Daniel Louis Crumpton’s new novel, Then Came the Flood is set to be released before the end of the month. Dorian Flagg continues his interview with the author diving into the story of the book as well as the different elements which weave together between the covers. To read the first half of the interview click here.
Dorian: Alright, we should probably talk about your novel, huh?
D.L. Crumpton: You’re probably right.
Dorian: Then Came the Flood is the name of the book, and a lot of our subscribers are going to be surprised that this is not a political book at all is it?
D.L. Crumpton: No. Not really, but any true writer will tell you that there’s always more just beneath the surface.
Dorian: Now, I’ve actually read it and don’t want to accidentally spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t so why don’t you just pretend that I haven’t read it and tell me what this mammoth story is about.
D.L. Crumpton: No, that’s okay.
Dorian: Are you serious?
D.L. Crumpton: No, not really.
Dorian: Ok, because I was just gonna pack my stuff up and make dust trails if you were.
D.L. Crumpton: And all would have been for naught.
Dorian: All right, let’s stop screwing around. Tell me about the book.
D.L. Crumpton: The book, okay, where to start? You know, you have this stuff all scripted out in your head beforehand and it sounds real good up there but it never fails, when someone asks me; all that great descriptive prose goes out the window.
Dorian: You’ll do fine.
D.L. Crumpton: Thanks for the support.
Dorian: From the heart, man.
D.L. Crumpton: Anyway, Then Came the Flood tells the story of an event hinted at in many of the world’s greatest and oldest texts. If you compare the different origin stories from across the globe, from culture to culture, you can glean this narrative that leads you to a point shortly after history began when a cataclysm occurred which changed everything. It changed the environment, it changed the course of civilization, and it changed man to the extent of how man lived on the earth. Most, if not all of the cultures in the world say this great event was a global flood that broke up the continents and separated us as a singular people. Now, that story is everywhere. Doesn’t matter where you go; be it Ireland or Africa, embedded deep within every culture this story comes through in one form or another. A lot of people know this happened, maybe they haven’t really dwelt on it, but it’s there.
Dorian: Genetic memory?
D.L. Crumpton: Yeah, like genetic memory. We may squabble over the details of a distant, earth changing event in the past, but all of us know that things weren’t always like they are now and my, isn’t this earth broken up a whole lot. But for me, it isn’t such a fascination that such an event did take place as much as it is why it took place. Well when I started researching, specifically Genesis chapter six in the old testament of the Bible, this whole new story began to unfold. It isn’t a very overt story as much as it sort of stays hidden, just behind the primary narrative of the Bible. Basically in interpreting the Bible there are, in general two views of what brought about a world wide flood. One is that man simply became wicked as hell and God hit the reboot button. That never sat well with me because…well turn on the news some time. So this other view, which more and more people are looking at nowadays, is that the actual reason God destroyed the Earth was because of a group of rebellious angels called the Watchers. In Genesis they’re referred to as the ‘Sons of God’, and apparently these beings were either all male, or for some reason the allure of human women was compelling enough to make them forsake their station in the heavens and come down to Earth.
Dorian: Are we talking about the fall of Lucifer and all the angels he snatched down with him?
D.L. Crumpton: The texts are kind of ambiguous if this is the fall or not. Some ancient texts might seem to hint that this event was, but in my opinion, not enough to hold up your hat. Most of the texts lead you to believe that this was a completely separate group of angelic beings that broke away, which makes it all the more intriguing. And when you go down that road of interpretation it takes you to some fascinating places. Who were these Watchers? Did they really turn their back on Heaven because of the beauty of women, or was more going on there? Well the Genesis account seems intentionally veiled to a degree. It says it happened, but doesn’t really flesh it out to a great extent. If you go into Jewish antiquity and start poking around texts such as the Book of Enoch, or the Book of Giants; peripheral documents not canonized, that’s when the plot really thickens. Now this whole new world starts to open up where these Watchers cohabited with the daughters of men and hybridization occurred. These women who caught the eyes of the Watchers started giving birth to what the texts call the nephilim, or the earth born. The nephilim, basically were multiple different breeds depending on the combination of female and Watcher. Some came out looking very human but had, say, wings or other animal features. Others grew to be giants upward of thirty or so feet tall. A lot of these older texts describe a world that was so fantastical, it was very much like reading Greek or Roman mythology with the demi gods spawned by the Olympians.
Dorian: Except this stuff is coming from Judeo-Christian sources?
D.L. Crumpton: Yeah, yeah. This stuff is in the old testament, and what makes it even more interesting is that the new testament talks about this stuff too as if it were actually history. Jesus quotes from the Book of Enoch as well as both Paul and the book of Jude, if I’m not mistaken; and it’s the Book of Enoch that really gives you the meat and potatoes of this whole ordeal of the Watchers and the nephilim. I mean it reads like the dark side of the Mount Olympus story except in the Book of Enoch these guys come down on Mount Hermon and basically rule from there.
Dorian: Having all sorts of twisted kids and what not.
D.L. Crumpton: Yeah, the Watchers weren’t as benevolent as some of the ancient gods were. According to the peripheral accounts they coerced mankind into worshiping them rather than the One True God and taught them all sorts of things we weren’t suppose to know.
Dorian: Such as?
D.L. Crumpton: How to make weapons, drugs, warfare, astrology, alchemy and kill kids in the womb. The Book of Enoch even says that women wearing makeup was their idea.
Dorian: So it wasn’t all bad?
D.L. Crumpton: Yeah, I’m a little conflicted on that one too.
Dorian: So basically these guys came down and started interfering where they shouldn’t have and chaos ensues?
D.L. Crumpton: Right. Once the nephilim began to multiply it became more and more difficult for the humans that worshipped these things to provide them with food and water and essentially a wide scale famine began. After that the nephilim just turned to us for food. Enoch says that the world was becoming so bleak and barren that eventually the nephilim resorted to cannibalism, so what all these documents are really painting a picture of is degradation of an empire from within. Only this picture has a lot of crazy, metaphysical, mythical elements to it.
Dorian: And what I think is great about it is that all of that is just the back drop of the book.
D.L. Crumpton: Yeah, all of that is just the setting for the story. So basically you’re in that time somewhere between Adam and Eve being expelled from the garden, and the deluge.
Dorian: But what drives the story is Chema.
D.L. Crumpton: Chema drives the story, yes. Even though the story is set in a kind of sci fifantasy feeling world, all of that really serves to kind of accentuate the inner thing happening within the main character of the book.
Dorian: Tell us what the inner thing is.
D.L. Crumpton: Well the story picks up in Chema’s later years. You know before the flood people were said to have lived nearly a century so he’s on up there. Now whenever you read Bible stories that took place before the flood you always have this image of those guys being frail and shriveled but there are some very interesting theories and models out there suggesting that the Earth was once, sort of, enshrined by a canopy of water and that possibly had interesting effects on human biology.
Dorian: Like being able to live eight, nine hundred years?
D.L. Crumpton: Well some people who kick these types of ideas around say that if the Earth had once been protected by an outer globe of water then harmful radiation might have bounced off its surface and gone out into space. If that be the case then even at eight or nine hundred years old a person would’ve been very physically fit and still more capable than we are in our prime today.
Dorian: So Chema is an old but capable guy.
D.L. Crumpton: Right. Well he’s certainly more capable than most, which the story dives into deeper, but the fact of the matter is that his body is starting to fail him. He can feel age gnawing at him which isn’t the greatest of things for him because his entire life has been dedicated to a singular goal which sort of demands that he be in charge of his body rather than feeling restrained by its weaknesses. He’s a man of loss. That’s very clear from the beginning of the book. Something happened to this man. Something was done to him or something was taken from him that has just been a vacuum in the center of his chest for as long as he can remember. He attributes this loss to the Watchers. Somehow or another their actions affected Chema in such a profound way that he’s lived a life consumed with this drive for recompense. Up until the point the story begins that method of revenge has been by hunting and slaughtering the sons of the Watchers; the nephilim.
Dorian: You can feel that when you read it, that there’s a lot of history to this guy already but very little of that makes its way into this particular story.
D.L. Crumpton: A little here and there, but for the most part whenever the reader finds Chema its pretty much at a point in his life when he’s made up his mind about how much longer he can do what he does and finally he’s seeking some resolution to it all.
Dorian: And that resolution involves one Watcher in particular.
D.L. Crumpton: Yeah, he has a very low view of all the Watchers, but one called Asael is really who he wants to settle up with. Asael is the one directly responsible for this pain Chema has bottled up and the story begins when Chema decides the time has come for him to face this angelic Watcher toe to toe. He figures he’s getting old, sooner or later he won’t be able to harness this great strength and skill he has with dignity anymore so he’d rather go down in a blaze of glory because one thing is certain; a human doesn’t stand a chance against a Watcher.
Dorian: So we pick up with Chema knowingly marching to his death?
D.L. Crumpton: He knows that once he reaches the top of Mount Hermon he probably isn’t coming down, right. Of course Chema’s at the base of the mountain in the first chapter and the book is nearly five hundred pages so nothing so simple. Early in the book Chema finds out that the Watchers have left the mountain unexpectedly and apparently in a panic, which is odd since these guys have no natural predators. Some of the women left behind at the ruins on top of the mount fill him in that something is stirring in the heavens far above the waters in the sky…
Dorian: You went with the water canopy thing?
D.L. Crumpton: Yeah, in the book the Earth does have a globe of water around it like a protective atmosphere and so for humans it’s like being in the womb. They really don’t have a firm understanding of the planets and the stars and what have you because their perception of them is still a little fuzzy. This is another advantage the Watchers have over them because they understand the cosmos very intimately and obsess over it like someone with obsessive compulsive disorder on steroids. In the story, and I think in the ancient texts too, the Watchers are very extreme beings. They love deeper than we do. They hate deeper than we do. All of their qualities are like ours only way to the extreme. That in mind, and the fact that these guys came from …well…somewhere out there, they pay close attention to the movement of astrological bodies. They understand that the universe is like an unimaginably big clock or machine and every piece is serving a purpose to keep things in a balance.
Dorian: And these women on top of the mountain tell him the Watchers see some strange stuff going on in the solar system, like something is coming or something is going to happen. This is where the engine of the story revs up because from that point on Chema is basically doing some globe-trotting in this whole world the Watchers have created.
D.L. Crumpton: Yup, adventure time sort of in the spirit of Homer and works of that nature. Only with the back drop of the Judeo-Christian texts, it’s a much grimmer and uglier world he has to travel through. Chema pretty much serves as the constant from the first chapter to the last page but through him the reader comes across a lot of other characters that, in one way or another, directly affect where he has to go next or what he has to do next. When I first started writing this thing I was hell bent on making sure there was no filler, no wasted words pushing a page count. Sometimes in novels you can pick that up, when the author writes a scene that really serves no other purpose than to pass a little time or form a bridge from the last scene to the upcoming scene. I didn’t want to do that at all because that feels like stealing to me so I wanted to make sure that every single scene propelled the story forward in some way. I wanted it to be very rich, very aesthetic, very visual but most importantly I wanted it to feel very fast paced.
Dorian: When I read it I could almost hear a clock ticking, like there’s this sense of urgency lingering in the background.
D.L. Crumpton: Good, that’s what I wanted the reader to feel. Like time is running out. It was a thin line to walk because I wanted this to be a fast paced, very engrossing story but not so much at the expense of the characters coming across as not real or cardboard. I say that tongue and cheek, some of the characters couldn’t possibly be real; what I mean is I didn’t want them to come across as if they had no depth or personality to them. Especially Chema because really this story is about him and his own kind of obsession with holding onto to this hatred he has. It’s like a security blanket, all the pain and the heartache. In one part of the book he says ‘That hatred is my food and my drink and the air that I breathe and there is no sea that contains enough of their blood to quench that hatred’, …that pretty much sums up where he’s at and of course it’s this obsession that has made him live a very tragic kind of life.
Dorian: Well I think you pulled that off well. All of the characters, I thought, really came alive from the page and you could tell that even though some of them only share a page or two together they go way back with one another. Of course you mentioned one of my favorite parts of the book a second ago when you talked about the blood.
D.L. Crumpton: Oh, the action stuff? Yeah, I’m a fan of those big, sweeping, action films where there’s just so much going on the camera can’t get the whole shot. So there’s a lot of what I call, wide shots, throughout the book whenever the story puts Chema in one impossible situation after the other and the reader has to really have a broad imaginative canvas in their head to see the scope of what’s going on. When I write, usually what sparks the idea for a story is music; obviously. I like to put on really good scores or soundtracks from some upcoming movies before I actually see the movie, give them a listen, and see what type of story the music paints for me without preconceived notions. That and I pay a lot of attention to film making and how directors use the camera in little tricky ways in order to knock the emotion or intent of a scene out of the park. You can convey the epic-ness of a scene by placing the camera in a certain way or panning across the skyline just slow enough or fast enough. So you have to try to do that as a writer, but you have to find a different way to do and honestly I think it probably works better in literature. I mean film can only show you so much, but when the imagination starts to create what’s coming off the page in a really vivid way, then CGI looks like an etch a sketch. That’s why everybody always says ‘the book was better’.
Dorian: Some of the grittier stuff is pretty brutal, so this certainly isn’t a bedtime story for Timmy is it?
D.L. Crumpton: It’s a violent story, yeah. But it has to be. I mean this is a violent world we’re talking about and Chema is just the embodiment of violence. He wants to kill every last nephilim from the face of the world like a walking plague. That was a concern for me before I started it. I knew it had to be very aggressive and violent but I didn’t want gratuitous violence. I don’t believe in violence myself, except for self defense because that’s in nature, but I wasn’t going to shield the reader from the viciousness of it either. So I kind of made this deal with myself and said ‘It shouldn’t be any more violent than the Bible’.
Dorian: (laughs) You’ve read the Bible, right?
D.L. Crumpton: Cover to cover several times and anyone whose read it and has any sort of imagination knows it’s probably one of the most violent books ever penned. I mean have you ever actually played out the fight between David and Goliath in your head? What did it look like when Samson was hacking all those people up with a jawbone? When Herod had all the children under three slaughtered, did he have them slaughtered in a cute and fluffy sort of way? I don’t think so. No, the Bible is extremely bloody and violent and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Violence in and of its self isn’t wrong. It’s like anything; neutral, until in the hands of intent. You can use it to murder or you can use it to protect the innocent, so I didn’t hassle with an attempt at glossing over some of the more bone crunching, appendage hacking moments. I wanted it to be exciting to read, I wanted it to hit you in the gut at certain spots but at the end of the day every drop of violence in those pages were put there so you’d have an investment in the setting. The natural order of the way things were suppose to be was turned upside down and whenever that happens, from the microcosm to the macrocosm, violence will come.
Dorian: What do you think is a safe age for readers?
D.L. Crumpton: I say that’s a parents’ call to make. You know your kids, you know if they’re developed enough to deal with more adult themes than say, Saturday morning cartoon themes. I mean, I wouldn’t really see anyone under thirteen or fourteen having a firm enough understanding of the world to get some of the weightier things in the story, but then again we read the Bible to five year olds in Sunday school so…
Dorian: Well the book has a real Biblical scope to it, too. It doesn’t just splurge on the mythos, or the action in a kind of pop corn movie way but uses all that to ultimately bring up some really big spiritual concepts.
D.L. Crumpton: I had to do that. You can’t be dealing with subject matter drenched in matters of the Divine and not use it as vehicle to raise some questions regarding spiritual matters. I didn’t try to come off as preachy so those themes aren’t poking you in the head every time you turn the page, but I did want to have some poignant moments when it’s possible for the reader to put themselves in Chema’s shoes, or perhaps some of the other character’s shoes and look inside themselves here and there. But really, if you look at the story as a whole it’s all about redemption and if that’s really possible through suffering; salvation through pain? That’s really what’s pushing Chema through this whole book.
Dorian: It’s got a little of everything in it, that’s for sure.
D.L. Crumpton: I know. It makes it a little difficult to know what category to put this thing in.
Dorian: Alright, alright; moment of truth. When’s it coming out? We can people start reading it?
Dorian: And what’s the best way to get a copy?
D.L. Crumpton: The best way to get a copy at the best price is to visit thencametheflood.com and click the buy now button, hopefully by the time this whole thing goes up the site should be up and running.
Dorian: Or we could just wait to publish this interview the day the site is up.
D.L. Crumpton: Fine by me. I’ll tell you what; how about we do it a few days early so all the Zen subscribers can get a chance to grab an advance copy? There are a few people out there who were already able to put an order in and may even already be several chapters deep. Since I get so much support from the readers here and in the Liberty movement I think it’d be kosher to give those folks an early start.
Dorian: In that case we should just use the magic of time and editing and turn what you just said into a link people can click to get to the book’s website.
D.L. Crumpton: Yeah, as far as they know this is being done live.
Dorian: Live in their head.
D.L. Crumpton: That’s the only place anything is really live, so yeah; everybody can just click on what I said and should be able to order a copy from that.
Dorian: This might be messing with their minds at this point don’t you think? Is it live, is it not live? Do these guys have the ability to speak hyperlinks out of thin air?
D.L. Crumpton: It’s a smart bunch. I think they’ll be fine.