Interview with James Rollins

BLOOD INFERNAL is the third installment in the bestselling gothic series about the battle between good versus evil in an attempt to save mankind from the “Gates of Hell.” Rollins skillfully has the series heroes: The Knight of Christ, Rhun Korza; The Warrior of Man, Jordan Stone; and the Woman of Learning, Erin Granger, along with the person able to connect key information, Countess Elizabeth battling the antagonists, a demon named Legion, and the devil himself, Lucifer.

Elise Cooper: At the beginning of each chapter there is a verse from the Bible. Why?

James Rollins: The Bible scriptures were used to connect biblical history to the present day, an introduction of sort to each chapter, an echo of the context of that chapter. This is a way of showing how the storyline is based on real Christian thought. Unlike the other series I write I did not put in at the end a ‘what’s true and what’s not.’ A lot of the details with regard to references of the Bible and policy procedures of the Vatican are pretty accurate. My cousin is a Priest who helped me with the information. I guess it can best be described as an alternate history with regard to the Church.

EC: This plot is classic Rollins in that it combines adventure, action, history, science, and some religion. Do you agree?

JR: I write three different series, but they all have the flavor of the same story line where I use fiction intertwined with taking science and history two steps to the right, left, or forward. This is my passion.

James RollinsEC: How did you do it in this story?

JR: Readers would have to accept the existence of vampires and then see where Christ would go with them. Would he save them or damn them? It stems from the original sin that we are born with. Vampires are similarly affected when they are attacked and converted against their will. They become creatures of it, a parallel of sorts with original sin.

EC: My favorite character is Elizabeth. How would you describe her?

JR: Rebecca and I feel the same way. She was fun to write. Elizabeth has a practical immorality. She had a deep love for her family whom she lost, and now in the present day tries to rebuild it with Tommy and Rhun. There is a self-defining morality that steers her. She turned her interest in medicine, science, and healing into using experiments in an attempt to understand her vampire nature. Her morals are based on saving the ones she loves. She was not evil for evil sake but has her own moralistic needle.

EC: It seems that the number three is symbolic. True?

JR: Three is significant in religion, the Holy Ghost, Father, and Son. In the book, there are the three angels, three temptations, three Sanguinists needed to open certain doors, the three heroes: the Woman of Learning, the Warrior, and the Knight of Christ. Finally, this series had three books.

EC: Can you give a heads up about your next book?

JR: It will be a Sigma novel, THE BONE LABYRINTH, which explores if the ends justify the means. What is being done to animals in the name of science to save lives versus what is torture. As always I write a tug and pull plot centered on an adventure story. I was influenced by Michael Crichton who wrote adventure stories centered on morality. He takes these stories and shines a light on a deeper issue.

EC: Do you also touch on the aspect of euthanizing animals since many pet owners agonize over this?

JR: I came to grips with that as a vet where my policy is to never do it to a healthy dog/cat. For me, an important factor is what is their quality of life since they cannot vocalize to us what they are feeling. If they are not eating or moving over a period of time that is a sign. Part of the responsibility of a pet owner is to know when to let go. I do understand how some cannot see beyond their immense grief. I had that issue with my own dog, Penny, who had liver cancer. It is tough to let go.

EC: Since we are talking about future books is there any chance you will write a new series with Erin, Jordan, Rhun, and Elizabeth?

JR: We have ideas going forward. We left a few scraps to work on with this book, but right now Rebecca and I have our own projects. We are definitely considering a future story arc set in the same universe with these characters.