There is an unwritten rule that angels have to be kinda bad boys and demons have to really be the misunderstood good guys when it comes to angel stories. There should be a distinct divide between the angel and any real hints of heaven and hell, and if heaven or hell is mentioned, it's not like we humans think it is.
Yeah, I missed those rules too.
Here's the thing, I love the stark and unmistakable dynamic of good against evil. There is no mistaking what is bad and what is good in my stories. The teams and field of play are clearly defined. It's everything else that gets confusing.
Enter the fallible character, the angel forced to test the boundaries, throw away the rulebook and fight for what he knows in his heart is right, even when everyone around him is telling him he's wrong.
To me, this is when things really get interesting. Just because the heroes are angels doesn't mean they are perfect. Their uncertainty, the struggle to find their way out of a confusing situation and possible repercussions that are far worse than just dying bring the tension up and make my brain go into overdrive.
But why angels and demons?
It probably has a lot to do with a very religious upbringing. I learned to read by following congregational songs in the hymnal, and I'm pretty sure I was reciting Bible verses before I knew my alphabet. But as I grew up, I also learned to question what I was told was right and wrong. Once I was old enough to reason things out, I was encouraged to think for myself instead of blindly following what someone else told me was right.
I value that lesson more than any other. It's one thing to know the legalities of right and wrong, another entirely to understand the morality that makes something truly good or evil.
In the end, that is the lesson I most wanted my angels and demons to learn. Something isn't right or because someone else says it is, or because you can get away with it. It's right because it at its core pure and generous, with no greater purpose than to make the world a better place for someone else.
Are you an angel fan? I'd love to hear what you like about them.
The third book in my Heavenly Lovers series is coming soon from Ellora's Cave. Watch for it!