I love religious thrillers and I was hooked by the Sanctus trilogy a few years back, so I was thrilled to talk to author Simon Toyne about his writing influences and what's next in his world.
Simon Toyne is the bestselling author of the Sanctus trilogy, translated into 28 languages and published in 50 countries. Sanctus was the UK's biggest selling debut thriller of 2011, and all three books of the trilogy were Sunday Times bestsellers in both hardback and paperback
You can watch the interview below or here on YouTube.
- Simon talks about the origins of the Sanctus trilogy and what inspired him to write the books. They are fast paced thrillers but they're also about the identity of religion in the West, and the real identity of the main character.
- Sense of place: The importance of the city of Ruin with the medieval Citadel, and the mysterious Sacrament that lies within.
- On research and traveling for work – Simon worked for 20 years as a Director making travel shows, so a lot of that went into the books.
- How Simon took 6 months off his TV job to write his first novel. He took his family to France to take a real break and that experience is woven into the origins of the books.
- On walking the line on religion and spirituality. There are a lot of Christian ideas in the books, but also a lot of pagan mythology. It wasn't intended to be religious in any way. On arriving in France, sleep-deprived after a storm, and seeing the spires of Rouen Cathedral, Simon found a quote resonating in his mind from Ralph Waldo Emerson “A man is a god in ruins.” That became the seed for the books. Simon mentions that The Name of the Rose was an influence (as it was for me!)
- On the Tau cross (pictured on the cover) and how important it was to the myths in the book. What is the Sacrament and what does it really mean?
- Simon's now writing a new modern thriller series about a man who doesn't know who he is, a story of redemption. It's roughly based on the 10 Commandments and the first book is out in early 2015.
You can find Simon and his books at SimonToyne.com and on twitter @simontoyne.