Interview with Elvo Fortunato Bucci, Author of Satanwake

28 Jun 2023

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Satanwake?

I’ve wondered what it would be like if people had a chance to extend their life well beyond current possibilities. And, if so, how would it change people? And what would people pay for the opportunity to extend life? Not just in terms of the financial cost, but in terms of what they would be willing to sacrifice. I explore that question in my novel Satanwake. In the end, the question comes down to, is living longer worth more than life itself?

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Satanwake, what would they be?

One of the characters in Satanwake quotes the lyrics from Bob Dylan’s song, ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’ to justify the choice he makes to extend his life even if it means forfeiting his soul:

‘You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebody Well, it may be the Devil or it may be the Lord But you’re gonna have to serve somebody’

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I like technothrillers and sci-fi genres because I like to learn about new innovations while being immersed in a compelling story. Even though the core technology in the plot may be invented, good novels in those genres typically have a factual basis in science. From that kernel of truth, the authors lead you to a future that is not that far off. And when they do, it encourages you to think about your life in that coming future. In Satanwake, when faced with the choice to extend living at the cost of ending life, we are asked: what would you do?

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

While I’m writing a novel (Satanwake is my sixth), I generally stay away from reading current fiction because I don’t want to inadvertently incorporate another author’s work. I do a lot of reading during the research part of my writing and that was true with Satanwake.

Along with extensive examination of scientific literature in genetic engineering, population trends, and global military capabilities, I read some classic novels to see how those authors handled a similar story. Among those were Michael Crichton’s “The Andromeda Strain” and “State of Fear” along with “Children of God” by P.D. James. Crichton is one of the innovators of the technothriller genre and James examined the value of life in a unique way. The first rule of developing your craft as a writer is to write. The second rule is to learn from the masters by reading their works.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

At the beginning of my writing process, I wasn’t sure if Satanwake would have a happy ending. For a long time, I didn’t see the story going that way. You can determine for yourself if the ending was happy or not, but it was hopeful. And I’m glad for that.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

While I’ll do research throughout the day, I tend to do most of my actual writing late at night. I’ll start writing at around 10:00 PM (after my wife goes to bed) and write for a couple of hours, or so. For Satanwake, it was common to go until 2:00 AM or even 3:00 AM. The upside is that I don’t have any trouble falling asleep once I do go to bed!

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

At a memorial service for one of the characters in Satanwake, a Biblical verse is read: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?” That’s the key decision we face in our lives. Do we chase the riches and spoils of the world or do we live our life in hopes of earning an eternal reward?

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

Inevitably, we all encounter challenges that threaten our lives in some way. The path forward is to think of the needs of others – a spouse, a child, a friend – and place their needs ahead of our own. In Satanwake, people are given the opportunity to live longer lives but at the cost of humankind itself. Yes, it takes courage to forsake a large portion of your life so that others may have life, but it’s not really a choice. Is it?


Elvo Fortunato Bucci is the author of the new book Satanwake

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