Interview with Connie Atkinson, co-author of The Brotherhood of Purity

Publisher: Hummingbird Press

Publication Date: September 30, 2013

Book Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: The Brotherhood of Purity is a novel of our times. It opens with an American reporter, David Anderson, who has journeyed to the Middle East to investigate the training of young boys in the fundamentals of terrorism by radical madrasah schools. On his final day of work in Tehran, David comes upon a boy sitting at a fountain and a relationship develops that will plunge both of them into a sea of intrigue and life-changing choices. 

How many of us – all part of an evolving global civilization - have not wondered over the last decade, “How in the world a young man, not much out of his childhood, could be convinced that blowing himself up with as many other souls as can possibly be taken with him, is actually condoned and rewarded by God?” This is the central theme explored in The Brotherhood of Purity, a story that dives into the immense, turbulent ocean of radical Islam to try to answer that question. As you enter the world of The Brotherhood of Purity, you will enter the mind of a terrorist.

Interview: Q. Please tell us about the inspiration for your current release.

My brother, Thomas DiCarlo, and I co-wrote the mystical-thriller, ‘The Brotherhood of Purity’, after 9/11. Tom witnessed the Twin Towers fall and narrowly escaped being in the North Tower at Windows on the World that morning by a remarkable twist of fate. It saved him and five members of his staff.

The trauma Tom experienced, however, was so great that I convinced him to write a story about terrorism, and how the mystical sometimes intercedes in our lives at our most difficult times. I thought that, perhaps, writing about it would help heal my usually boisterous and joyful brother, who had become angry and sullen, back to himself. Happily, not only was I right, but we have embarked on a writing journey that has been filled with joy, hope, laughter, hard work, and astonishing revelatory experiences.

Q. How did writing this book affect you?

It brought me closer to myself and it brought me closer to my brother, Tom. This is our first novel and so, I was amazed to find that my lifelong habit of being a rabid reader served me well each time I sat down to write. That, and the mysterious “presence” that seems to envelope writers when they enter the worlds of creative writing became a deeply moving and humbling experience for me. Sometimes I would be forced to wonder where the words were coming from. The novel, itself, has got to be the most moving and important work I have ever accomplished. It taught me that, when you are true to yourself, and believe in your mission, the final story is as much a surprise and confirmation than you could ever have imagined it would turn out to be.

Q. Is there anything you haven’t written about that you would like to in the future?

I have so many choices it is daunting to choose. I have all the remarkable recollections of the war experiences of my father, recipient of the Bronze Medal and French Legion of Honor -- experiences that took him to every major battle of WWII. It’s an epic story of a street kid from Brooklyn whose courage, street smarts, and miraculous brushes with death are filled with the kind of humor that is often at the root of our survival in as inhuman and brutal world as can exist.

Q. Which of your characters would you want to be and why?

Of all the characters in the story, I would want to be Ron Eyota. Ron is a Navajo Native American with a powerful connection to his history and the spiritual, mystical dimensions of his past. I love how he has combined these with his career as a doctor of history at Notre Dame. I would love to walk around in his skin for awhile to get to know his people, his spirit, and his knowledge of the past and how it relates to using it in the present day to edify and heal the world.

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

There are two more stories to tell in ‘The Brotherhood of Purity’ series. We are hard at work on the second novel which will take us even deeper into the world of The Brotherhood with David Anderson and his colleagues and illuminate a future world that might not be so far from the truth.

Q. What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading ‘East of Eden’, by John Steinbeck, which I found one day in a bag of discarded books waiting to be donated. I donated it to myself. As a teen, I became a staunch fan of this author-icon and this book was one I had not read. Gosh, the man has insight into human nature that is truly exciting. He was a profound and compassionate writer and I did not remember how much I missed reading his stories.

Q. Of all of the books you’ve read, which book has impacted you the most?

Of all the books I have ever read, I would have to say that ‘The Seven Valleys’ by the Prophet of the Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah, has influenced me most. It ushered me into a forty-year search for truth and gave me the freedom to embrace all mankind as one, all religions as one, and the independent investigation of truth. It, along with my Christian heritage, ultimately, informs all my writing by giving me insight into our collective human experience, and mankind’s spiritual journey, than I would otherwise have.

Q. Please tell us your latest news (book-related or not!).

The last few years have been an exciting time. I am learning the business of book publishing…a genuine education, requiring mammoth effort of hard-work, coordination and dogged-determination on the part of many people. I am also excited to share that my Kiwi husband, Roger, has just harvested our very first significant crop from the twenty four hundred citrus trees we planted a few years back in New Zealand. Life is good!

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope that my readers come away from ‘The Brotherhood of Purity’ feeling excited, edified, and entertained. In short, I want them to have a truly great time!


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