TEB: Elizabeth Coldwell on why angels make such good heroes...

In this week's column by Total-E-Bound Publishing, author Elizabeth Coldwell tells us more about angels and how they work so, so well as heroes...

Touched By An Angel

How did angels become such hot fantasy figures? 

From TV shows like Supernatural to Total-E-Bound's Celestial Satisfaction collection of angel and demon tales, it seems you can't move without bumping into a gorgeous hunk sporting an enviable pair of wings.

When I was at school, things were very different. Angels in school nativity plays were always played by girls. They were by far the most coveted part; everyone wanted to wear those white robes and that cute tinfoil halo. Not that I ever had the opportunity; I always ended up playing the narrator, my career as a story teller already being mapped out for me - but that's neither here nor there. 

Some time in the intervening decades, we changed our opinion of angels, remembering that Gabriel, Michael and the rest were very male - and very ripe for turning into heroes.

It could be that we simply needed a new focus for paranormal stories. After all, there's only so many times a reader can engross herself in the details of a vampire/werewolf love triangle, while ghouls and gargoyles might be just a step too far into the grotesque to be genuinely sexy. And the idea of having a guardian angel is a very seductive one. Who wouldn't want to be enfolded in the arms of someone whose assigned task is to make sure no harm comes to them? Bodyguards already rate highly as alpha heroes in romance fiction, and having supernatural powers of protection simply helps ratchet the attraction up a notch.

blake good and evil angels.jpg
Of course, where there's good, evil can never be far behind, and for every caring angel, there's his fallen counterpart, a dangerous, devious demon hoping to do our heroine harm - and maybe have some spectacular sex with her along the way. For those women who can never resist a bad boy, a fallen angel has obvious charms - as long as they're willing to pay the price that might come from getting involved with him.

I had great fun exploring these two archetypes - the guardian angel and the seductive demon - in my novella The Feel of Wings, throwing in the influence of arch sex magician Aleister Crowley for good measure. My inspiration for Nathaniel, the angel, owes much to the paintings of William Blake, a man who firmly believed such things were real, and created beings of overwhelming power and energy, beautiful and virile. 

As for the demon, Andras, I have to thank whoever created an image of the late Type O Negative front man, Peter Steele, as a dark angel, with huge black wings to complement his six foot seven frame and brooding, Slavic features. Of course, once I had these characters sketched out, they took on a life of their own, as fictional creations have a tendency to do, so I let them battle for the heart and soul of the novella's heroine, Faith. She's still struggling to recover from an accident that left her with a badly damaged leg and killed her boyfriend, Danny. Does good triumph over evil? Well, that would be telling...

What I do know is the passion for angels as heroes - or villains - shows no sign of abating. Which is good news for girls looking for a heavenly hottie to spice up their life...

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