Why I Created Monas
Each book always seem to start and end in Pennan, a small Scottish village on the north east coast, where I live and write. You may know it from the cult film ‘Local Hero’ which was partly filmed there in the 1980s, a film less about the beauty of the location (which it undoubtedly has) than the minds of a people challenged by materialism and challenged by what really should matter in life – finding the true meaning of ‘success’.
Making a long story short, I began several years back (maybe as a result of staring at the sea too much) to explore the basis of water as the next cause of international tension, after oil. This, along with an interest in the new understanding of the paranormal interaction of science and faith, drew me to creating a character that was a Father Brown fit for the issues of the 21st century. Monas was born.
But in truth, the other reasons why I began sketching out these characters is that I grew increasingly concerned about a number of matters; the growth of militarism, how Muslims are increasingly portrayed in the western media and in cultural perception, and finally, I hated the way we are treating our planet.
And so, as with Adam, Monas needed an Eve and I was searching for Nargess. Both became in my character sketches, a spiritual force evolving from a Christian west and a Muslim east, to unite in confronting the emerging corporate greed and political plate shifting around the primary mover of life on this planet – water.
What the project evolved into was more a recognition that in contrast to the priestly male figure of the Adamic Monas, it was moreover Nargess who was the stronger partner in this futuristic dynamic duo, and an unconventional one in terms of western celebrity and cultural heroines or stereotypes. She is a proud and devout Muslim, emotionally equipped with an experience incomprehensible to most (having escaped being stoned to death in Iran), and is moreover a woman strong and content in terms of her gender. Monas is an older male, rooted in Scottish irony with a Celtic reserve, and a part time priest to boot. Both have gifts, of this world and beyond.
Intelligence agencies have historically explored and wars have always exploited, evolving science in terms of the unconventional. From the psychic criminologist to those who can carry out remote viewing, memory reconstruction, bilocation and out of body experiences, the reality of unconventional methods based on rare gifts held by a chosen few, has always been part of human history, (secular and religious), to explain and assist the human condition. Water was my common denominator in bringing together contemporary politics with cutting edge science and emerging religious tensions in a world where corporate greed is forecast to take ownership of the most basic of our natural resources.
Monas and Nargess emerge from the Scottish village to overcome the Ophites, the human-into-snake creatures who generate what we now term, “water wars”. These Ophites are the agent provocateurs over the destruction of what is essential for life today, water. The task of Monas and Nargess is to destroy them, those snakes that were first described in the garden of Eden. Unconventional is a word that no longer applies to what happens in accessing the power of the mind to bring that about.