E: Hi, Angela! Welcome to Erindipity. I see you’ve got something there. Did you bring me a present?
A: Why yes, yes I did. I brought you some chocolate covered cinnamon bears as a tribute to Copper Descent’s release next month. I made them special just for you—a thank you gift for having me. No Charlie! Those are Erin’s! Animals aren’t supposed to have…err… chocolate. Don’t worry, I’m sure he’s fine. Look, he’s smiling. Would you like to give them a try? There’s a few left without slobber on them. I promise you’ll never be the same after you’ve tasted their decadent loveliness.
Charlie is now banished to the basement until further notice. Bad Charlie!
E: Your first book is coming out very soon. What can you tell us about Copper Descent?
A: In this New Adult novel, you’ll find procreating angels, demon rock stars, Lucifer’s story tied into Native American legends, and temptation. Let’s not forget temptation. Nineteen-year-old Nina Douglas faces the ultimate enticement when she meets Sinauf, the dark god of her ancestors. Later on she discovers the gods in the legends were actually angels and fallen angels, and she’s the key that could tip the balance. It isn’t too much of a surprise. Her mother always said that Nina would fall for Sinauf. I have to admit, he’s pretty irresistible. Speaking of tempting, you still haven’t sampled any of my treat. Don’t you like candy?
E: Your main character is Native American. What was your research process like?
A: Funny you should mention it. Nina kind of knew she was Native American way longer than I did. The demographics and story structure were set up in such a way that I had an awkward moment in my third revision where she finally came out and admitted it. I changed her ethnic background and it all came together just like that! I’d already placed legends and folklore I loved as a child into the story, so the transition was seamless.
I also spent a lot of time researching ancient texts, mainly the book of Enoch in The Dead Sea Scrolls. Ezekiel was a complete nut, but he carried knowledge a man of his time shouldn’t have possessed. He talked about the gateways to heaven, eleven total. Four by sea, and seven on land. How could he have possibly known how many continents and oceans were on the earth? This was the premise I started with, and the rest kind of took on a life of its own. Ah, I see you couldn’t hold out forever. Aren’t they amazing? I can’t think of any flavor more sinful than chocolate and cinnamon combined together. My antagonist knows all about sin, he orchestrated the first, after all.
E: I think writing about Lucifer is an interesting craft choice. Have you received any negative comments about that choice?
A: On several occasions, I’ve been asked what could have possibly possessed me to write on this topic, but the answer is simple, really. I, too, was afraid of the monster. To overcome that fear, I decided to shed some light on the torrent of emotions tied to his name. I wanted to know if it was the entity who caused such a strong reaction or the array of feelings he represented.
The most resistance has come from the way I portray Lucifer, but it really wasn’t my image to begin with. I was fascinated with Milton’s take on Paganism and Lucifer’s role in our fall. Take the gods in most Mythologies and Occult arts. What happens if you put angels or fallen angels in their place? The beliefs become rather similar to a single god faith. Think of Lucifer walking the earth from the beginning of time, posing as gods. Does it make sense that he is ugly, or would he be beautiful, charming and irresistible? I imagined he’d be consumed with vengeance and superiority. What better role to play out his ego trip than a famous rock star with millions of adoring fans?
I also wanted to make a path to overcome his hate and find a way home, but only if his pride allow it. Even if he managed to make this choice, how would he cope with his permanent disfigurement and the judgment of his own race? He was capable of loving once. Unable to die, does he still pine for a possible mate? His banishment is eternal, carried on until Humanity’s suffering is at an end. Of course, he would do everything within his power to speed up the process.
Considering all of this, do I think his actions are justified? Absolutely not! But after I developed his character, I found I no longer feared Lucifer, but pitied him. Even though his return to grace would be best achieved by eradicating evil, he has continued to create misery instead. He has chosen to remain in a hellish existence. After all this time, he’s still fighting his war, but we can decide not to participate or play into his hands. Just like the chocolate cinnamon bears. The candy isn’t responsible for being tempting even when it’s covered in slobber, but we can decide how we react to wanting it. In many ways, this is the power Lucifer uses against us. He likes to play on our flawed nature.
E: What are you currently working on?
A: Iron Resolve, the second book in The Sentient Chronicles. There will be six or seven total, depending on how many it takes to tell the full story. In the next, we follow Myke Preston, a man with a weak disposition. He walks away from his wife and daughter to discover his world has literally crumbled beneath his feet. The only way back to his family is through a hellish maze of doors that lead through his tragic past. I touch on some pretty heavy issues in this novel, like addiction, infidelity, and domestic violence. I’m also working on a cautionary tale of hypnotherapy and mass murder called D-Brie.
E: How has your publishing journey been so far?
A: Fox Hollow has been awesome to work with. They’re in it for the long haul, and work tirelessly to make their authors happy. I feel very fortunate to have come in on the ground floor on a company I believe will have a very promising future.
Now, on a personal level, I’ve had a few moments where I’m like, “What the hell were you thinking?!” All writers have to be a little crazy to expose ourselves even more intimately than if we were standing in a room full of people naked, but our words are pointless if they’re never shared. So I make myself crawl out of the fetal position, and try remember that my work doesn’t define me, it just enhances what’s already there.
E: What part of the process has been the most fun for you? Which has been the most tedious?
A: Character development has to be my favorite part of writing. I like to get into the heads others and try figure out how they tick. Naturally, I do this with fictitious people as well. Once I have my characters pegged, I can figure out the best ways to mess with their heads.
The hardest has been the rejection. You need to have a pretty thick skin to make it in this business. If I wouldn’t have loved the craft so much and wasn’t so stubborn, I probably would have quit in the beginning.
E: If you had to pick one author to be your unofficial mentor (unofficial because they wouldn’t actually know about it), who would you pick and why would you want to use them as a resource?
A: Stephen King. I read The Talisman when I was eleven-years-old. Now, I don’t recommend for children to read Stephen King (I had a rather interesting childhood), but for me, something in the other worldy feel of his work resonated to my core. I didn’t really understand the connection until years later when I, too became a writer. Originally, I wanted to write for kids, but my work was way too macabre. No matter how hard I tried to be light and funny, I just couldn’t. Around this time, I picked up The Dark Tower series. I can’t remember exactly in which book it happens, but the main character, Roland carries on a conversation with Stephen King. It was profound—the creator speaking to his creation. The dialogue was life-changing for me. King talked about channeling his work, having it come from somewhere else. He really has no control over what happens. Finally, I understood why some work came so easily and the rest was like pulling teeth. When I was forcing the story go the way I wanted, it fought me. My expectations needed to be set aside so I could allow the plot to derive from that other place. I’m good at scary, and that’s okay.
Angela Hartley spent much of her childhood being shuffled from house to house with only a book for companionship. The magic she found in the written word saved her in many ways, transporting her into worlds far more enjoyable than the one she resided in. Literature became a passion and the idea of writing carried her through years of uncertainty.
After high school, she met and married her own Prince Charming. They rode off into the sunset in his blue Toyota and a whole new world full of hope and happiness opened up. He claimed they could move mountains together, and they did.
While facing the painful realization that sometimes there are no tomorrows following her father’s tragic death in 2005, she decided it was time to follow her dreams. With the love and support of her family, she dove into another world, full of procreating angels and demon rock stars.
Her debut new adult horror novel, Copper Descent will be released on Amazon May 2014. Angela currently resides in Midway, Utah with her three children and husband. You can find her on her blog or on Facebook.