Today I've got author Laura Lee on my blog. She's here to promote the release of her new book Angel. Over to you, Laura!
I was recently asked in an interview, “What was your purpose in writing Angel?”
My answer was deceptively simple: “I wanted to write the best novel I could.”
This will surprise some people, because there is a widespread misconception that my novel is a parable of some sort. People don’t assume this of everyone’s novel, but they do in my case.
Angel is the tale of a Christian minister whose world is turned upside down when he finds himself attracted to another man. If the specifics of the story were a bit different, if the minister had another kind of crisis of faith, or if it were a story of star crossed lovers of different genders, I wouldn’t get as many of these questions. People are used to thinking of homosexuality and Christianity, especially in combination, as “issues.” So it seems to follow that I have written a position paper. I haven’t. I’ve written a novel. It has a point of view, no good story can be told without one, but this is different from “an argument.”
I have had reviewers say that I should have “shown the other side.” But how could I present the “other side” of my character Paul’s life story? What is the “other side” of the argument to your life story? Do you know? I can’t imagine what the “other side” of my life story would be. All of the roads not taken?
This is why I am not the least offended if someone doesn’t share Paul’s theological point of view, if they don’t approve of his actions, if they don’t like him. I feel as if I have succeeded if the character is real to the reader. I take pride in the fact that readers have gotten mad at Paul for a variety of contradictory reasons. They have loved him and been frustrated with him and disapproved of him. The first reader called the second main character Ian “too good to be true.” The second called him “pathetic.” If I were making an argument, this would be terrible, because somehow I would not be getting my point across to someone. But I am thrilled about this, because it means my character is not a cartoon. I have created someone who is multi-faceted and can be seen in different ways.
Readers have gotten mad at me for not giving them the ending that they wanted. That is fine too, because it says that they cared enough about the characters to want a different fate for them. I have been as pleased by some of the two star reviews as the five stars. (Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t love a five star review? I’d be a liar if I said anything else. Keep the five star reviews coming.)
It might help to get beyond the distractions of the politics of Church and gay rights if I explain how I came to write Angel. It all started with a trip to Mount Rainier in Washington. I took a bus tour and was surprised to learn that the tour guide was someone who had “burnt out” on the ministry. I was inspired by the scenery and intrigued by the question of what makes a minister burn out and seek solace in the beauty of nature. I thought it would make a great story. For a number of years, I struggled to find just the right conflict that would put a minister on a different trajectory from his congregation. The idea that the crisis would be caused by attraction to another man came much later. When it did, though, I recognized right away that it was the piece of the puzzle that made everything fit. It was the most dramatic, interesting story. I did not hesitate to follow my muse.
So what is the message of the novel? What was I trying to say?
“Here is a story about something that happened to a character named Paul. What do you think?”
Buy Angel Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Fiction / LGBT
Rating – PG13
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