Please examine the elements of the
cover carefully. They are each there for
a reason. Do not say you were duped by
the Bear into thinking you were
buying a Pooh book.
A: If they made wristwatches big enough to fit on the wrists of Bears, the Bear would be looking at his. Hope and Life Press.
Q: Once and for all, who really wrote Judging Angels?
A: The same intelligence, wit and style behind this ephemeris is behind Judging Angels.
Q: What genre is Judging Angels?
A: All of the above. [Audience light flashes: "Laugh."] It has been marketed as a "psychological thriller," and "urban fantasy." But it also has elements of crime, mystery, police procedural, soft science fiction, adventure, and even romance. Perhaps it is best to say that a family and the criminal justice system meet something very difficult to digest. The "secret ingredient" is theological, however. Whatever loud explosions and bright lights are going off to distract readers, the heart of Judging Angels is God. Think of it as a cross between C.S. Lewis and Raymond Chandler.
Q: How would that work?
A: Dames and guns, see, but in the service of the Church and souls.
Q: That seems like it would be hard to make work.
A: Yeah? Well, not for a Bear, see? And not for any characters who are "not from around here" as they prefer to say, wink wink. Mostly it's dark, but it is well-lubricated by mordant humor. The purpose is to throw some ordinary people into the midst of various temptations and see what happens. And laugh at them. Here's a hint: [Bear shakes head sadly]. While the details might be fanciful, the principles are frighteningly realistic. Let's just say, you'll probably put the book down thinking about getting into Confession.
Q: What do you mean by that?
A: There are consequences to every decision. Don't come looking for cheap grace or the kind folks of Bedford Falls to come and bail out poor old George Bailey. There is a reason there needs to be a lot of humor. It deals with serious things like exactly how everyone is going to Hell. That's what's really scary, not a throat getting slit or something. (Hypothetical example... if that means what the Bear thinks; but it happens to people!)
Q: How does it compare with The Brothers Karamazov?
A: A lot more laughs. Um, Bear forgets. How many people got shot in that book?
Q: The Godfather?
A: Um, how many people got shot in that one?
Q: Obviously, you're joking, right?
A: Yeah. Joking.
Q: What audiences is Judging Angels suitable for?
A: That's a good question. A Hell of lot fewer than the Bear thought before this interview. Just kidding, just kidding. It is not as bad as the Book of Judges, to put things in perspective. It deals with things like maybe shooting people, and near occasions of sin. Oh, also strangling people. And maybe a pitchfork. That's it... okay: knife. I'm not going to give everything up. Some of the violence is what we call "off scene." Nothing explicit. Bear took all that out. Actually, some stuff was taken out, and 'explicit' is hard to define, but the Bear will say there is nothing tasteless. No Bear attacks. Although that's a great idea. It may not be too late for that. Maybe fraternizing with supernatural beings of uncertain origin, like redheads. [Audience light flashes: "Laugh."]
Q: Anything besides violence?
A: There are dark themes such as suicide, and human mating rituals, but this is published by a very respectable publishing house, after all. Tough to write about human behavior while keeping it all innocent. Even Goldilocks was a felon. The Bear writes what he knows about, except no salmon, and no honey. It has some language C.S. Lewis probably didn't use too much, but you've probably heard worse in the Marine Corps. Besides, the Bear thinks one character is responsible for nearly all of it. And it isn't the Marine. Sin and damnation is grownup stuff. It's not for pre-teens.
Q: Do you have a favorite character?
A: Sure. The one on the cover. Seriously, the Bear thinks most of them would be best as a meal. Two she-bears eating everyone wouldn't be a bad ending. The 15-year-old has the best lines and the worst parents ever, so you got to kind of like him. There's a six-year-old who is pretty harmless. In this book.
Q: Can you tell us anything about the plot?
A: Sure. The easiest-to-kidnap member of the family gets kidnapped, and everybody nearly sets aside their various issues to try to rescue her. (Watch the trailer) But that is the least important thing going on, which is the big joke that everybody but the main characters get. Oh, I forgot something. Tarot readings.
Q: What about them?
A: There are some, but done by the bad guys. Let's just say, they don't help. Oh.
A: That made me think of something else. Maybe someone else gets shot... at... urm... But there is a strong anti-violence message. The message is violence is bad, and stuff. It doesn't solve anything. Also a strong gun responsibility message. Guns are bad, but if you have to use them, do so safely. And effectively. Also, there is a strong softball bat responsibility message, and same goes for that wicked-looking thing in your grandpa's toolshed whose name you don't know. Look, bad guys do bad things. The author was a death penalty defense lawyer, for Pete's sake! And a Bear, who has, let's call them issues with firearms and humans, okay? And redheads. One redhead, he means. His driver, bodyguard, factotum and lawfully wedded wife under the Munich Bear Exception, Red Death.
Q: Aren't you afraid of controversy coming out with a Catholic novel like you've described?
A: Oh, so you haven't read the Bear's ephemeris! No. Nobody is going to order Judging Angels thinking it was Pilgrim's Progress for Catholics. The Bear believes you have to take risks, and Catholic fiction should not live on its own National Forest Reserve. You would have to reach to find something to be offended at, unless you're a Baptist, but even so, the Bear has always considered Judging Angels a mainstream novel with characters dealing with human problems that have eternal consequences. The Bear certainly hopes no one would have to be Catholic to enjoy this book, or find value in it. It will resonate most strongly with Catholics, though. And Bears. And guys who like redheads and guns. With everyone, really.
Q: Thank you for making yourself available for this exclusive interview.
A: You're very good. It was almost like interviewing myself.
[Audience light flashes: "Applause."]
The comments reflect the opinions and humor of the Bear, and his for-human-purposes persona "Tim Capps", and not necessarily those of the publisher.