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An NPR program discussing African-based religions and regaling the life of New Orleans 1800’s Voodoo queen, Marie Laveau, caught my attention a year ago.
The blend of Spiritualism, New Orleans, and Laveau (a complex and colorful historical figure) played on my fancy. I began paying attention to the posts of my occultist Facebook friends, such as Jose Prado, whose beliefs and spiritual outlook I respect. A gentle, and generous, person, Jose writes extensively and in measured tones about non-Christian religious beliefs and has – through his posts – provided me with insights on Occultism and Voodoo.
Through the coincidences of synchronicity I learned that one of my Edmonds, Washington author friends had actually taught topics concerning Marie Laveau, and we met to discuss sources of information for my study of New Orleans’ Voodoo Era.
The stars began to align by November 2012. With the inklings of what has now become ‘Voodoo Vision’ I felt compelled to join the global fray of writers pounding out novels as the challenge of NaNoWriMo 2012 loomed. What better way to keep my interest in writing one novel, in one month, than New Orleans, History – and Voodoo!
Voodoo, from my outsider perspective seemed rich with possibilities. Add to the Voodoo backdrop of my novel the parallels of Catholic symbolism, and the scandalous folly of priests and I had the beginnings of a thesis on good and evil.
What challenges me as I add the final touches – and seek editorial comment on my upcoming novel, ‘Voodoo Vision’ is this: How much behind-the-scenes Voodoo ritual to include. Layer by layer I find that I am going back to strengthen and fine tune the conflicts between the slaves and free persons of color, some of whom (as characters in my novel) adhere strictly to the teachings of the Catholic Church and some of whom mix the two religions to their own spiritual and occultist advantage. Taking ‘advantage’ being one of the underlying elements of my novel – and how far one will go to get what one wants.
For instance, take the role of Father Vivenzio, the book’s villain: I wanted Voodoo ritual to serve as a catalyst for bringing together the Catholic Church of 1853 New Orleans with African-based religious practices that took place within the Catholic parishes during that time. I established Vivenzio’s avarice by composing a chapter around the priest’s rape of the leading black character’s daughter during a gathering in Congo Square. Not one to take lightly the scandal of the Catholic Church of late, I felt it appropriate to paint in real terms the human frailties of the Catholic Church, but in terms of yesteryear.
The next three months are going to be ‘full steam ahead’ for me as I edit, re-write the novel; and on design elements of the eBook tile with ‘Kathi Humphries Design and New Media’ to bring you the most colorful, exciting, haunting look at New Orleans in The Voodoo Era — originally named “Voodoo Vision” this novel ultimately was published as “Ghosts of White Raven Estate”.