Well, not really. The only Dan Brown novel I’ve read was his first, Digital Fortress, and I wasn’t exactly blown away by it. I am, however, a fan of the film adaptations of The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. And the occult thriller I’m working on has some things in common with those films — in particular, the piecing together of obscure clues in ancient occult documents and a monastic setting (of sorts).
There, the similarity probably ends. Murderous Requiem (my novel) doesn’t have much action. I’m actually one of those freaks who finds action sequences dull in both novels and films. Putting the pieces together is what I loved in Da Vinci Code — the action sequences just interrupted the interesting stuff, in my opinion. I do have a bit of action planned when the hero confronts the killer, but the story is more brooding and mysterious (I hope) than “thrilling.”
Whereas Dan Brown has been making a name for himself by dredging up things the Catholic Church would rather not see dredged up, then putting them together in bizarre ways, my novel is centered around an enclave of ceremonial magicians, loosely modeled on the writings of Aleister Crowley and the Golden Dawn.
The research is a blast, connecting the works of Plato (5th -4th century B.C.), Marcilio Ficino and Johannes Ockeghem in the 15th century, John Dee and Ned Kelley in the 16th century, and, of course, Crowley and the Golden Dawn in the 19th and 20th centuries. I’m digging into Plato’s Theory of Forms, theories of the bodily humors in the Renaissance, Ficino’s theory of musical influence on the soul, and John Dee and Ned Kelley’s channeling of the language they called “Enochian” — the angelic first language, which Dee claimed was spoken in the Garden of Eden.
This type of research can go on forever, of course. But I learned long ago that you can generally write the story, if you have the major points of your research laid out. The details can always be used to polish later, and rarely change the story drastically, so not having the research completed is no excuse for not writing. Anyway, I read about all of these things when I was a college student, so I have a general idea what I’m talking about, even if the details are fuzzy.
I’m at about 40,000 words now. I’m shooting for at least 60k with this one, because I’m hoping Dreamspinner will publish it and I’ll get a paperback out of it. This is assuming it doesn’t come out to be a boring, incomprehensible piece of crap.
If that happens, I’ll submit it to Hollywood.