Thanks for having me, Lex, especially on such short notice! I thought I’d talk a little about how I envisaged the characters of the Archangel books.
I write about nearly omniscient characters in these books, who are the elite force of God. If we are to believe the scripture that God created mankind in his own image, then God didn’t exclude any human being at all. It made sense to me that would be reflected in the physical form that the angels would take. Each angel is an individual and each angel enjoys certain things. For instance, Gabriel likes to spend a lot of time between Russia and northern England, Haniel enjoys spending time in India, Michael spends a lot of time in China and Korea, Samael moves between Ghana and London, Raphael enjoys the USA and Crete. As part of their first order from God—to guide and protect mankind—and to better understand them, it made sense to me that these beings would choose to appear as humans did. And as such, because each one chose to spend his or her time in different places around the world, they would take on the physical characteristics of those locales. For example, Michael appears a Chinese man, Metatron as a Maori, and Remiel as a Scotsman with strawberry-blond hair.
Angels appear in many different religions. They are in all flavours of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Jainism and Wicca. They are in the Baha’i Faith, Zoroastrianism, Neo-Platonism, Sikhism, Hermitic Kabbalah, and Theosophy. There are variations on the nature of angelic beings in even more faiths. This is what led me to imagine, and, I hope, convey on the page, the fact that every angel appears as a different being, a unique entity with unique mannerisms and quirks, who looks different from each other, but fits in with the whole of the world’s population. It was important to me to reflect this thought in the characterization and description of the angels.
The same goes for the demons. Just because they’re demons or fallen angels doesn’t mean they all appear the same, either. If a denizen of Hell is trying to tempt someone on Earth, appearing as something with the legs of a goat, the torso of an overcooked lobster and with a pair of enormous bull horns on its head is not going to do it. For one thing, in today’s world, skepticism would lead most people to snort and say, “Yeah, right, bullshit,” and for another, well, it’s a bit obvious. If someone is going to be tempted to do great wrong, let’s say, it’s easier to manipulate that individual if one looks human. And like the angels, the demons and fallen ones have their favourite places on Earth, their favourite cultures and foods, and so appear as regular citizens of those places.
I love history, and I love research. I love how rich and diverse our world is, how much culture, art, music and literature we have. I love how the internet makes the world very much a global village. I love the wealth of information about just about anything one can find on the internet and as such, I wanted to reflect that in the characters love of place and of history. Each character from Hell or Heaven has lived for eons, years beyond counting, and they’ve seen the slow march of history in real time. Trying to imagine what that would be like, I thought that it would need characters with an unlimited sense of wonder and delight in the world and all life on the planet. That too, is reflected in each immortal character’s choices—favourite foods, favourite cities, favourite beaches. Raziel and Uriel love the beaches of the Queensland Sunshine Coast. Ondrass loves the high rise cityscape of Hong Kong and Adramelek loves the city of Pripyat, now slowly being reclaimed by nature since the Chernobyl disaster. Tzadkiel loves Georgia, particularly the city of Savannah and Gabriel loves Istanbul, although he visits but rarely.
That does make them all a little bit more human, I think, even though they do have moments where the nuances of humanity are completely incomprehensible to them. But I like to think that my characters have retained their sense of wonder and their joy in this beautiful planet and all the life that’s here.
L.J. LaBarthe is a French-Australian woman, who was born during the Witching Hour, just after midnight. From this auspicious beginning, she went on to write a prize-winning short story about Humpty Dumpty wearing an Aussie hat complete with corks dangling from it when she was six years old. From there, she wrote for her high school yearbook, her university newspaper, and, from her early teens to her twenties, produced a fanzine about the local punk rock music scene. She loves music of all kinds and was once a classical pianist; she loves languages and speaks French and English and a teeny-tiny smattering of Mandarin Chinese, which she hopes to relearn properly very soon. She enjoys TV, film, travel, cooking, eating out, abandoned places, urbex, history, and researching.
L.J. loves to read complicated plots and hopes to do complex plot lines justice in her own writing. She writes paranormal, historical, urban fantasy, and contemporary Australian stories, usually m/m romance and featuring m/m erotica. She has won a Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention and another award for Best Historical Gay Novel.
L.J. lives in the city of Adelaide, and is owned by her cat.
Social Media Links
Sequel to The Crystal Lake
Archangel Chronicles: Book Six
Gabriel and Michael, hand in hand and leading the Brotherhood of Archangels, the Venatores, and the Archdemon Guild of Glass Knives, march into the mouth of madness to retrieve the Holy Grail with the blessings of both God and Lucifer. They cross dimensions and battle for the future of all realities: Heaven, Hell, Earth and Purgatory.
In Purgatory they are reunited with Naamah and meet her children, who are terrified of her. One of her allies is an angel, but they can’t identify the traitor. Gabriel faces his worst fear when Michael is injured and he might lose the unwavering comfort Michael embodies. If Gabriel cannot save the Holy Grail, he risks losing more than his one true love—all of creation might be destroyed along with them.
And the full series is here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=598
Excerpt from “The Bone Cup” out on 9th June, 2014.
Gabriel lay back down and tugged Michael to him. As Michael curled against him, Gabriel let out a happy noise. “This is nice.”
“It is.” Michael shifted and rested his cheek against Gabriel’s chest. “I like to listen to your heartbeat,” he said.
Gabriel made a small “aww” noise. “You’re so adorable, solnyshko.”
“Hush. I am not adorable.” Michael lightly tickled Gabriel’s side and Gabriel yelped in surprise.
“Hey!” He rolled them and pinned Michael to the sand. “No stealth tickling.”
Michael laughed. “Is that what it is called?”
“Aye. I just invented it.”
Michael laughed some more. “I see.”
Gabriel grinned at his lover and kissed him. Michael kissed him back, winding his arms around Gabriel, and they lay together on the sand, glued to one another, basking in their mutual love, with the sound of the sea in their ears and the benevolent light of the stars and moon shining down on them.
“Shall we go indoors?” Michael whispered against Gabriel’s lips.
“I was just thinking the same thing,” Gabriel murmured. He concentrated and teleported them from the seashore to their bed.
Michael purred happily, stretching beneath Gabriel. His arms were looped loosely around Gabriel’s neck and his eyes were soft, fond. Gabriel gazed down at Michael, feeling a surge of love for his bonded, accompanied by a surge of happiness.
“You make me very happy,” he said.
“And you make me very happy, also,” Michael said. “Happier than I sometimes feel I have a right to be. But I will not question it, not anymore. I will accept it, gladly, and cherish it, as I cherish you.”
Gabriel kissed him again, slow and sweet, and Michael’s arms tightened a little around him. Using his power, Gabriel removed their clothes, and he made a soft noise of approval into the kiss as he felt Michael’s strong, muscled body against his own without clothing impeding their contact. Gabriel ran a hand down Michael’s side, his fingers carefully mapping each line and contour of muscle and sinew, running over each piece of scar tissue. Beneath him, Michael wriggled a little, and Gabriel groaned as he felt Michael’s hard cock pressing against his belly.
“Did you want something?” Gabriel asked as he continued his languid caresses of Michael’s skin.
“I do,” Michael said.
“And what would that be?” Gabriel ran the backs of his knuckles over Michael’s pelvic bone, eliciting a soft gasp from his lover.
“You,” Michael said.