Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Declan Finn, author of A Pius Man

Author Bio:
Declan Finn is a refugee from a PhD program at Fordham, having already escaped with a Masters in history from St. John's University (Jamaica, NY), as well as a BA in history and another in philosophy.  He lives in the back end of New York City, and you can never find him with a GPS, a road map and a pack of hunting dogs -- just ask the people who've been invited over.  He's been trained in hand to hand combat at three of Long Island's elite schools, and he has no criminal background, or birth certificate. He was once charged with being a terrorist, but those records are sealed.

Title: A Pius Man
Author: Declan Finn
ISBN: 1482553899
Page count: 283
Genre: Thriller
Price: 14.95

Tell us about your book:
A Pius Man is where facts are slipped in between the gunshots. If you're sick of authors who feed you BS history, and then play vague about what's real and what's made up, you want A Pius Man -- a novel that originally had footnotes.

The premise:
As the head of Vatican security, Giovanni Figlia must protect a new, African Pope who courts controversy every other day. The Pope's latest project is to make Pius XII, "Hitler's Pope," a saint. Things haven't gotten better since the Pope employed American mercenary Sean Ryan. Then a body fell onto the Vatican doorstep. Soon, a pattern emerges-- people who go into the Pius XII historical archives are dying. Each time, a priest has been in the background-- a priest close to the Pope. One of the victims was an al-Qaeda operative, drawing Scott "Mossad" Murphy of Israeli intelligence to Rome. Soon, Ryan, Murphy and Figlia must join forces to unravel the mystery around the Vatican, as even the man Giovanni is supposed to protect looks like a suspect. To get out of this alive, they must discover if Hitler's Pope was a Nazi collaborator, or a pious man.

How long did it take to write the book?
Writing the book was the easy part -- that only took four months, and that was while I was finishing my masters degree.  Problem was, it was over 200,000 words, had dozens of characters, and had a massive deus ex machina to finish.  Now, the one book is an entire trilogy, each volume being a self contained story.

What inspired you to write the book?
Several works of fiction centered around Pope Pius XII. I had just finished a graduate paper on the man, so when I started reading the thrillers centered around him, I thought "Wow, they're lying. And I know they're lying because I've read the bibliography being used -- everything being passed off as fact directly contradicts events that everyone agrees on."  Then it occurred to me that more people are probably learning more about history from the Da Vinci Code and the rip-offs than books written by actually historians. I dislike liars and bullies, and I think the dishonest should be taken out to a metaphorical back alley and thrashed, soundly.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
In this case, the research came first -- as noted, I did a graduate paper on Pius XII before writing the novel.  I went through countless hours of searching for articles on microfiche -- which is never as easy as the older movies make it seem -- more dusty old books than an Indiana Jones film, maps of Rome, file footage of Pope Pius XII, Nazi diaries ... it was quite ridiculous.  

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I hope they come away with some slight understanding of how real historians work, that they enjoy a different point of view of a man labeled "Hitler's Pope" .... and that they have such a good time that they insist that ten of their friends buy the novel. I'll be happy if they learn something, even if they don't know it. 

Excerpt from book:
A Pious Obsession
David Gerrity had lived with eighty-five years of obsession.
He had been obsessed with learning, which brought him into Harvard; history, which provided him with his Ph.D.; and, later, a wide range of other subjects, disciplining himself to no more than three or four obsessions at a time.
His family was another obsession. When he married, it was to a woman whose interests were as wide-ranging as his, which allowed her to at least partially understand what he was talking about. Between them they raised three daughters and two sons, each of whom was hatched, then matched, then finally dispatched from the home to do likewise.
His third permanent obsession was his religion, primarily in its philosophical aspects. He had even read the twelve shelf-feet of the fifty-volume Thomas Aquinas philosophical opus Summa Theologica during one summer break.
His final obsession varied; unlike many academics who knew one thing and wrote on the same topic over and over, once he had exhausted a subject, it amused him to go back to the student side of the desk. In that fashion, he earned his second and third doctorates in sacred theology and in law. He had made a modest fortune on his four-volume history, Lies Historians Tell: From Herodotus and Thucydides to Leni Riefenstahl and Michael Moore. This revision of the revisionists armed a generation of smartass high-schoolers and undergraduates to challenge their professors with all the far-more-interesting facts the teachers left out of the official version. Gerrity was thus superbly equipped by training, talent, time and treasure to pursue his latest obsession.
His latest interest would become his last.
The final obsession explained the pile of books in Gerrity’s hotel room in 1
Rome. He bellowed “GOD FORSAKEN LIAR! SUFFER ETERNAL FREEZER BURN!!!” as he hurled yet another volume with the force of a clay pigeon at a skeet shoot. It smacked against a wall, the impact sounding like a gunshot.
In Gerrity’s mind, all of these books had been flawed. He had done exhaustive research on the records of the period, so he knew the authors had lied. He knew about what happened back then: the backroom deals, the failed assassination attempts, the intrigue, and the incompetent spy games they played, as well as all of the successful ones. Research was made harder because boasting was not in the nature of intelligence. He knew almost a dozen condemnations by heart, as well as how the words were twisted. It had taken 50 years to prove that Alger Hiss was an enemy agent, that the U.S.S.R. was a paper tiger, that Sacco and Vanzetti were guilty…This would be done also.
His new obsession was to correct one simple point of history; to settle the matter once and for all. There were few final victories, but to settle this for one generation would be enough—two generations had been poisoned already.
He rolled out of bed, ignoring his body’s screams of protest as his arthritis flared up once more. The eighty-five-year-old had focused his attention on collecting facts; pain could be attended to later, assuming he noticed it.
He grabbed his portable scanner and plugged it into his laptop, wanting to read all he had collected yesterday. When they allowed him into the library, he brought his scanner, as he would not have been allowed to leave with any documents—an official policy he disliked, but one that seemed to follow him everywhere he went. Technically, he wasn’t allowed to scan anything either, but he cheated. He had scanned each piece of paper so he could read them later, saving his eyesight and time in the vault. It had been a very well-lit vault, but he didn’t like being locked in.
The day before, he had accidentally rammed his head against a top shelf. The shelf came loose and nearly decapitated him. Inside the shelf was a narrow, hollowed-out slit, where he had spotted one more piece of paper. It had been properly preserved, like the other documents, but who put papers inside of a shelf, not on it? Like every other document, he had scanned it, put it back in its proper place, replaced the shelf, and then forgot about it until now.
That image was the last one he had scanned, and the first one he looked at now.
Gerrity’s eyes widened and he stood, suddenly knocking the chair backwards. If this were true, he was going to have to change everything; the 2
title of the book, the premise, even his own beliefs.
Damn it, everything’s gone to Hell.
Gerrity whirled, headed for the door, intent on demanding to be let back into the vault, going back for the original paper. If this was correct, and if he could find data to support this, he would bring down an entire institution with what he knew. He would grind it under his feet, burn it and scatter the ashes, and every last member. He was going to metaphorically kill them all, show them for what they really were. He hadn’t exactly intended on doing it when he had arrived, but now, he would have no choice.
Gerrity worked the locks and wrenched open the door. Standing on the other side was someone from room service, pushing a full dinner cart.
“Io ho anchĂ©!” he shouted. I’ve got something!
The bellman blinked, and raised the water bottle in his right hand. David looked down and saw that the mouth of the empty water bottle had been taped to something else. A gun.
Room service fired one bullet into Gerrity’s stomach at an upward angle, letting the .22-caliber round ricochet off of the back of his ribcage, into the breastbone, finally lodging in the knotted muscles of his left shoulder. Gerrity staggered back and was shot again, this time under the chin; this bullet did the job, bouncing off of the back of his skull, through the frontal lobe, ricocheted a final time, to finally embed itself in the top of the spinal column. Gerrity landed with a light thump.
Giacomo dragged the cart into Gerrity’s hotel room and closed the door, heading directly for the laptop. His improvised silencer would be good for at least one more shot. He raised his gun to finish the job. He had been instructed not to read anything Gerrity had left behind, just destroy it.
Clementi disobeyed, having caught part of one sentence, and then again, and again…Clementi stopped and stared at the screen. The information in front of him was impossible. Perfectly, absolutely, utterly impossible. He could not believe some of the names on that screen. He could not believe the events it described. And he could not make another move without passing the information along.
Clementi whipped out his cell phone and hit redial so he could immediately contact his superior.
“Is it done?”
“Gerrity’s dead, but the evidence—you must read it. We can’t work for him anymore. Do you know who he is? What he is?”
“Yes, I do,” his superior answered.
A moment later, three sticks of dynamite underneath the dining cart 3
exploded. The concussive wave slammed into Clementi like a giant smacking him with sheet metal. The concussion wave sent the computer across the room, and the assassin out the window, smashing apart all of the glass, shattering both legs against the frame as he fell to his death on top of a car below.
Several blocks away, the assassin’s superior officer, and his murderer, calmly strode out of the cafĂ© onto Via Ottaviano, tucking his cell phone into an inside pocket. He looked out and smiled on the day, glancing over the columns of the Vatican. Rome was rather pretty at this time of year.
“Excuse me!”
He turned, and smiled at an approaching mother and infant. “Yes?”
“Father, would you bless my baby?”

Where can we go to buy your book?, the store, Barnes and Noble should have it soon enough.
A Pius Man comes in paperback:
Or kindle:

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
A Pius Man comes in paperback:
Or kindle:

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