Friday, June 7, 2013

Interview with Laura Lee author of Angel and Review

If I remember correctly I met Laura Lee on Book blogs, requesting a review for her book Angel. When I read the synopsis something about it intrigued me and I mailed her. I could not say what exactly, since it has been awhile back but I knew I was curious about the nature of the book. 
Now that I have read it I felt challenged to open my eyes and see, really see. I have struggled with certain questions before concerning homosexuality in church and how God really feels about that, this book caused me to not only reflect on it but experience love in its fullest. I first want to point out that I understand that many that has chosen this lifestyle was abused and because of the violence they experienced turned their back on the opposite sex, I get that. But with this book none of those things was a factor. This was a normal person that fell in love with the same sex person in a normal every day setting. That is what I had questions about.
It is easy to disregard people because of the choices they make if it goes against the natural grain of things. When we have to come out from our comfort zone and look at something with clarity and no preconceived ideas. 
I was challenged with this when people close to me chose this life style and I tried to understand, they were not molested or abused. Falling in love was a normal occurrence and I gave them support without condemning.  I mean there is enough of that going around, Ian the angel in the book was accused of being a sinner, judge and condemned and chased away from the one place that was suppose to shelter him and I have a problem with that. The church is too quick to chase away a person when that person goes against the grain of its teachings. This does not only happen with homosexuals but with straight people as well. Sorry if I compartmentalize but I want to make my point with clarity so that all will understand. 
When the church has no answer to live's hard questions and the experiences they have they are chased away, judge and condemn  If I say I am a believer I need to be the grace that Jesus was when he walked the earth. He promised He will never leave you but yet you find many people on the outskirts of church finding that promise is only meant for the chosen few. 
When I asked the persons I know it was seen as being judgmental, and I received a cold shoulder. I can understand it because of all the grieve they already experienced and they lashed out. That frustrated me.
In my desperate attempt to find answers I searched the Internet looking for answers to questions I was not sure how to formulate. Trying to understand. 
Laura Lee came and answered many of the questions that I had in her book. A conflict starter that will cause many people to pause think and react.

Here is my review of the book Angel but first lets hear what she has to say about the topic.

Interview Questions:

1.      Where did the idea come from for the book?
Angel was inspired by a trip I took to Mount Rainier in 2000. My tour
guide revealed towards the end of a day-long tour that he had been a
minister before he “burned out.” The question of why a minister would
retire to become a mountain guide seemed like the good basis for a
story. I wanted to explore the mystic nature of places and what would
draw a person to the church and to a beautiful natural setting. I
wanted it to be a certain kind of conflict, a crisis of faith or a
difference of opinion with his congregation. I had a “feel” for the
story long before I had the specifics. The idea that the minister fell
in love with a man came to me much later, but it seemed to be just the
right kind of conflict. It would hit on all the right notes.

2.      What genre does your book fall under?
I would call it literary or contemporary fiction.

3.      Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a
movie rendition?
I don’t think the author gets to decide that.  Ian has to be

beautiful, an actor/model, but someone who can also act, like Ben
Barnes in the film Dorian Gray.  Paul would need to be able to convey
interior emotions.  For some reason Michael Sheen comes to mind.  He
is absolutely nothing like I pictured the character or Paul or
described him in the book.  What brings him to mind though is that I
admire his talent for showing that his character is trying not to show
his emotions.  Maybe it’s a British thing.  (Watch him in Frost/Nixon
if you haven’t.)  Anyway, good actors.  That is who I would like to
play the characters in the movie if such a thing were ever to happen.

4.      What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Christian minister meets young man and is shocked that he is strongly
attracted; conflict and growth follow.

5.      Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It was published by Itinieris Press, an imprint of Dreamspinner.

6.      How long did it take you to write the first draft of your
I wrote Angel over the course of ten years.

7.      What other books would you compare this story to within your

Recently I’ve been reading a lot about the Decadents of the late 19th
Century; Oscar Wilde and his circle.  I’m not going to say anything as
absurd like “If you like The Portrait of Dorian Gray you will love
Angel.” But I’ve noticed that a lot of the themes that those writers
were exploring are the same ones I was exploring with Angel, the role
of beauty, public and private selves, the experience of the spiritual
through the physical.  I hadn’t delved into the writing of this period
in any great depth prior to writing Angel, so it isn’t a direct
influence, but I think I tapped into a lot of the same obsessions and
drew from the same well.  I’m discovering my literary heritage after
the fact!

Of course, if you go on Amazon, it will tell you that people who
bought my book also bought a whole series of male/male romance novels.
Fans of stories with gay male protagonists should like the book for
that reason.  Sometimes romance fans love it, and sometimes they are
disappointed in it because it doesn’t exactly fit into that category.
I like to read literary fiction, and so that is what I enjoy writing.
Some people find that Angel is a little more literary than they were
in the mood for.  For others that’s the draw.

8.      Who or What inspired you to write this book?
See question 1.

9.      What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The themes of the book being what they are, there will be people who
will assume the book is meant to be shocking or that it is polemical.
What I wanted to do was explore characters and see them wrestle with
some of the important challenges of being human.  I wanted to tell a
good story.


      Since the loss of his lively, charming wife to cancer six years ago,
minister Paul Tobit has been operating on autopilot, performing his
religious duties by rote. Everything changes the day he enters the
church lobby and encounters a radiant, luminous being lit from behind,
breathtakingly beautiful and glowing with life. An angel. For a moment
Paul is so moved by his vision that he is tempted to fall on his knees
and pray.

Even after he regains his focus and realizes he simply met a
flesh-and-blood young man, Paul cannot shake his sense of awe and
wonder. He feels an instant and overwhelming attraction for the young
man, which puzzles him even as it fills his thoughts and fires his
feelings. Paul has no doubt that God has spoken to him through this
vision, and Paul must determine what God is calling him to do.

Thus begins a journey that will inspire Paul’s ministry but put him
at odds with his church as he is forced to examine his deeply held
beliefs and assumptions about himself, his community, and the nature
of love.

Contact details

Twitter: @LauraLeeAuthor


I'm the author of the novel Angel and more than a dozen other books on topics ranging from Elvis Impersonation to the science behind annoying
things.  My  most  recent  non-fiction  title  was  "Don't  Screw  Up"
published by Reader's Digest.

The San Francisco Chronicle said, "Lee's dry, humorous tone makes her
a charming companion… She has a penchant for wordplay that is

My 5 Star review

As I already said Laura Lee came and answered many of the questions that I had in her book. A conflict starter that will cause many people to pause, think and react. Some will be negative and will not look twice at this book, others will maybe give it a second  thought, even read the book and turn away and others will be confronted with their believes, forced to see. 
I loved the fact that she used Mountain Rainier as a focal point and comparison to the two main characters in the book. I wanted to know if this mountain which she referred to often really exist and found beautiful pictures of it, the reason you see the mountain and not my normal rose logo.
We have Paul Tobit, minister and lost soul that went through the motion of life without really experiencing it. When his angel appears one day in front of him while in church he thought he had a vision. A vision so clear that he knew it was from God. No questions asked. He just believed. The fact that the angel was a real live person in the form of Ian Finnerty, an alcohol addict and gay did not threw him for a loop.
He accepted this young man in his life and loved him with out question or doubt. He experienced life once again, he had a reason to stand up and do the work he loved. Serving God and his community. He reached out and helped the young man back on his feet, the interaction between the two was a natural process, not forced or coerced by the author.
The story line was flawlessly written, keeping a steady pace as the relationship unfolds into a passionate romance. The two characters personas cleverly orchestrated so that you could see them in your minds eye, caring for them and at times wishing you could help them. But as the story progressed you knew that the end result will be painful. Hearts will be broken and believes will be shattered.
But just as the mountain, that is rock solid Paul's faith in God will be unwavered without bitterness or heart ache and he will embrace a new lifeEven if they knew they sat on a live volcano it did not stop Paul to follow his heart because he knew God was still in control.
The book was written with great compassion, the author's dry wit seeping through the pages and held your attention till the last page. A book I can recommend to people that do not mind to be challenged seeing the beauty of the mountain rather wondering when the volcano will erupt.

Thanks for the wonderful read Laura Lee.

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