I’m often asked, “What was the inspiration for your debut novel “Laws of Depravity?” It all started when I came across an article detailing how Jesus’ Apostles were brutally murdered. The article laid out the manner in which Jesus’ closest followers were systematically put to death by the cruelest of means.
James was beheaded. Philip was scourged, imprisoned then crucified. Matthew was chopped to death by a halberd. Mark was killed as he was dragged by horses through the streets of Egypt and torn limb from limb. Bartholomew was flayed. Peter was crucified upside down on an X-shaped cross. Paul was beheaded. Luke was hanged from an olive tree in Greece. Jude was crucified at Odessa. Thomas was speared to death. Simon was crucified. John who was called the beloved disciple was put into a cauldron of hot, boiling oil. By a miracle of God, he was taken out without injury. After being banished to the Isle of Patmos, John wrote the Book of Revelation. He died as an old man. He was the only apostle to die peacefully.
After reading the article detailing the horrible demise of the Apostles I became intrigued by the idea of creating a modern day serial killer who executed his victims in the same fashion as Jesus’ Disciples. I wanted the book to be tonally and thematically similar to one of my favorite films “Seven.” Just like in the movie the killer in my novel is preaching a sermon through his murders. This was the genesis of “Laws of Depravity,” the first book of a trilogy. The story and character development evolved into an interesting piece that is much more complicated than the usual good versus evil. In this story the line that normally separates the two is blurred and thinned with surprising results.
I remained pretty quiet and secretive throughout the process of writing the book mainly because I was nervous about having to tell anyone that I actually had the gall to think that I could write a novel. And even if somehow I did manage to finish it, having it become a compelling and well received book could be another story all together. Keeping it to myself was a defense mechanism. If it turned out horribly I could just pretend it never happened and write it off as a failed attempt, but an attempt none the less.
I’ve been an actor and director for so many years and I’ve definitely had my share of rejection and disappointment, but I still felt like I could be setting myself up for a devastating fall. Just because I love storytelling and have been doing it for the majority of my life, this in no way guaranteed that I would have creative success in a completely different medium. I was pleasantly surprised when I reached the point and rhythm in the story where it just started flowing and seemingly started writing itself. My main focus then became to constantly raise the stakes of the story in an honest and intelligent way to pull the reader in more and more through every page and chapter. The fact that I often have a short attention span actually worked in my favor because whenever I thought the story might possibly be slowing or in any way even coming close to being boring, I kicked everything into the next gear. The result was an overwhelming response of people repeatedly saying how the book is a page turner and how they can’t put it down.
The hurdles that I find myself trying to clear now are in the next phase of the process which is actually getting the book exposed to an even wider audience. Even though the book has gotten rave reviews it is still a colossal challenge getting more and more readers to give it a try. But I have consistently been blessed, humbled and surprised by the positive support from people and organizations that has been monumental and had an incredibly impact.
The valuable lesson that I am learning through this particular phase of being a new author is that there is a community of amazing people that selflessly offer their time and assistance in helping all types of authors fulfill their dreams. They say it takes a village to raise a child. In my personal experience, the same can be said about the written word.
* You can purchase Laws of Depravity at www.lawsofdepravity.com
As an actor, Eriq La Salle is best known to worldwide television audiences for his award-winning portrayal of the commanding Dr. Peter Benton on the critically acclaimed and history-making medical drama ER. You also would know him from Coming To America and One Hour Photo, among other films. You can visit him at www.lawsofdepravity.com.