Bohemian Gospel, the first novel by Dana Chamblee Carpenter, associate professor of English at Lipscomb, has captivated historical fiction fans since its release in 2015. This March, she hopes to do the same with the release of its sequel The Devil’s Bible.
A launch party will be held on March 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Parnassus Books in Nashville. During the event, Carpenter will read from and sign copies of The Devil’s Bible.
Bohemian Gospel, set in the 13th century, introduced readers to a young girl named Mouse who was born with unnatural senses and an uncanny intellect. Determined to find a place for herself in the world, Mouse gets swept up in deadly court politics and a dark journey to discover who—and what—she is.
Picking up from the epilogue of Bohemian Gospel, The Devil’s Bible jumps in time to modern-day Nashville as new trouble finds Mouse. As her story continues in the 21st century, readers will get to see flashbacks of her time walled up in a cell in 13th century Bohemia, Carpenter assures.
“The basic storyline for the sequel came to me at the same time as Mouse’s origins in Bohemian Gospel,” said Carpenter. “I knew where Mouse’s story was going when I discovered where she was coming from—like seeing the arc of someone’s life all at once. I already had a draft of The Devil’s Bible finished when Bohemian Gospel came out, but I needed several months to research the details of the process by which medieval texts were scripted and constructed. 13th century Bohemia has such a rich culture and history that it was like a candy store for a writer.”
Carpenter says the questions that have driven Mouse’s life within The Bohemian Gospel and The Devil’s Bible, are also the same ones that have driven her own life.
“‘In Bohemian Gospel, Mouse is trying to find her place in a world that shuns her, that wants to define her in ways she’s not comfortable with. She questions her purpose, and when she discovers difficult truths about herself, she wonders if she is defined by what made her or by her own choices,” said Carpenter. “This is also a question that follows her into The Devil’s Bible. Can Mouse choose her own path or is she destined to follow one already laid out before her? And, underlying all of Mouse’s personal journey, is an even deeper pondering about the nature of evil – is anyone unredeemable?”
Since officially releasing Bohemian Gospel in November 2015, Carpenter has received several awards and honors.
In 2014, the unpublished manuscript for Bohemian Gospel won Carpenter the Claymore Award, which was presented at the annual Killer Nashville writer’s conference. She was also selected as a Goodread’s Spotlight Debut Author in 2015, was invited as the guest of honor to speak at the Young Writer’s Conference at University of Tennessee Martin and was invited to contribute a short story to the inaugural Killer Nashville anthology “Cold Blooded,” which has won several awards.
Bohemian Gospel was also selected as a Kindle 100 book for January 2017, a 2015 top-ten book by women authors at Literary Hub, a top seven Books of the Year by KSL Media and it was short-listed as a nominee for the 2016 Alex Award given by the American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association, along with other nominees such as Stephen King, Naomi Novik and V. E. Schwab. Today, the book has been translated and published in three other languages.
As an associate professor of English, Carpenter says a summer grant from Lipscomb helped in the research process of her newest novel, and her adventures in publishing have profoundly affected her teaching at Lipscomb.
“In my role as a creative writing teacher, the more I engage with the current publishing industry, the more I can share that practical knowledge with my students. The publishing industry changes almost daily, and as I navigate those changes, I am better equipped to teach my students how to be flexible and aware in a fluid industry,” said Carpenter.
“Being an active writer receiving critique from editors also helps me consider what kind of feedback most benefits my student writers. How we read and respond to someone else’s work is as vital to our development as writers and thinkers as the words we produce ourselves. I have also been able to make contacts to help my English students at Lipscomb find internships in the field.”
Carpenter says readers should be prepared for a thrill ride with The Devil’s Bible, and she appreciates the positive buzz she has received thus far.
“The book balances a current-day storyline with flashbacks that give us some insight into what Mouse did after she was walled up in the cell at the monastery at the end of Bohemian Gospel,” said Carpenter. “So The Devil’s Bible is both historical fiction as well as a contemporary thriller. Mouse starts out in Nashville but goes on a quest that takes her to some pretty cool places around the world. And we have some ‘big bads’ pitted against our brave Mouse.”
What others are saying about The Devil’s Bible:
- “Part fantasy, part historical fiction, part mystery and part Dan Brown thriller. Absolutely unputdownable! I can hardly wait for the next installment in Mouse’s life.” - Eleanor Kuhns, award-winning author of “A Simple Murder”
- “Look out, Dan Brown. Dana Chamblee Carpenter is the angels' new champion in the timeless battle between darkness and light. The Devil's Bible is not just a book, but a shining, vibrant tale for the ages—told with history and heart—that will have readers both weeping and cheering not only for brave Mouse, but for all of humanity.” - Laura Benedict, author of '"Bliss House" and “The Abandoned Heart”
- An arresting thriller with historical and literary prowess, defying expectations in every chapter. A remarkable tale of a heroine who transcends her name—Mouse is undeniably mighty. She refuses to accept her own boundaries, ignoring rules of both society and science. Superb.” - Erica Wright, author of “The Red Chameleon”
- The Da Vinci Code meets Twilight—only darker, edgier and more literary. There’s an underlying tension with every turn of the page. I really enjoyed it!” - Oscar de Muriel, author of '"The Strings of Murder"
For more information about “The Devil’s Bible,” click here.