Asher of the Angelmen is the second paraquel in the Angelmen series. Four angelmen will be brought together to take up their roles as leaders in The Battle of the Angelmen. (Book 5)
The Angelmen Series
Someone will have to die.
Life must be relinquished for the salvation of another. So, someone will die. In the human world, it has already been done. But the race of the Nephilim has a different war to fight. And their sacrifice has yet to be given.
It will be one of the four.
Asher of the Angelmen, released March 3, 2014
Let's make it short and sweet. I am not short, but I love sweets. Seriously, my favorite things in my life are: Jesus, my husband, 3 kids (11-year-old Hannah, 10-year-old Christian, and 7-year-old Audrey), my house in Pennsylvania, my 3 cats, the soft sheets on my bed, Eagles football, and cheesecake and ice cream. I have a feeling those last two are pretty important to a lot of almost- 40-year-olds. Knowing those things pretty much tells you nearly everything about me. I'm a PA Christian sports-nut, future crazy cat lady mom who has to exercise like crazy and also like the beach. How's that for a summary?
How long have you been writing?
I started out writing children's picture books, but don't look for them on the shelves. None made it to publication. When I was a teacher (about 15 years ago), I read books to my class that just seemed to be ridiculously simple ideas. I knew I could come up with something like that. I wrote 14 books and rotated them between as many publishers as I though might give me a chance.
In my research, I realized that picture book publication is one of the hardest "genres" to break into. So I thought maybe I should start with "older" books and work my way down.
Opening my mind to possibilities, I realized I had to write what I liked. While I had been building distance in my running, I had been listening to the Chronicles of Narnia on my iPod. It fascinated me. I loved the idea of making up creatures such as a faun, which was half goat, half man. So I searched my brain for what I wanted to create. That task was not easy.
Another thing I liked about Chronicles of Narnia was how it was allegorically teaching about the Bible. As soon as I decided to make that my mission as well, I felt like God gave me my idea. I didn't have to make up a new kind of creature, I just had to use a mystery God had already made for us. The fun of the Angelmen - or Nephilim as they are really known - began right there.
What’s your story about?
Asher was the second angelman to find out that he's not really a human. The high school senior was on track to go pro as a football running back. His speed was unmatched, and he reveled in the attention it brought him -- especially from the girls. So when an angel came to tell him he was a cross between an angel and a human, he slowly began to realize his life was about to take a different path. Instead of college, he was going to have a new mission. Apparently, completing it would make an eternal difference to the rest of his kind. Both good and evil worked to pull the intentions of the young man in the race against time to find Amity, true love, and the Cause.
Satan had created the race to breed an army for defeating God in the end battle, but God had a different plan. His heart was stirred by the beings who had become more human than demon. He called them back, choosing four unlikely young leaders. If they are successful in their mission, the race will be able to return to God. However, the cost will be the sacrifice of someone's life. Will Asher be called to be the Sacrifice, or will it be one of the other three leaders? After all four stories are told (Amity, Asher, Caedmon, and Malachi), find out in the fifth book, The Battle of the Angelmen.
What genre would you consider your book?
I am a Christian writer, so all of my work contain elements of my faith. I like to write about young people and also keep it on a relatively simple reading level, so therefore, I believe my work qualifies as YA, or young adult. But the part of my stories that make them what they are is that part where anything can happen, even beyond the bounds of reality. So, if you put that all together, I believe you could call it Christian YA fantasy.
Give me some insight into your main character.
Asher appears to have it all on the surface. He's a gifted athlete who already has a taste of fame and the personality to thrive in the spotlight. But through the book, he comes to realize that he's actually different from that. The spotlight personality was created in him by the adults around him. The true Asher is looking for something deeper and more intimate.
What inspired you to write your book?
If we look at this book as part of a whole five-part story, I can tell you that Christ's sacrifice on the cross was the inspiration. It was my desire to tell a more modern-day story about a sacrifice to make the idea become real to others.
What’s your favorite part of it, without giving anything away of course?
Oh, I DO have several favorite parts, but I can't say without giving it away. I will say that I really like the relationship between Asher and Killian. He finally has a friend!
Tell me about your writing process?
You'd be surprised if you knew me at how random my writing is. In life, I am extremely Type-A, organized, and list-oriented. But when it comes time to write, I will pick whichever work I feel like working on and see where I want to go from there. I don't even write my stories in order! I have a general idea of the beginning, middle, and end, but no outline. As I think of a scene, I put it somewhere. Later, I might move it around.
What do you find most difficult about writing?
Marketing. Writing is enjoyable, and it suits me to sit alone and spill my thoughts out into the computer. But then having to tell people that what I wrote is good enough to purchase? Yikes! I don't mind talking to people, just not about myself.
Are you a full-time writer?
I'm a full-time wife and mom. Other than that, I work part-time as a Christian Education Director. Writing is everything I do in between those jobs!
What are your writing ambitions?
I'm hoping for now to get attention to my whole series. The most important message is in Book 5, The Battle, when the Sacrifice is made. After that, I have a series of young readers geared to little boys, especially, who have just started reading. A lot of boys give up on reading way too early, and I want to do what I can.
What do you do when you get writer’s block?
I go for a run. It always gets the creative juices flowing.
What is your favorite book?
Other than the Bible, I would have to say To Kill A Mockingbird is my favorite book. Such an important book, mixed with interesting and even funny sub-stories. However, my own stories were inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia. I love fantasy!
Are you self published or traditionally published? Do you wish you had gone about the process differently?
I'm traditionally published by a small house. I was set to self-publish before I received my contract. But I have learned so, so much from working through a publisher, I feel truly blessed to have my books published that way.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Don't give up on your queries to publishers and agents! They are professionals and can improve your work immensely.
If you could have dinner with any person dead or alive who would it be?
Oh please let me have two… First, I would choose my grandfather. He died when I was 8, but he was a true renaissance man who I would like to have known better. Also, I would like to talk with C.S. Lewis. I'm sure he would have a lot of good advice for me, and perhaps a fresh way to view the Savior.
When you aren’t writing, what do you do for fun?
I'm drawn to competition. I love to play softball and racquetball, ride my bike and run, and watch football.
If you could say anything to your readers, what would it be?
Each of the first four paraquels tells a different story and has a different writing style. But each one is important to get to know each character. How they interact in the fifth book, and how you feel about it, will depend on how well you know them. You'll love how it turns out. Make sure you have some tissues.
What's your biggest fear?
Snakes. Honestly, there is nothing scarier than snakes. Death, I'm okay with. Just not death by snakes.
Who is the most annoying character you've ever encountered in a book, on tv or in a movie?
Actually, one I've created. I can't tell you who, because he annoyed me so much I had to kill him.
If you were on death row, what would you choose for a final meal?
At first I thought this was an easy question: donuts, cheesecake, and ice cream. Then I started thinking about pancakes, cheeseburgers, and omelets. So I realized I'd better not kill anyone in real life! I guess for your last meal, you don't really have to worry about lactose intolerance, huh?
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Anything involving people who lie or accuse me of lying. And arrogant drivers. And odd numbers. Except 5. Five's okay.
If you knew you could get away with anything without consequence, what would you do?
Ha! You think I'm going to admit to anything like that? Seriously, there are plenty of things I'd love to do, but I can't put aside the consequences long enough to say them out loud (or type them).
What is your biggest regret in life?
The only regret I can think of is not sticking with field hockey throughout school. I really loved to play that sport. I've had some bad relationships, but I learned so much from them about what to appreciate in my husband that I can't say I regret them.
If you had Doctor Who's TARDIS, what time would you travel to?
No Dr. Who! Bad interviewer. It's the one sci-fi element I cannot tolerate. However, if I had any old random time machine, I would go to the future…
… because I am the sort of person who always needs to know. I don't need any surprises. I found out the sex of all my babies before they were born, and I've even cheated on a few Christmas presents.
What is the best present you ever received?
A bowl of ice cream. No joke. I have a seizure disorder. Once, after I had an episode, my body was completely exhausted and I couldn't move. My husband brought me a bowl of ice cream, which was exactly what I wanted and needed at that time.
Also, my cats. I'm a crazy cat lady in training.
Oh, and the worst? A car battery.
What's your secret guilty pleasure movie you don't want to admit you love?
Where to find T.C. Slonaker