Sarwat Chadda is the author of Devil's Kiss and it's recently released sequel, Dark Goddess. Both books are about the Knight's Templar and its youngest member, Billi. Today, Sarwat is here to discuss the use of religion in his books.
I’ve always been fascinated by religion and mythology. I remember devouring the Greek myths when I was a kid, drawing Theseus fighting the minotaur, or Jason shooting arrows or Achilles duelling with Hector. I read about the Norse gods, the inescapable Ragnarok and the trickster Loki. Celtic myths followed with the dreaded Morrigan and then there was Indian mythology, the Arabian Nights, Egyptian, the list goes on and on.
What’s weird is after leaving my childhood soo far behind, those are the stories I still love.
The second interest, passion, is about religion. Not any specific, but all of them. Now I was brought up as a Muslim in a predominately Christian country so those are the two I’m most familiar with, and hence draw upon most heavily.
And you know what? They ain’t so different.
The more you discover stories, the more you realise they’ve been repeated elsewhere. Islam, Christianity claim a common Jewish origin which itself borrows heavily from earlier Middle-Eastern mythologies and histories. There’s been more than one baby found in the bull rushes and the December 25th is a popular birthday for various gods.
What’s interested me is the commonality between faiths. There’s enough noise going around about how different we all are, but I just don’t see it.
The Knights Templar were fanatical Christian warriors, but were betrayed and destroyed by the Church itself. Fellow Christians did to them what Saladin himself could not.
Hence Billi SanGreal, brought up as a Muslim and as a Christian. There’s more in common between the two religions than most people think, or perhaps would like to believe.
Mythology is stronger than history. The stories we believe about ourselves are more powerful than the proof that is lain before us. For better or for worse, we are creatures of stories, not so rational after all. We want to world to fill us with wonder, with the not-knowing. How stale it would all be if we understood it all.
So, when I decided to write Devil’s Kiss and Dark Goddess, I wanted the stories themselves to have a larger than life, mythic quality to them. Billi and her fellow knights live in a world of high stakes and of heroic proportions, I make no apologies about that. It’s what I love reading, so that’s what I love writing.
So, if you’ve read enough high-school dramas and stories set in small towns, and are looking for something mythic, something epic, I may have just that something for you.