“… what you believe may not be what you believe it is.” ~David Cummins
This post is dedicated to David Cummins and his book “Higher Hell”, published on his blog “Higher Hell”. In one of his latest posts David says that from 2009, when he created the blog, to 2011 there was “non-existent” response to his posts with the chapters of the book. I know how every beginning is difficult, I had angels who guided me to make my blog work, I guess David didn’t have any help. But since December last year “Higher Hell” has received many likes, comments and followers and that is absolutely deserved, because it offers an interesting story and sense of humor you don’t find easily. I started reading the story about the demon Casmiel few months ago, I haven’t finished it yet, because there is a little time for sitting in front of the computer, but I am completely charmed by his writing and some of the themes he has included definitely give you food for thoughts.
This post is to spread the word about David and his book, visit “Higher Hell” and enjoy the dark, amusing ride. But before that, I’d like to share few words from David:
Who David is?
– I’m 40 years old and I’ve lived my whole life in the rural farming country of western New York State, USA. All my life I’ve wanted to be a writer, musician or artist. I started writing before I even knew how, by dictating stories for my mother to write for me. During and shortly after college, I wrote as a freelance journalist for a small local newspaper. I had a couple of poems published in 1997, and in 2008 I had a research article published in a regional history magazine. Music has always been a passion of mine, and my tastes in music have filtered their way into my writing with HIGHER HELL. On a more personal level about myself, I’m a divorced single father with a 13 year old son. Though divorced, my ex-wife is my absolute best friend in the entire world, which some people find odd.
About the idea of the book and the process of the writing?
– The idea for HIGHER HELL came about in 2008. Lots of things came together that year to inspire the idea for the story. My son and I watched the anime series Death Note repeatedly that year. I spent that summer reading the book “Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail” by Christopher Dawes and the books “Zaregoto: The Kubikiri Cycle” and “Death Note: Another Note” by Japanese author NisiOisiN. I was also watching a lot of TV documentaries about early Christianity and religion in general. Somehow, all of these things came together to spark the idea for HIGHER HELL. I started writing in October 2008 while sitting in my car, smoking on lunch breaks at work around 3 o’clock in the mornings (I work over night).
I had the general idea for the story mapped out in my mind, but I didn’t plan much out in advance. I just wrote whatever came to mind really. I’ve never made much use of outlines and such for my stories. I just plan out what I want to see happen in the story in my head. Before HIGHER HELL was finished, I already knew I wanted to make it a series and keep writing more stories about the lazy, foulmouthed demon and his goth chick friend. It was just so much fun to write, I didn’t want to stop! So I started planning out the ideas for the second and third books shortly before I finished the first.
I love punk rock, goth rock and both punk and goth style, so I infused those into the books. The title comes from the song “Higher Hell” by Echo and the Bunnymen. Several chapter titles throughout the series are taken from songs by bands like The Clash, Bauhaus, Rob Zombie, etc., and song lyrics by The Jesus and Mary Chain, Electrafixion, Marilyn Manson and others are quoted or paraphrased in dialog throughout the books.
What would you think the readers should extract as a message?
– The first thing that comes to mind is friendship. All through the series, the characters form friendships they never expected. Even cynical, lazy Casmiel discovers he has friends and that he would do anything to protect them. The other message hidden in the story is that what you believe may not be what you believe it is. The Bible has been re-written and re-edited countless times over the centuries, in Roman times, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, etc. Like in a game of Telephone, who can say just how much of the story has changed over the years? Many elements in my books are purposely meant to twist around what is commonly believed about Heaven, Hell, angels, demons, etc. to show that just maybe the things we believe we know are true are actually something misheard, mistranslated, missing parts that were forgotten, or just plain misunderstood. I certainly don’t mean to challenge anyone’s faith or tell them they’re wrong, but I think it is healthy food-for-thought.
Favorite part from the book?
I’m my own worst critic and for me, personally, I think the best parts are in the second and third books. But I guess my favorite parts of the fist book would be either when Casmiel first meets Gabby in the alley behind her apartment building, or when Gabby poses for Cas to make himself look human and he accidentally ends up naked. I love the part where she asks what his t-shirt says and he tells her “I spent an eternity in Hell and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”. I’ve actually thought about making my own shirt that says that in rune-like letters…
That would be all for now! Visit “Higher Hell” and spread the word about it through your blogs!
“Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.” Mark Twain
© 2012 Broken Sparkles