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I wasn't going to write this sequel, but Kye insisted on it. The first book is, according to her, one of her all-time favorite novels. That means a lot to me, as she is very well read, particularly in science fiction and fantasy, and has, in my opinion, excellent overall taste in literature. Angel and this sequel both qualify as "urban fantasy," though I loathe to categorize my work. (I don't have a choice, however, as every retailer demands that I do, and to as great an extent as possible.)
Angel: Book One is about redemption. An angel of death named Calliel is sent by God to save a staunch, bitter atheist and materialist named Ray Wilms.
Book Two, by contrast, is about justice. A young girl is thinking about suicide. She has been incested multiple times by her father, and assaulted by others, all with the blessing of her family and church. Her situation is alluded to briefly at the end of Book One, but I had no intention of telling her story. Ray Wilms is now an angel himself, and God wants him to go back to Earth to save her. Book One ends with him boarding a trolley in San Diego, ostensibly to begin his mission. That was where I was going to leave it.
I don't plan the fiction I end up writing. I don't outline a single word. I don't start a story with the chapters all neatly laid out, bullet points and notes waiting, word counts forecast and time-to-complete schedules ready to be observed. Instead I let the story come to me as much as it wants, and I write down whatever that is with as little of my interfering consciousness involved as possible. Sometimes I know the ending to a story, but most times I don't. This sequel was one I didn't know the ending to. As in, at all.
It's not going to be an easy story for many who, like me, have suffered sexual assault. According to RAINN, every minute and a half (roughly) an American is sexually assaulted. One in six American women have been the victim of attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Over half of all assault victims are between eighteen and thirty-four years old; and fifteen percent of sexual assault victims are between twelve and seventeen years old. Deanna, the young girl in this sequel, is sixteen years old.
I was afraid, even at points terrified, of her story as I wrote it. It seemed entirely implausible. But then a vile sexual-assaulting pervert pus-filled orange-headed pimple stole the presidency of the United States. He is adored by millions of Americans not despite, but because he likes to "grab 'em by the pussy."
I thought that once his accusers came forward, and once that incriminating tape was aired, that his candidacy was over. Instead he "won" and today pollutes the Oval Office with his mendacious, malevolent, profane presence.
Suddenly Deanna's story wasn't so implausible. It recently became even less so when the entire Republican Party decided to throw their enthusiastic support for the election bid to the US Senate a man who assaulted young girls when he worked as a district attorney in Alabama.
Deanna too is a victim of institutionalized sexual assault. As the catastrophe of this first year-plus of Trump's "presidency" have unfolded, as the outrages have piled up and up and up, I found Deanna's story less and less fantastic. The government of the United States has as its "leader" a guy who used to look in on teenaged models undressing at the beauty pageants he ran. Pop by Reddit or 4Chan. Do a search for all the subreddits that voice open support not just of his actions, but of the actions of any man who assaults girls and women. They aren't hard to find. There are thousands of other sites and forums that also support this behavior, and who viciously attack whistleblowers and any brave woman who comes forward to tell her story.
You aren't surprised? Think about that for a moment. Think about what all this says about not just our government, but the people we live with, our neighbors! What does this say about the media, who are as complicit in this evil as anyone for empowering and enabling so many men who ended up helping Trump and his scummy cabal into office?
Deanna's story is tragically topical, and nowhere near implausible. For that reason, I very much hope that it adds positively and impactfully to the conversation. Her story is about justice, as I said above. Ray Wilms, a freshly minted angel of death, is on the way to help her--and to hold to account those who have victimized her, those who felt perfectly moral and even holy doing it, those who support monsters like Trump and Moore, those who frequent immoral and rotten websites that attack women and others who have been assaulted, and those who press the thumbs-down button on YouTube over videos that call men out on their malicious, hateful, soul-dead actions.
I've said it many times this past year, and I'll say it again. This truly is a battle between good and evil. Book Two of Angel is about how good wins. At least for a sixteen-year-old girl.
May her victory become ours out here in the "real" world!
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