Today I'm joined by the author of Copper Descent, Angela Hartley, who is also one of my fellow Utah Fantasy Authors.
The tale of Sinauf was a secret nineteen-year-old Nina Douglas’ ancestors kept hidden for eighteen generations. But the truth has been brought into light.Caught in an ancient war still raging strong in the modern world, Nina is confronted with Sinauf—the embodiment of all she fears and desires. Like a moth drawn to a deadly flame, Nina must resist the seductive charm of a beautiful monster, or prepare to lose everything she holds dear.
The dark god of legend is real.
The dark god of legend is real.
I read Copper Descent before it had a cover and without knowing anything except that Angela had asked if anyone was willing to read it and review it as part of her blog tour for the launch. I had no idea how it was being marketed but I would have described it as a young adult urban fantasy. (I later found out it is New Adult Horror. Same thing, right?) My favorite aspect was how real the characters are portrayed. The main character, Nina, starts out as a teen but for the majority of the story is a young woman. She kisses boys without commitments, she experiences the heat of passion when she is attracted to someone (more than once), runs away when things get tough, fights with her parents, and is selfish and self-centered at times. She was a realistic breath of fresh air. And then, to my surprise, the evil antagonist chasing after our heroin is actually the devil. As a very non-religious person, I expected to be annoyed with this turn of events but it was so well written I instead found myself sucked in and unable to put it down. I love the way Angela took age-old themes and gave them new life. She expertly weaves Native American legends with all the religions of the ages resulting in a character I both understood and empathized with – even as he plotted to destroy mankind. The book has many elements of fantasy since worlds beyond our own are brought to life. And even though one of the main characters is Lucifer himself, the themes are nothing like you would expect. I highly recommend it - although I must disclose it does have violence and some sexuality for those of you who might have sensitivities. I would give it a PG-13 equivalent rating.
Initially, I only committed to reviewing the book in exchange for the early sneak peak. But then it was so entertaining and I had a million questions I wanted to ask about it so I sat down and picked Angela's brains for an interview instead.
Me: Where did your idea for Copper Descent come from?
Angela: When I first started writing, a dark figure showed up in all of my work. He became a calling card, really. I never knew when or how he would appear, but there was no doubt he would be there, lurking in the shadows and waiting for his opportunity to wreak havoc. Copper Descent started out as an exploration. I wanted to understand the monster. I also wanted to find a girl who was strong enough to take him on. The rest kind of took on a life of its own. No one was more surprised than me when I discovered he was Lucifer, but it also made perfect sense. So, I ran with it.
Me: I recognized some universal themes of Christianity, but is there any truth to the Native American legends you reference?
Angela: Having lived in Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah for the majority of my life, I’ve grown up hearing many stories about the Native American tribes in these areas. There are some pieces based on actual facts, like the Freemont Indians who disappeared from Nine Mile Canyon, and I incorporated parts of the Timpanogos legend, but I think all good lies are seeded with a bit of truth. And that’s really what a storyteller is—an excellent liar. Whatever accuracy is found in the pages were only a set-up to deliver the words in ways I found pleasing.
Me: What is your secret to so accurately portraying the teenage experience without the angst one would expect?
Angela: I’m actually raising teenagers right now, but I have unique circumstances. When my oldest daughter was eight-years-old, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Just like Nina, she was forced to grow up way too early, and has had to face challenges way beyond what her peers experience. Because of her struggles, she’s learned not to sweat the small stuff, or play into the drama. She’s my hero, and inspiration.
Me: Another example of taking everyday life and letting it fuel your writing. I love it. The ending of Copper Descent was satisfying in its finality and yet left things open for potentially more to come. Are there plans for a sequel?
Angela: Copper Descent is actually the first volume in a seven part series entitled The Sentient Chronicles. The first three plots are designed to stand by themselves, each following a different set of characters, but everything comes together in the fourth book. The entire series follows Lucifer through his fall, his rise, and ultimately his journey back to the angel city.
Me: How long did it take you to write – start to finish?
Angela: Writing the novel took less than a year. Now, finding a publisher was a whole different ballgame. I searched for six years before I found the right fit.
Me: Wow, that makes my own journey so far seem like small potatoes. I'm glad you stuck with it. What is your writing process?
Angela: I write an ending, and then figure out how it happened. Most of my work is exploratory. I try to outline, but never end up where I thought I would.
Me: Another "pantser". I sometimes wish I could write that way but it doesn't work for me. So, what is your favorite part of being an author?
Angela: When someone is inspired by my work to think in a way they may have never considered otherwise.
Me: Least favorite?
Angela: The rejection. You need to have a pretty thick skin to make it in this industry, and it’s tough putting your heart out there time and again only to have it trampled. I think all writers must be a little crazy or masochistic to allow ourselves the opportunity to be so vulnerable.
Me: No comment on where I think I fit into those categories, thanks. What keeps you motivated to write?
Angela: I don’t think I could stop, anymore than I could cease to breathe. For me, creation equates happiness, and I live best inside my head. It’s the real world that tends to trip me up.
Me: Where and when do you write?
Angela: I treat my writing like an actual job, and work in some aspect of the craft for at least four to five hours a day, generally when the kids are in school. I have a netbook, and I tend to rotate my scenery often so I don’t get bored with my surroundings.
Me: What else have you written?
Angela: Copper Descent is my first published work. Eight years ago, my hard-drive burned up on my computer, destroying all of my documents. My back-up file wouldn’t load on my new system. At the time, I was devastated, but now I look at it as a gift. My early work is dead and buried. It will never come back to haunt me *smile*.
Me: How did you go from aspiring writer to published author?
Angela: My entire journey took ten years. In the back of my mind, I always thought I’d write someday, but it took losing my father for me to realize that sometimes there are no more tomorrows. I went back to school at thirty, drafted my novel at thirty-three and spent the next six years querying. I didn’t sit idle, but continued to revise and work on other projects as I waited for responses. Mostly, I built my social media platform. At this time, I took a job offer, not because I wanted a career in that field, but gave me an opportunity to be visible. In the public eye, several speaking prospects presented themselves. My novel started reading beautifully, my query was flawless, and I found myself writing a column in the local paper. Some would say the universe aligned, but the truth is I worked my butt off and allowed myself to be uncomfortable.
Me: What advice do you have for other aspiring writers?
Angela: Fall in love with the work, not the dream. If you’re writing because you want to be famous or make millions of dollars, this isn’t for you. It is a long, hard road full of disappointment, but if you love the work you can discover aspects of yourself and others that make the journey worth your time. My best advice? Quit. If however, you find that you can’t, you are not an aspiring writer, but in fact a true writer. We are all addicts here, hooked on words and ideas. The more you surrender to the impulse to create, you’ll find those imaginary worlds will become clearer and more concise. Which is why you either need to quit or indulge as often as you can.
Me: You heard her folks, quit now or jump on the crazy train that is being a writer. *smile* What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned so far on your author journey?
Angela: That there is no end. There are always new mountains on the horizon. But I’ve also discovered I can do hard things, and I actually look forward to the challenges ahead.
Me: Are there more books we can look forward to, and if so, when?
Angela: I’ve recently finished Iron Resolve, the second book in Sentient. No release date yet, but hopefully in early 2015. In this novel we follow Myke Preston—a man with a weak disposition. He walks away from his wife and child only to discover Brooklyn has crumbled quite literally underneath his feet. The only way back to his family is through a maze of doors leading through his hellish past. It is raw, powerful, and for anyone who has dealt with addiction, infidelity, or domestic violence, incredibly inspirational. Utah Fantasy Authors plan to release an anthology later this year, The Secret Door. I’m writing a dark wizard story for that. In my spare time, I’m also working on a stand-alone novel—a cautionary tale of hypnotherapy and mass murder called D-Brie. And yes, Sinclair has a cameo appearance in this novel.
Me: I can't wait to read more. Where can readers find and connect with you?
Thanks, Angela, for the instant gratification of an advanced read and for taking the time to talk with me and my fabulous readers who are now hopefully ready to rush out and get Copper Descent for their own libraries. Trust me, it was a great read and you will want to.
Copper Descent is available now HERE on Amazon and in print late June
Angela Hartley spent much of her childhood being shuffled from house to house with only a book for companionship. The magic she found in the written word saved her in many ways, transporting her into worlds far more enjoyable than the one she resided in. Literature became a passion and the idea of writing carried her through years of uncertainty.
After high school, she met and married her own Prince Charming. They rode off into the sunset in his blue Toyota and a whole new world full of hope and happiness opened up. He claimed they could move mountains together, and they did. While facing the painful realization that sometimes there are no tomorrows following her father’s tragic death in 2005, she decided it was time to follow her dreams. With the love and support of her family, she dove into another world, full of procreating angels and demon rock stars.
Her debut new adult horror novel, Copper Descent will be released on Amazon May 2014. Angela currently resides in Midway, Utah with her three children and husband.