Author of the month

The Nature of Evil

by Jan Notzon

JULY 2021

When I sat down out on the deck of my house to begin my second novel, which came to be called, And Ye Shall Be As Gods, I think (and I stress that particular verb), that I started with a feeling. It was one of regret for the way I treated a member of my family as a child. I was cruel in the way children can often be--at least in my perception. This thought resulted in the character of Grace, the little and very damaged sister of Jake, the protagonist.

I suppose it made me wonder, “What leads people to do evil (although I hope my behavior never descended to that level)?” Are some born that way? If not, what leads them to commit the atrocities through history with which we are all familiar: mob behavior? absence of empathy? greed? the channeling out of self-hate to others? the devil? any and all of these?

How could some people enslave others, and how can slavery continue to exist?! How can some seek to extirpate a whole ethnic group from the earth? And most incredible and terrifying of all, how could people who are loving parents and friends commit such horrific acts?!

These are the questions and ideas I sought to explore in And Ye Shall Be As Gods. To those who have read or are planning to read it (or hopefully are reading it now), I hope you will share with me your thoughts on this subject.

And I yearn to know what you think, how you might answer these questions. For I truly believe we are all capable, and that it is that very knowledge and the keeping of it in mind that keeps us from the commission of such evil.

Forgive the lengthiness of this, but I do hope that you are not overwhelmed by it. I simply want to share with you a little about my journey into these issues and how that begot my thoughts. To those of you who are already well-versed on these issues, I would love to hear your comments and ideas as well.

Thank you for your time, and now, here is And Ye Shall Be As Gods.