Today I have author friend Cecelia Earl over for an interview about her latest release. (Everything else you need to know about “When Fire Rains Down” and the rest of the Kingdom Come series is at the end of the interview.)
Let’s start the interview.
Thanks so much for having me for this interview!
- What inspired you to write this book?
I started the series a couple of years ago after spending a year or two writing contemporary realistic stories for young adults. I’d been keeping tabs on several writing/blogging friends who were entering into the indie publishing business and was completely inspired by them, their stories, their business know-how, and their success. I wanted to give it a go.
I’d been reading angel books that year (Hush, Hush, Unearthly, City of Bones, …) and wanted to try something more fantastical and fast-paced than what I’d been writing. I figured writing spiritual warfare would help me to write stories that were more action-packed. While that ended up being true, I still tend to start my books out rather slowly, bringing readers into an ordinary, realistic world before transitioning into the paranormal. My books, I suppose, are well grounded in realism with a splash of fantasy, though I think the fantastical aspects increase as the series progresses.
- What are your books about and who is the audience? (Including genre.)
My books are about an eighteen-year-old girl named Julia who finds out she’s not quite human, nor is her family. She has to come to believe in the angels and demons that are hidden from the rest of humanity but are very visible and real to her. She’s suddenly immersed in the spiritual world while still living in her ordinary one. She’s confronted with the task of battling demons to save her friends and family, and while she definitely wants to keep them safe, she doesn’t necessarily want to commit to a life of being a warrior. She’s also conflicted because she no longer knows who to trust – and who to love – as she faces uncertainty in both her family and romantic relationships.
The series is written for teens and adults (15+) and is clean with some battle sequences and deals with death and dying.
- Which mythologies have you tapped into in creating your fiction? Do you stick to one set of gods/heroes per story, or do you combine them?
My books are written from my Christian (Catholic) worldview, so my angelic characters believe in the higher power they serve. My books deal with good vs. evil, angels and demons, Heaven and Hell, living and dying, and life after death. I don’t add any “magic” or any other fantastical creatures in my stories. All power comes from the power of God in a form I refer to as Glory.
- What was your hardest scene to write?
I had a really hard time finishing book 3 in the trilogy. I wanted to perfectly tie in everything that had happened in books 1 and 2. I wanted every character arc to be realized, every loose end tied up, every foreshadowed event to come to be, and every plot line to be complete. I stressed about disappointing readers and disappointing myself. I created a lot of writer’s block for myself as I drafted the final chapters!
- What did you edit out of this book?
When Ash Rains Down had a lot more explicit religious scenes in it before a beta reader wrote that she felt I was clobbering her over the head and preaching to her. She was not happy with the story, so there was one main scene that I removed completely and others that were severely revised and toned down.
Initially I struggled with delineating the angels’ and Julia’s motivations, and so in order to understand them myself and explain them to readers I went overboard including the religious implications that might cause angels to battle demons for humanity’s sake and how that would impact Julia and her life in the books.
- What did you learn from writing your first book?
Ha, my first book. I wrote that in 2010. It was twice the length of the novels I write now. It was overwritten and filled with purple prose. My main character woke up from a dream to start the story, she looked in a mirror to describe herself to the reader and my query letters were so long I shrunk the font to fit it on a page. I made every mistake a newbie writer can make. That story is in a binder under my bed.
I queried my contemporary realistic novels with much more success because I cleaned my writing up and learned how to do it correctly. I chose not to query this series because I wanted to control every aspect of its publication.
- Do you hide any secrets in your stories that only a few people will find?
- Do your stories carry a message?
Yes… Angels are real, and so are demons. They are battling over the fate of your soul. Death is not the end. Live life filled with hope because of the life to come. Live your earthly life for your eternal one. Love others. Trust others. Help others and allow them to help you. Have faith. Find peace. 🙂 Too many?
- What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?
Well, I think it’s special because while it’s considered paranormal or fantasy, for me, a believer, it’s real. While I portray angels and demons and the human characters I made up in my own imaginative way, the existence of spiritual beings, Heaven and Hell, Truth vs. evil, are not made up at all.
- How much of yourself do you put into your books?
Hmmm… I am an introvert who has a hard time coming out of my shell. My protagonists tend to be shy and anti-social and hardworking. I need to not do this anymore! While I think I’m likeable, Julia isn’t liked by everyone. Many readers have a hard time connecting with her. (Stick with her through the series, though, readers! You’ll be happy with her growth and transformation! I promise!)
Some of the places in my stories are based off real-life places I’ve visited or live near. Some of the characters are named after my best friends or cousins.
- What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
My editing company. It’s very expensive to hire a good editor, and I’ve yet to make back all the money I’ve spent on each novel and companion stories in this series. But my editor and team of beta readers and final eyes’ readers give me confidence that I’m putting out the best stories I can. My reviews all say my stories are well written and I take that as the highest praise.
- What is the dream goal you’d like to achieve?
To write full time. I’d love to sell enough books that I can make enough money to write for a living.
Cecelia Earl graduated with a degree in education and has been teaching ever since. She’s a wife, a mom of three boys, and an owner of a magical laundry pile that never stops growing. She lives near enough to Green Bay, WI that her refrigerator is always stocked with cheese, and the first colors her children learned were green and gold.
She’s a first grade teacher in a Catholic school by day, a mom always, and a writer in her sleep, but that’s okay because being an author is a dream come true. She writes angel fantasy books for young and youngish adults. If you feel young, she writes for you—whether or not you feel particularly angelic.
(I have a couple of giveaways going on all all month! Check out my Facebook page to be entered to win books, swag, or gift cards!)
Social media links:
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ cdvvIj
Tumblr, Pinterest, Youtube @authorcecelia
When Ash Rains Down
Buy link: https://goo.gl/pnmb9Z
Angels are real.
So are demons.
Shady Creek gets a whole lot scarier after Julia learns she’s part angel, especially since the only person she can trust is an angel who’s as infuriating as he is attractive.
Julia received a necklace containing the songs of the angels from her dad when she was four. When she was eleven, he abandoned her family and the necklace went silent. At seventeen, Julia’s doing everything she can to maintain security for her family, but now her necklace seems to have come to life once again. And that’s not all that’s changing.
When a robber attempts to steal from their diner, the necklace blazes and burns her chest. Pain in her back is nearly unbearable as the thief transforms before her eyes… into something demonic.
Demon after demon threaten Julia’s home, family, and friends, and she realizes there may have been something more behind her dad’s disappearance. And now there may be something–or someone–dangerous after her.
Julia has to accept that she is not quite human. Will her infuriating but attractive Guardian Angel be able to prepare her for the battle to come?
When Smoke Rains Down
Buy link: https://goo.gl/ybzeh4
If only humans knew about the invisible dangers lurking around them…
Unable to confide in anyone about her double life of being both human and angel, and fearful she’ll bring more death and destruction to those she loves, Julia pulls away from her family and best friend.
When demons once again start to show up at every turn, seemingly bringing about her brother’s deepening depression, she demands her sword from Nicholas. Ever the stern Guardian Angel, he forbids her from using a weapon. Sick of fighting with Nicholas and confused about her feelings for him, Julia takes protecting her brother into her own hands as best she can.
But when demons are suddenly able to siphon souls from the living, ash-colored lines begin to appear on humans, lines of demonic poison that travel through their veins toward their hearts and alter their moods. Julia is in more danger than she ever imagined possible. To stop evil from spreading and overtaking those she loves, she’ll have to seek out the one person she mistrusts most – her father – especially when a line appears on her own arm.
Enter a complex world where humans, demons, and angels collide, all battling to rule the Earth.
When Fire Rains Down
Buy link: https://goo.gl/CgwvaQ
Hell is nothing like Julia imagined and beyond everything she feared.
The little town of Shady Creek is under attack by Lucifer and his demons. To save the people she loves, human-angel Hybrid Julia must rescue their kidnapped Guardian Angels, even if it means defying her father.
Trouble is, he knows only too much about Hell’s perils. When a demon sucks Julia into a cosmic vacuum, the experience leaves an indelible blight she dares not mention for fear of losing her place on the angelic rescue team.
As a growing demon army surrounds Shady Creek, Julia’s feelings for her own Guardian become all too real and dangerous. But the cosmic imbalance fueled by Hybrid Angels, Rogue Guardians and Warriors is already depleting the strength of the rescue team. And there’s no room for distraction when the mission is to get into Hell–and out again.
For the sake of the mission, Julia must face the truth of the Hybrids’ existence. Because nobody will be safe unless she can trust the gift of free will–for others and for herself–in this end-of-the-world finale to The Legend of Shady Creek Trilogy.
The trilogy sounds great, right? I’ve already read the first book (check out my Goodreads review here) and can tell you that it is a refreshing take on the whole angels vs demons thing.