SFX talks to best-selling author Heather Killough-Walden about her new angel-centric, supernatural romance series The Lost Angels
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Are angels the new vampires?
Honestly, I don’t think anything in the world will ever replace vampires. I’m not sure what it is about the vampire that makes it so eternally alluring, but whatever it is, the vampire has it down. It’s for that reason that I made certain to allow these forever seductive creatures their own face time in my Lost Angels series. Angels are hot; who wouldn’t love a set of wings like that? To say nothing of the power, the responsibility, and the maturity that a man has to possess in order to take on the tasks that angels have to face. Those are qualities that are just so damn attractive, it’s ridiculous. Add a set of really sharp teeth and the guts to use them into the mix, and you’re breathing heavily before you crack the spine.
You have 25 words or fewer to sell the plot of Avenger’s Angel to us. Go…
Archangels, vampires, an ancient search for a precious being – and the powerful contenders who will turn the world upside down to win her heart.
What’s the unique twist in the novel? What will draw us in?
There are a lot of books about angels these days. Two years ago, when I first wrote the book – not so much. But it takes a while for books to come out and now it has competition. Fortunately, this book is utterly unlike any other angel novel on the shelves. It’s not just about angels. It’s about archangels. And not just any archangels, but the four favoured : Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Azrael. These four angels are legendary characters so steeped in the fascination and intrigue of historical mythology, they actually surpass the boundaries of religion and push the envelope of folklore.
I’ve painted a picture with these men using a kaleidoscope of emotion and personality that will leave the reader completely fascinated with their developing characters, their backgrounds, and their wants and desires. Readers have trouble putting this book down. I can completely understand why. The magic in my work lies not only in the plot, but more importantly (and famously) in the dynamic, multi-dimensional depth of the characters who literally steal my pens and write their own stories on the pages of my books.
How much research did you do into angel mythology? How much did you use/ignore?
As I mentioned above, these four angels are different from the others. You can find Gabriel in several different religions. There is reference to Azrael going as far back as Zoroastrianism (though the names are different). My degree in religious studies and the fact that I focused a lot on apocalyptic literature while earning it definitely played a part in the technical aspects of the book – but the great thing about using characters so old and inherently, vitally powerful is that you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want with them. And I have.
What are the key do’s and don’ts of supernatural romance?
I’ve never been one to follow rules set out for me by others, so even if there were any communal paranormal romance laws, I’m not sure I would adhere to them. That said, probably a lot of readers want happy endings. They want the guy to get the girl. These days, women want powerful heroines, and I can understand why. They want steaming hot sex scenes, but the tastes on these run as different as the colours of the rainbow and to the far ends of the spectrum.
Personally? I have my own “rules” for writing paranormal romance. Yes, my women are powerful. Hell, my archesses can heal the sick and wounded, throw heavy objects across the room with their minds, send fireballs sailing into their enemies, and pull lightning out of the bloody skies. But I want my men to be even more powerful – because nothing is more sexy than a power struggle between a strong woman and a man who both loves her and is strong enough to withstand everything she can throw at him. I want them both to be able to give as good as they can get.
I also hate perfection, but since no one wants to read about short, fat heroes or heroines with bad breath or toe nail fungus, I tend to put the faulty, familiar “human” characteristics on the inside . There is no good and bad, no black or white, and no clear line between what is right or wrong in my books. You can’t ever become complacent; take nothing for granted. You never know who to trust. And just when you think you’ve figured out what is going to happen next – SLAM – you’re dead wrong. And you grin from ear to ear, because being surprised in a book is freaking fun . It’ll keep you turning pages like nothing else.
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What makes a good romantic heroine?
My heroines will never give in right away. They can’t be bought with a date to the movies or a box of jewellery. They’re deep, three-dimensional beings with real issues, fears, and problems and they need a man who will not only understand this, but empathize with it. And then fix those problems (or die trying, LOL).
What do you like in a man? Would you date an angel?
I’m not an archess. As my first book was originally named, I’m “No Angel”. I honestly don’t have what it takes to deal with the crap I’m throwing at my characters. They definitely don’t have it easy.
That said, I would date Azrael in a heart beat (if he would have me). That man is tall, dark, mysterious, dangerous, and powerful hotness incarnate. And then there’s Samael… Don’t get me started.
Your blog says you started writing at five. What were you writing back then?
I kept a Hello Kitty Diary. One of the things in the terribly worn journal it is a poem about how people are like bananas. Even when they are bruised or ugly on the outside, they could be hiding something sweet and good underneath.
Who or what have been the main influences on your work?
Life. I write what I know. I’ve written more than a dozen novels ranging from science fiction to fantasy to young adult to thriller to romance and paranormal romance and the thing they all have in common is that the characters within those books feel what they’re going through deeply and truly. I’ve been through a lot and I’m a sensitive being, so I absorb nearly every aspect, both painful and glorious, of everything I experience. It’s heck on the psyche sometimes, but it’s great for writing a book.
What can we expect from future books in the series?
Expect to fall so head over heels in love with certain characters, you won’t be able to stop thinking about them. Obsessing over them. Dreaming about them. You’re going to hear a song on the radio and think about these characters. You’re going to see men and women in movies and automatically compare them with these characters. You’re going to wind up browsing the web for images that might have a hope in hell of fitting the picture you have in your mind when you imagine these characters. You won’t be able to help it.