From concept, through three suspense thriller screenplay versions, to finished manuscript, this ambitious fiction novel took a total of eleven years to complete! It began when a tense, pivotal scene played itself in my head; I thought, "This would make a cataclysmic ending to a Best Picture film!" Then began the long process of getting to know the characters, and listening to them, to understand what series of emotions and events had brought them to that brink. Their motivations, doubts, strengths, mysterious backgrounds...everything began to be revealed as they slowly peeled back the veil for me to see. I felt the suspense, saw the emphasis on honor and moral courage, saw the solidity of the heroic few. Although I'm no bible salesman or Catholic theology spiritual growth proselytizer or Christian fiction poetry pusher, at some point I still realized that the tale I was writing paralleled an ancient biblical fable, told for centuries, about a Captain of Heaven's army who had been shouldered with the task of casting Evil out of Paradise. Such a plot is timeless, and of compelling universal appeal. I saw it could be grounded in contempoorary mortal struggles; it needn't be precisely about angels, per se. And such a plot can fall out in many different ways, and I saw that a hero could potentially play a triumphant, or ineffective, or even sacrificial role, on many levels.
After the better part of a decade developing the story and trying to figure out the snarled world of Hollyood marketing, an experienced and wise film producer (Max Freedman, whose knowledge of contemporary fiction and movie projects I found invaluable) liked my book and its art/creativity, saw its best-seller mainstream potential, and encouraged me to re-write it in "long form"--a full length novel. He challenged me to make it as polished as a fine piece of literary fiction. Three years more of arduous research and careful crafting saw ARCHANGEL ready for the world.
Be aware that this story parallels the classic biblical tale by design, not by accident; names and roles are purposefully recognizable, and I don't for a second think that the obvious familiarity catches any reader by surprise. I intend it that way (it's part of the psychology of the work), so that those similarities are instantly evident and therefore non-topical, and one can focus on the far more interesting differences. Not every reader does well with that literary device, but it has been used at least sparsely in classic literature for centuries...and a story like this one is in fact where the device shines. ARCHANGEL relies on the contrast between such similarity and difference. Like the classics, it doesn't lean on a legion of quadruple twists or gimmicks, and (although bad people must behave badly) it doesn't paint scenes that are gratuitously over-violent or artificially sensual (that is, no cheap tricks). Nor does it push trite, unidimensional characters on a kindle book reader or paperback reader, or inject action adventure that doesn't fit the theme--nothing over-sensationalized beyond the plausible. It does keep readers who can let a story be itself on the edge of their seats. Why? Because they come to care for the characters...as did I.
The protagonist is principled, albeit far from weak. "Solid" is the word some readers have used. His leadership stems from those principles, evident to the others, and from the fact that he cares about more than himself. He's no caricature superhero, no supernatural wannabe. The series of events are precisely what he fears...and what he needs.
The story's era and western setting lend a simplicity, a peace akin to natural beauty...verbal photography...and at the same time set up a tense contrast between those serene qualities and the darker forces that reside in the town. The tension is almost audible--almost ominously musical. There is a healthy blend of mystery and suspense, action thriller, romantic suspense thriller, crime drama, and murder mystery here...even contemporary romance and western romance are in the mix--and even occasional flashes of comedy (moments of subtle humor, anyway) punctuate the more sinister elements of conspiracy, concern for survival, horror of wanton murder (the Native American family victims who are now just fading twilight memories and ghosts), the aftermath of a financially influential serial killer...the war between Good and Evil. There's the uplifting, too--the simple happiness of innocence, the magic of friendship evolving into selfless love. Again, I'm not a soap-box prophet of spirituality/religion, not a faith-healing over-dropper of the name Jesus, but I do realiize Christianity is of immense motivational value to so many people, and this story does justice to such higher ethics without in the least sacrificing the sense of raw realism everyone in the mainstream loves.
The back-story weaves through a few pivotal eras of American history (even military history, if the odd reference to Cavalry skirmishes counts), and subscribes in its action to a dual line of moral philosophy and martial arts ethic--a duality not easy to achieve. The hint of romantic undercurrent, as a motivator for decision, tantalizes virtually everyone (from inspirational to historical fiction to Christian romance novel readers). It is a kind of love story, at its very core, but fraught with epic danger, death, and demons--with doubt, decision, and deeds of valour.
Parts of the story make some people cry. I'm so sorry...and, ashamedly, pleased, because it means the characters have become real.
Our readers now span more than 23 countries (and all without translation!). By all metrics, 98.54% of readers thoroughly enjoy the novel, many referring their friends to it. Few satisfied readers tend to come back to voice their "highly recommended" book recommendations publicly; well-mannered people are busy, and private...I can easily relate. But If you love it I'd be delighted to hear from you personally--I love building strong relationships with people who appreciate this level of subtlety, complexity, and quality.
The story is complete; I won't "stretch" it by writing sequels...unless the characters tell me some day that they've fallen into yet another dire scenario, which is contrary to believable odds for real people. (Instead I developed another--equally tense but still different--following act, in the adventure/emotional/sci-fi/thriller OPEN DISTANCE, which is a tale of high risk competitors driven beyond the edge by irrational emotion, and which, like ARCHANGEL, is based on much personal experience. OPEN DISTANCE turned out EXACTLY as I'd hoped, and it too will put you on the edge of your seat...so for that one, buckle in.)
Sometimes, with close friends, I share my own opinion about novels, that being that there is no such thing as "great fiction." There is terrible fiction, to be sure, and lacklustre fiction in horrific abundance. But if it's great, it isn't fiction; it is Truth about the human condition encapsulated in a story. The novel is just a delivery mechanism for real meaning. As such, it is more than entertainment--it is experience; it is Life. This is the level of value I strove to achieve in ARCHANGEL.
I believe you'll enjoy it.[Readers who seek cheap Kindle books will appreciate that this one started free, then 99 cents, and has gone up only a little since those days. And the Kindle book edition is far better value than a typical Kindle freebie (a Kindle free book being often priced free for first-novel indie author promo, by many Kindle authors anyway). ARCHANGEL is a significant work--not a light novella, not short fiction, not a short story (for me short stories take far less time to develop). It appeals to those who love gripping tales...even fans of fantastic fare such as Harry Potter and Stephen King's works. As an ebook, ARCHANGEL makes a great gift idea for those with an ebook reader or tablet or smart phone.]