Shey B

An Interview With Sylvain.


I love to read.  {duh!}  :)

Last year I read a really awesome book which is titled “Gabriel’s Inferno“.  I then became friends with the author on Twitter.  Sylvain Reynard.  He’s a pretty nice guy.  And by pretty I mean extremely so. I loved Gabriel’s Inferno not only because it was a great read, but because it was realistic, and sometimes, I like reading a realistic kind of non-fiction.  Ya know when I’m not reading about blood sucking vampires and alpha male werewolves.  ::grins::

So pretty much right after I finished reading this book I began chatting regularly with Sylvain.  He has a brilliant mind when it comes to the many subjects The Professor talks about in Gabriel’s Inferno.  He also loves classical music {and walks on the beach}.  Ok, so trying not to sound like a dating ad for Sylvain, let’s check out the interview I did end up procuring with him!  Yes, lets…


Allow me to begin, Miss Shey, by thanking you for the invitation to join you and your readers on your website. It’s a pleasure to be with you all.


-Gabriel’s Inferno was a work of art. What inspired you to write Gabriel’s Inferno?

Thank you.  This book is my first novel.  The plot occurred to me one day and I sat down and wrote the outline.  The city of Toronto and its central University, the story of Dante and Beatrice and my affection for the city of Florence all inspired me.  But at the core, the book is a story about a man who believes he has committed an unpardonable sin yet, at the same time, finds love.


-The title & cover of your book really intrigued me.  How did you come up with the title?

The title is a nod to Dante’s first volume of The Divine Comedy, which is entitled Inferno. The analogy is that Professor Emerson, the protagonist of my novel, is in a Hell of his own making.

The images on the cover were inspired by two sculptures by Auguste Rodin – The Thinker and The Kiss.

You can see The Thinker here:

And you can see The Kiss here:

You can also read a longer discussion of the cover on my website:


– Is there a specific message in GI that you want readers to grasp?

Love and forgiveness are the antidotes to fear and guilt. 


– Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The story is a work of fiction but some events were inspired by actual events and others were inspired by the story of Dante and Beatrice, or elements of The Inferno.


– What books have most influenced your life most?

In terms of my writing, I’ve helped myself to literary allusions to a variety of works, including the Bible, the Midrash, the works of Dante, C.S. Lewis and Tolkien.


– What book are you reading now?

I’m reading Twitter for Good by Claire Diaz-Ortiz.  It’s a book about the way in which everyone can use Twitter to contribute to charities, to raise awareness and to make the world a better place.


– Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I discovered Heather Huffman’s books through a friend on Goodreads. Heather writes stories about flawed human beings who find themselves in difficult circumstances, but her books always include redemption and grace. I’d recommend you start with “Throwaway,” and then read the others. Heather donates a portion of her royalties to World Vision, which is another reason readers should support her.

I should mention that Heather and I will be writing a romantic comedy together once we’re finished with our current projects.  We’ll be donating all our royalties to World Vision.


– Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My friend Jennifer has been extremely supportive. She edited the original manuscript before I submitted it for publication and did a fantastic job. I rely on her editing skills and her advice a great deal.


– Can you share a little about the sequel to Gabriel’s Inferno?  Is it titled yet?

The title hasn’t been set yet. I can share the prologue to the sequel, however… 

“Florence 1290

 The poet dropped the note to the floor with a shaking hand.  He sat silently for several moments, motionless as a statue.  Then with a great clenching of teeth he stood to his feet and swept agitatedly through his house, ignoring tables and fragile items, disdaining the other inhabitants of his home. 

 There was only one person whom he wished to see.

 He strode quickly through the city streets almost breaking into a run on his way to the river.  He stood at the end of the bridge, their bridge, his moist eyes eagerly scanning the adjacent riverbank for the barest glimpse of his beloved.

She was nowhere to be found.

She would never return.

His beloved Beatrice was gone.”


– Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Dialogue can be challenging, depending on the context.  Action sequences or scenes in which there is a lot of conflict are easier to write.


– Who is your favorite author?  What is it that really strikes you about their work?

I admire Dostoyevsky a great deal. Through fiction, he was able to explore issues related to faith, justice and human frailty.  His works aren’t’ easy reads, by any means, but they are worth reading once in one’s lifetime.


– What was the hardest part of writing Gabriel’s Inferno?

The scene in which Gabriel reveals his deepest failures was very difficult to write.


– Anything that came especially easy?

I enjoyed writing the scene in which Julia and Gabriel argue with one another in the middle of his Dante seminar. I had a lot of fun writing that.


– Favorite line written?

 (Some profanity) Any line in which Gabriel refers to Paul as “Angelfucker.”  I find that term quite funny.


– Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

My advice is to write and to find someone to read your writing. Every writer needs an editor who understands language and punctuation and will tell you the truth. If you can find someone like that, ask him or her to read your writing and give you honest feedback.


I want to thank you once again for inviting me to join your website today and also, thanks for choosing “Gabriel’s Inferno” to read with your Book Club. I truly appreciate it.



Thank you so much for agreeing to let me interview you Sylvain.  It was a pleasure as always!

Everyone… go read Gabriel’s Inferno now!  CLICK HERE.  You can also check out Sylvain’s blog HERE, Facebook HERE and Twitter HERE.

Leave a comment for Sylvain below!  I’m sure he’d love to hear from you!


  1. Wonderful interview! Thank you both.

    For any of you that haven’t read Gabriel’s Inferno, I encourage you to read. It is beautiful, moving and will touch you, I promise.

    As I have said before, I will read anything this man writes. A singular talent, and yes, an exceptionally charming, kind and funny man.

    MG :)

  2. Very cool. I need to read this!

  3. I read Gabriel’s Inferno after Shey mentioned it a few months back. Definitely not a book I would have found/[picked on my own. Loved it! Thanks for the interview.

  4. Great interview! I also strongly urge anyone who has not read this book to pick it up soon. I promise you will not regret it!
    I am looking forward to the sequel like you can’t even imagine : )

  5. I loved Gabriel’s Inferno and the sequel. I just read them both and would love to know if he is writing any more books. I would read them all!

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