When I began writing “CUT HERE,” in January 2011, I hadn’t readily decided right away that it was going to be about angels. But I knew that I needed to explore a paranormal premise if I wanted the students’ deaths to be linked to a book. At the time, vampires and werewolves were extremely popular (Twilight, anyone?), but I also knew that I needed something radically different (I’m not going to say original, since a plethora of fiction with angels exist out there). However, my choice to go with angels was more of a personal one.
I’ve always been fascinated by the notion of angels (guardian angels, fallen angels, the whole she-bang of the spectrum). But it wasn’t until my grandmother (whom CUT HERE is dedicated to) was dying of lung cancer did I become acquainted with the knowledge of death angels. One night, while I was sleeping, my grandmother woke me up in the middle of the night and said, “A beautiful man came to me tonight, and told me that I’m never going to get over this illness.” Of course I told her, “You must’ve been dreaming. Don’t take those words to heart, you’ll get better,” although we both knew my words were drenched with lies. But we both wanted it to be true. That she could get better. My grandmother was never the type to have visions or hallucinations, and she was very lucid up to her death. She wasn’t taking any meds that could’ve altered her perception of reality, and I somehow didn’t believe that who/what she saw was a figment of her imagination. So I pressed her for more details, clearly fascinated. When I asked her if the handsome man spoke to her, she said that he told her that he was angel.
“So he had wings?” I inquired.
“No,” she said, “Don’t be ridiculous, of course he didn’t have wings. He was like a normal male, only very tall with long brown hair.”
Curious, I decided to do a little research about this, and to my surprise, I noticed that a lot of people who are facing death have encountered angels (not necessarily with wings), and that such angels are referred to as “death angels” (pretty much aiding a dying person to crossover). I did more research and discovered that the archangel Michael (better known for being a warrior and banishing the Devil to Hell), is a death angel (amongst his other duties of eliminating evil). What I found very interesting is that across the three major religions (Catholic, Jewish, & Muslim), the archangel Michael was present.
So when I chose to write about angels, I thought that Michael would be perfect. His physical description was based on what my grandmother told me about the angel she saw (although I added in the emerald green eyes, as I figured as an angel he would have striking looks). I know that throughout the novel, Michael’s actions may not always make sense, but as I explored what his personality would be like, I imagined someone who’s a warrior, mostly known for being rigid and set on accomplishing his mission. Feelings (whether they’re love or hate) have no place with him, because he’s not human. So when Michael does feel something for Lena (for the sake of simplicity I have him call that feeling “love,” but for an immortal who has never loved, a strong lust is closer to the reality of the situation), and reason why he’s incapable of controlling said feelings whenever in her presence. But he never wavers from his mission though, despite being occasionally distracted by his feelings of lust and jealously.
The only way I could rationalize that an immortal would actually put themselves though high school is if he had a mission to accomplish (because I honestly do not understand characters like the Cullens’ clan in Twilight or the two brothers from The Vampire Diaries, that decide to go to high school pretending to be humans). Why would an immortal ever do that? Especially if a vampire in normal vampiric circumstances, only comes out at night? But I digress.
CUT HERE was inspired by a nightmare that I had in 2008, while Michael was inspired by the angel that visited my grandmother in 2010, and in 2011 I decided to weave those two principle ideas together that would provide the majority of the plot for the novel. Writing CUT HERE was an intimate journey for me, and I hope that you, as a reader, can be swept up in this crazy rollercoaster adventure. I’d suggest to fasten your seatbelts, but I think you’ll appreciate the ride more if you’re reckless. There’s no airbags for this crash. Abandon yourself to the journey, and believe in angels.