Demon hunter Del is one of the Nephilim, an angel human hybrid who, by thanks to her mixed heritage, is incredibly strong and extremely long lived. Tears of Heaven tells her story in two alternating time periods. The first time period takes place around 200BCE and finds Del up on the slave block for sale about to be purchased by Dami, the captain of a Greek trading vessel. This half of the storyline had to do with her life aboard Dami’s ship, the Wavedancer, and how her fortunes rise and fall with her new companions. The second time period flashes forward to the present day where Del has seemingly survived her ancient history life as a slave to become a self-destructive, gun-toting drunken mess who hates her job—namely, seeking out “rogue” demons and slaying them for ‘the Throne’. Switching back and forth between time periods, a clear picture of the forces that have made Del who and what she is begins to appear. While her life as a slave appears to go along as expected for a half angel living among humans, her present day life starts out badly and continues to unravel as she and her apprentice, Marrin (also one of the Nephilim), uncover the corruption that surrounds ‘the Throne’ and threatens the success of her latest (possibly last) assignment.
This book was actually the first self-published/indie book I read and it instantly made me wonder why I’d taken so long. The concept of a protagonist’s story broken up into two story lines set hundreds of years apart might seem a little ambitious for a first time novelist to tackle, but RA McCandless deftly handles the transitions between the two timelines. You get the feeling while reading that the author absolutely loves his protagonist and wants to covey not only a fast paced action story (swords! guns! exploding devils!), but also the inner workings behind what makes this fantastical character tick. What motivation could an angelic being have to protect humanity and wade into the age old battle of good vs. evil. Or, good vs. gooder, even. Other than the fact that she really likes guns and kicking devil ass. I found myself rooting for both Dels; the slave-slash-hopeful Del and the end of her rope devil assassin Del, but for different reasons, which I won’t give away, here.
Definitely a book for readers who enjoy strong female characters, gun holsters, Greek trading fleet warfare, angels who are a little too fond of humans, devils and the lovely scenic vistas of Salt Lake City.
Highly recommended for fans of dark(ish) Urban Fantasy.
3 Random Author Questions:
spewed out by Jasmine’s random question generator and graciously answered by this week’s author
- Give a brief description of your first-ever written story.
It was about a short little guy who lived in a hole in the ground. Not a dirty nasty hole, nor yet a dry, barren hole. It was a Hobbit hole, and that means comfort! Oh wait, that’s the first book I remember reading! Wish I’d written that one. I think it had potential. Maybe even a movie deal. The first story I wrote was a play called “The Day the Robots Made Time Stand Still”. I was ten and wrote it with my friend, Danny Nowicki. It featured two young, but incredibly clever and talented boys who were humanity’s last hope when robots took over and made time stand still. Unfortunately, financing for the play fell through, and when we started arguing over movie rights, our partnership came to an end.
- What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
What is this “criticism” of which you speak? All who read my books love them and despair!
I don’t think there’s an aspect of my writing that hasn’t been criticized. The first time and the first hundred times pretty much hit the same way. The difference is how an author takes that criticism. You can’t please all the people all the time, so you write for a particular audience, and hope that anyone who crosses a genre line also enjoys the work. I tend to like any world where a woman is as strong or stronger than most of the men around her. Personally, I prefer a woman who can go toe-to-toe and sword-to-sword with anyone else. But some readers aren’t willing to buy that conceit, although they’ll flock to a movie about an alien who can fly and shoot lasers out of his eyes. The tough part isn’t the criticism, but learning to be comfortable with your writing. It’s learning to tell a good story well and hit some epic high points.
- One tip for promoting a book?
Have a deep-pocketed publisher provide a million-dollar budget and appearance schedule, of course!
Marketing for indie/small press authors is difficult at best and takes a lot of time. It could be a full-time job in itself. That’s not what authors want to be doing. We want to be writing. But reaching out to create a base, a full platform for communication, is integral. Any agent or publisher will tell you the same, whether you’re going traditional or self-publishing. The best tip, especially for first time publishing authors, is to not get discouraged. That’s both cliché and true. Unless your name is King or Rowling, readers tend to be wary of picking up an untried author. Get the first book out, then keep writing. Keep posting to your blog. Keep updating your Twitter. Keep responding on Facebook.
Although, if you get the chance at a standard Rich & Famous contract, that will help.
Up Coming for RA McCandless: Hell Becomes Her
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