Author Feature

The Real-World Inspiration Behind THE WITCHFINDER

Fantasy author J. Todd Kingrea talks about the inspiration behind his exciting new Deparian Saga and his new post-apocalyptic novel, The Witchfinder – releasing September 23rd, 2021.

In a post-apocalyptic world where tyranny and medieval torture reign supreme and witch burnings are an everyday occurrence, a top Witchfinder must confront the very Church he serves when he learns of its dark past and twisted plans for the future.

Author J. Todd Kingrea Talks About the Inspiration Behind His Debut Novel, The Witchfinder

While on a mission trip to the Czech Republic, my oldest son and I visited a medieval torture museum. I was shocked and appalled at the devices that were used to inflict pain and punishment on people—and much of that done by God-fearing men who served the Church. Yes, at the time they thought they were doing what was right. But the cruelties and horrors I saw in that museum made me wonder: what if a monolithic institution ruled the people completely, and the threat of medieval torture and burnings was an everyday fact of life? What if the Inquisitions of the Middle Ages were commonplace in the world?

When I came across the word “deiparous” I knew I had found something that could become such a totalitarian behemoth. The word means “of or bringing forth a god.” I imagined a world ruled by a ponderous Church that, over time, had come to view itself as God and expected people to worship it as God.

Slowly, bits and pieces of the story came together. Ecclesiastical words helped form the background of the Church of the Deiparous. Being a fan of post-apocalyptic books and films, I knew I wanted that sort of setting. But I didn’t want my world and my story to take place at the moment of apocalypse nor in the immediate aftermath. So I constructed a world nearly 1,000 years distant from the apocalyptic event, a world that had returned to the equivalent of a medieval level of technology and quality of life.

On the surface, The Witchfinder is about freedom, specifically freedom from any oppressive regime. It’s about the fight to resist and overcome tyranny. On a deeper level, though, the story is about relationships and how they impact us. It’s about how relationships can bring out the best and the worst in us. It’s about the transformative power of hope, forgiveness and identity.

It’s also about faith and belief, about doubt and testing. I’ve gone through my own “dark night of the soul” and have had my faith challenged, shipwrecked, lost and then found again. The story of Malachi Thorne is the story of all of us who seek to reconcile doubts and fears with faith (whatever that faith may be). Questions about our faith are not bad or wrong. They push us to dig deeper, to understand better, and to live more authentically. Anyone who has struggled with faith challenges can relate to Malachi Thorne’s dilemma.

The Deiparian Saga centers around Malachi Thorne, a top Witchfinder in the Church—a man on the fast track to greater things. But when he comes face to face with the Church’s dark past and its twisted present, his faith is tested to its limits. He must decide who and what he believes in, and what he will do about it.

The Witchfinder Releases on September 23rd, 2021!
Preorder your copy at the links below:

Read an exciting excerpt of The Witchfinder by clicking here.

About the Author:

Portrait of J. Todd Kingrea, author of The Witchfinder. Links to his BHC Press Author Profile page.
Photo credit: Chris Kelly Photography

J. Todd Kingrea is the author of the Deiparian Saga. The Witchfinder is his debut novel.

An ordained pastor, he lives with his wife in Tennessee with their dogs, plenty of 80s metal, and an ever-expanding movie collection.

If you’d like to keep up with J. Todd Kingrea, follow him on Facebook or Twitter, or check out his personal website.

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