they did not believe in any type of religion. However, the Church and its leaders did not like this. Were they losing their flock? Maybe yes, and they could not have nonbelievers within their social order. I am sure you know the rest.”
“Like witches, Druids were shunned and were known as non-Christians, and therefore, setting foot on holy Christian land was forbidden. Anyone who was not Christian could very well get themselves in some trouble. People in high authority, like the Templars, got their way if they felt the least bit threatened.
Michael paused staring into Karl’s eyes and carefully watching for any change of expression. There was interest but also confusion and to Michael this was expected.
“They were founded in the Holy Land in 1119 by two French knights, who swore to devote themselves to the protection of Christian pilgrims visiting Jerusalem and the holy places. Crusaders had captured Jerusalem in 1099 and then struggled to establish an effective military and political structure to protect their conquests. The contribution of these founding knights was tiny, but they quickly captured the imagination of the Western Christian world. Soon, they were given a base in the al-Aqsa Mosque, which Christians believed had been the site of the Temple of Solomon. They received papal recognition at the council of Troyes in Champagne in 1129, where they were described as a military order, a quite unique institution at the time, for they not only swore the usual monastic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, but also made a fourth key promise — to defend the holy places from the infidel.
“From there, they grew rapidly into an international order, receiving lands in the West that they developed into a great network of preceptories. This enabled them to supply men and money for the cause of the Holy Land, as well as to offer a range of services to crusaders, most importantly with finances, a role that they expanded into something like a modern banking service.
“Such an order might seem invulnerable, but by the early fourteenth century, the Knights Templar faced a serious crisis. In 1291, the Christians had been driven out of Palestine by the Mamluks of Egypt and were thus obliged to wage the holy war from their remaining base in Cyprus. This expulsion was particularly serious for the Templars, whose prestige and functions were so closely identified with the defense of the sites associated with Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. They were desperate to see papal plans for a new crusade take concrete form. In 1307, in response to a request from Pope Clement V, James of Molay, the grand master, they therefore traveled to the West to advise the papacy and gather support in the courts of Christendom.
“Thus, on October 12, 1307, James of Molay was present in Paris, holding one of the cords of the pall at the funeral of Catherine, wife of Charles of Valois, brother of King Philip IV ‘the Fair‘ of France. However, the master had no idea what awaited him. Without warning, royal officials, acting on secret orders from Philip, fell upon the Templars living in France in a coordinated operation that took hundreds into custody. The order for the arrests said that the Templars were not a force dedicated to the defense of the Holy Land, willing to endure martyrdom for their beliefs, they were, in fact, apostates who denied Christ, spat on crucifixes, engaged in indecent kissing and compulsory sodomy, and worshipped idols.
“Although rulers outside France initially found the allegations difficult to believe and the pope was outraged because he had not been consulted, at first sight the charges seemed justified. Most of the Templars confessed to one or more of the allegations, including Molay himself, who repeated his admissions in public in the presence of a select gathering of university theologians. In the end, neither the papal attempt to take over the trial nor a robust defense of the order led by two Templar lawyer-priests could shake the impact of these first confessions. In March of 1312, at the Council of Vienne, the pope felt obliged to suppress the order after nearly two centuries of service to the Christian faith. Two years later, on March 14, 1314, Molay and Geoffrey of Charney, preceptor of Normandy, were burnt to death as relapsed heretics on an island in the Seine in the center of Paris
“The trial caused a sensation and remains a subject of fascination and speculation seven centuries later. The circumstances are intriguing, not the least because they evoke such striking modern parallels; Stalinist show trials and McCarthyite inquisitions have their medieval precursors. Philip ‘the Fair’ himself was certainly motivated to suppress the order by an interest in their property, for he presided over a regime in constant financial crisis. Yet as a fanatically pious and often credulous king, he may have genuinely believed that his realm was threatened by a secret anti-Christian conspiracy, which it was his duty to crush.
“Few historians today doubt that the charges were concocted and the confessions obtained by torture, but Templar innocents have been given no protection against modern sensationalism, for the raw material offered by the order’s spectacular demise is too tempting to ignore. Among the first to exploit were the eighteenth-century Freemasons. The Freemasons adopted the legend of the murder of Hiram, King of Tyre, who was employed to build Solomon’s Temple and was murdered because he would not reveal Masonic secrets. According to the Freemasons’ version of history, the Templars were abolished because, as occupants of Solomon’s Temple, they held key knowledge that could potentially discredit both Church and state.
“As myth has it, on that March evening in 1314, unique knowledge was supposedly handed down to the care of future generations.
Karl’s’ hand moved to his chin and questioned Michael suspiciously. “You seem to know a lot about the Templars. Are you a historian or something?”
Michael avoided the question and raised his right hand to quiet him. “You will find out that there is a puzzle that is yet to be put together. Throughout time, there have been people that have gotten close but never succeeded.”
“And your point?”
“You, Karl, are the one who may solve that puzzle.”
Karl shook his head in disbelief. “No, you are crazy.” He stood to leave when Michael gripped him by the wrist.
“Fire and Air I summon thee,
A stranger from afar, he will come to me.
Eyes mysterious though they are brown,
Features of an angel, a halo for a crown.
Sweet as can be, Loving arms
A mind full of history and a heart filled with charm.
A Knight, A prince, Angelic is he,
In all it harms none, so mote it be.”
“I am sure you remember that,” Michael said, loosening his grip. “It was your wish, your call to me, your every thought on that night, the one you sent out to the universe. Remember, not everything can be as it seems. There are always repercussions, and one has to deal with them.”
“Who are you?” Karl asked cautiously, slowly sitting back down.
“I’m your angel.”