Guest post and giveaway with Jane Kindred ~ The Fallen Queen (#1 of The House of Arkhangel’sk series).
Jane Kindred is here to enlighten us about angels in mythology (including our current header which contain cupids), and about the world building in The Fallen Queen. The novel is the first in a planned trilogy that contains the winged beings as its main characters, and is a high romantic fantasy with some erotic aspects. This creates a terrific read to enjoy during the “love season” – Spring time and Valentine’s day.
Best yet is that we have on offer - up for giveaway is one ebook copy for an international winner!
Thank you Jane for sharing your insight around angels, and how you built the complex world in your latest novel. It’s a pleasure and welcome!
Angelology and World Building
Thanks for having me today on Layers of Thought. First, I have to say, I love your seasonal banner. The Birth of Venus is a gorgeous painting. An interesting note about the cupids is the similarity between those in secular paintings (called putti, or in this case amorini) and the images of Cherubim in religious paintings. (I only know this because one of my favorite authors, Lynn Flewelling, blogged about putti last Valentine’s Day and I had to look it up. I’m an obsessive Googler and Wikipedia addict, and end up researching anything and everything just because it’s there.)
I had always wondered why Cherubim were depicted as babies in classical paintings, since their description in the Bible is so imposing: fierce, fiery creatures that simultaneously have the face of a man, a lion, an eagle, and an ox. When I was planning The House of Arkhangel’sk series, I researched angelology and the classical heavens because I wanted to take these concepts and give them my own fantasy twist. While the Cherubim don’t make an appearance in my series until Book Two: The Midnight Court, the other two orders of angels in their choir, the Seraphim and Ophanim, feature prominently in The Fallen Queen.
I had a lot of fun creating my own angelic hierarchy, particularly with this choir of angels, which I call firespirits. In traditional angelology, there are nine orders of angels, grouped into three “choirs.” In the Arkhangel’sk world, I added a fourth choir so that I could assign one of the classical elements—earth, air, fire, and water—to each choir. The main reason for this was to give my angelic and demonic characters specific powers based on their elements, but the most fun part of that was creating their wings. I decided only firespirits could have wings in Heaven, and I would make my firespirits “pure elementals” who were made of living fire, with towering wings of flame. Out of the three of them, I especially enjoyed coming up with the physical appearance of the Ophanim, because these are angels most people haven’t heard of. I gave them a colder, whiter fire than the other two orders, with an electric quality that makes their touch and the sound of their voices excruciating. Because of the nature of the fire elementals, they were ideal as the law enforcers and bounty hunters of Heaven.
My heroine, Anazakia, is a waterspirit, and when she falls to the world of Man, she discovers her wings for the first time when she tries to drown herself in despair after her family is murdered. Water is her element, and she releases her wings reflexively, not even knowing at first what’s holding her up above the Neva River until she looks up to see the translucent liquid wings over her head. The demon Belphagor soon follows with his own airspirit wings—those were harder to describe. How do you have wings of air when you’re in the air? I decided his were nearly transparent, but visible because of a swirling spectrum of dark color like you might see in an oil slick. And though my demon firespirit Vasily isn’t a full-blooded elemental like the Cherubim, Seraphim, and Ophanim, he does get a chance to spread his wings of ruby-colored flame when he’s in the world of Man.
The other purpose of my angelic hierarchy was to echo the class system of tsarist Russia. In my world, rather than being creatures from Hell, the demons are the peasant class of the Heavens, while the angels are the ruling nobility. The classical Seven Heavens also work well as a setting for this political dynamic, serving as a sort of empire where each Heaven is a separate princedom subject to the tsar-like Principality of the Firmament. The Russian Empire was actually much vaster than my Heavens, but seven is traditional—and a lot more manageable. You only get to see one of these princedoms in The Fallen Queen, but the others become much more important in the rest of the series.
World building can be a delicate balancing act, trying to decide how much detail you need to convey your world to your readers without overwhelming them—much like this blog post. ;) But with such a rich field of literature and mythology to draw from, I had a blast researching these books, and even more fun writing them.
Thank you Jane for such an intriguing post!
Bio: Jane Kindred began writing fantasy at age 12 in the wayback of a Plymouth Fury—which, as far as she recalls, never killed anyone…who didn’t have it coming. She spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. Although she was repeatedly urged to learn a marketable skill, she received a B.A. in Creative Writing anyway from the University of Arizona.
She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed. You can find Jane on Twitter: @JaneKindred; on Facebook: www.facebook.com/somewherebetweenheavenandhell; or on her website: www.janekindred.com
The Fallen Queen; December 2011; Entangled Publishing – Here is the blurb:
Heaven can go to hell.
Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia’s father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel’sk, and all she wants is to stay alive.
Hunted by Seraph assassins, Anazakia flees Heaven with two Fallen thieves—fire demon Vasily and air demon Belphagor, each with their own nefarious agenda—who hide her in the world of Man. The line between vice and virtue soon blurs, and when Belphagor is imprisoned, the unexpected passion of Vasily warms her through the Russian winter.
Heaven seems a distant dream, but when Anazakia learns the truth behind the celestial coup, she will have to return to fight for the throne—even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved.
We have one ebook available internationally! You do not need to be a follower to win this book, all you have to do is fill out the Google form below. Please note that there are erotic elements within this story, so please be over 18.
If you are viewing this via email – the form may not appear. So link on by to enter the contest. Good luck!
Also we want to let all our readers and friends know we are traveling again for the week. Posting will be at standstill, so will twitter, but we have some interesting stuff coming up when we return.
Have a five star week!