Interview With Michelle Rodriguez

Well, it’s the conclusion of Angels and Demons @The Humble Book Nerd. I hope everyone who’s been following this has had as much fun as I have! For our last post, I thought we’d do something special…an interview with the author! And guess what? You get to eavesdrop!

What inspired you to write about angels?

Too many years of Catholic schooling, LOL! There’s truly a kernel of truth in that. I attended Catholic grade school, high school, university, and I have cantored Sunday mass at one church or another most of my adult life. Obviously, it has made an impression, but I think I write about the faith I have and the faith I want to have. Religion is such a hard topic to pin down in words. Writing about angels and heaven, hell and the devil, gave me a way to take what I’d been taught in excess my entire life and make my own sense out of things. I wanted to make a bunch of imperfect people and show that even though they make mistakes and hurt, they learn that love transcends every plane of life, that even in their darkest hours, they have their love.

 Which book has been the easiest to write so far?

Book 5 “Snow Angels.” Here’s a bit of a spoiler: it’s modern. Can you believe it? Do I ever write modern? This was my first attempt at it, but there is so much memoir and growing up in it that it just poured out like a part of me. So much memoir, as in my heroine drives a huge ’94 hunter green Cadillac because her overprotective parents think it’s safer than any other car. Yes, that was me in my college years, unable to park because it was too big and looking ridiculous behind the wheel. I guess you could consider book 5 as cheap therapy, LOL!

And the hardest?

Book 3, “And Angels Will Fall”. Anyone who has read it can see the parallels between that book and the first book in the series, “The Devil’s Galley”. I wanted to write a book similar to the first one, with the same main concepts, but spin them upside down, take opposite routes and show deeper consequences. Plus, there is a lot more darkness in “And Angels Will Fall”. It was a challenge to let myself go there and trust the characters to find their way out. When you write the devil as your main antagonist, dark is the name of the game.

What are some of your favorite scenes you’ve written?

Oh god, that’s so hard to answer. I feel like if I reply from one book and not the others, I’m favoring one of my children over its siblings, LOL! So how about a scene from each book.

In “The Devil’s Galley”, my favorite scene to write was the scene where Rafe and Maggie are in the lighthouse, and she confronts him as to why he has returned. I even have it as an excerpt glued to my bedroom walls. It’s intense and passionate, and we finally see the stoic angel truly break apart and show his heart.

In “The Pirouettes That Angels Spin”, really any scene of “tomfoolery” with my 3 angel boys was a joy to write and kept me smiling to myself. My hero Ashland is my perfect emo boy. I adored giving him his young and emotional streak and bringing it to life. There’s a scene where he gets his fellow angel comrades, Julian and Foster, to help him serenade the heroine Poe. I hope he melts the readers’ hearts as much as he melted mine.

In “And Angels Will Fall”, there’s a scene in a stable where Gillian touches Sebastian’s face, and he begs her not to stop and admits it’s been lifetimes since he’s been touched. I think we live in a world where human contact is taken for granted, and for Gillian, especially, to hear that and realize how overwhelming such a concept is, it’s powerful. We forget the power in a single touch.

And in “Imprinted On a Demon’s Heart”, definitely the scene where the heroine Lorelai learns that Caspian is a demon. There is so much pent-up emotion in that scene, and it’s finally clear that in Caspian’s mind, he literally can’t keep existing without her. He is determined to do whatever he must not to lose her despite the ugly truth he can no longer hide. Ah, Caspian! I love all my heroes, but Caspian… He is something special.

The first two books of the series came through a traditional publisher. What was that experience like?

It was a learning process. I’m grateful for the opportunities I was given, but working with traditional publishers is just not for me. My books are like my children, and every word on every page is important. I didn’t like following their guidelines for how my story should be told. Actually, the first publisher I showed “The Devil’s Galley” to wanted me to rewrite the scene where the heroine Maggie tries to commit suicide, which is a core point in the book and would ruin the entire story if it was changed. They refused to even consider it as it was, insisting a heroine in a book they publish could not attempt suicide, and thankfully, I did not publish it with them. If anything, working with publishers taught me that I prefer doing it all myself.

Do you have any advice for authors looking to self-publish?

Another learning process, but if you want full control over your story and the language you use to tell it, self-publishing is the better route. It’s a lot of work; don’t get me wrong. I am my own editor and have to trust myself, which is not always easy for me. But to be able to tell my stories the way I want to and not have to change things to please a publisher is worth it to me.

Soul mates are a recurring theme so far. Is this a concept you believe in?

Wholeheartedly. I even wrote a paper in my college philosophy class arguing why I put such faith in it, and my professor actually wanted me to submit it for an award. I know it sounds so saccharine to say it and hold to such a romanticized belief, but I’m a hopeless romantic, what can I say? I love the idea of one perfect someone for everyone, a matching other half. In this series, I tried to take that concept in a different and new direction.

You’ve described hell in three books and heaven in one. Apart from what you’ve written, what is your idea of heaven?

I have hope that it’s a place where we are always with those we love. I, like most people in the world, go through times where blind faith is hard, and I question. But I’ve seen too many signs to say that this life is all we have. I just hope that someday when I get there, I am surrounded by so much love and everyone who’s been waiting for me to arrive and that I can sing with the angels.

What about heaven on earth?

Florida, LOL! I’m answering this question as to what MY perfect version of heaven on earth is, and it’s sitting on my porch in Florida overlooking the beach with the sound of the ocean in my ears and the breeze that flows off the gulf while the words are just flowing from my pencil (and occasionally, the kids and my husband are running through and driving me crazy, LOL!). Most of my dreams at night are about Florida, whether we’re on our way or there already. It’s my happy place.

Guardian angels also pop up a lot. Do you think we have angels watching over us?

Yes, most definitely. I think that angels are all around us, even if we don’t recognize it, and even if our prayers are not answered in the way we think, sometimes it’s just gaining that extra bit of strength to get through a rough time, picking ourselves up after going through traumas. Those things, to me, are proof that someone is there, holding our hand when we need them most.

Avoiding spoilers, are there any hints about the rest of the series you’re dying to give?

I think by the end of book 4, it’s obvious that there’s a battle brewing. Heaven versus hell with the mortal world caught in the middle. Lucifer is not someone to mess with, and he’s determined to have what is rightfully his. I can’t give too much away, only to tell you that a few familiar faces will pop up here and there, and book 5 will give you a lot of answers without the questions… You’ll see soon enough!

What other projects do you have in the works?

Everyone who knows me for my Phantom of the Opera stories knows that the 3rd collection of my short stories “Manifestations of a Phantom’s Soul” came out in September. This fall, I will also be publishing a collection of dark, mostly un-posted stories. These are the ones I have a panic attack to share, so this particular book is only going to be available through Createspace.com and not as widely dispersed.

Next year, I plan to publish one of my Phantom novels, “Scripted In Love’s Scars” as well as getting “Snow Angels” the fifth book in The Angel and Demon Chronicles out.

Writing wise, I am in the middle of book 7 of the series. I’ve been a bit distracted this summer by Erik and more Phantom stories that needed to find paper. Once he quiets down, I’ll be able to return to my original works. There may even end up being a crossover story that puts the Phantom in my angel and demon world. I guess you can call that another spoiler, LOL! 😉

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About AngelxPhoenix

Hello! Glad to meet you! I'm quite the character if you get to know me, and one of the first things you'll learn about me is that I love to read. I'm rarely without a book, I can quote my favorites verbatim, and my favorite place to hang out is the library (forget the bookstores. I'm always broke and can't buy anything, which always bums me out). And I love love LOVE to talk about my faves!
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One Response to Interview With Michelle Rodriguez

  1. Diane Erdahl says:

    Oh, this is such an excellent interview! I felt like I was listening to Michelle right in my home, with added detail into her methods and rationale for writing the Angels and Demon Chronicles; a great way to conclude!

    Like

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