It’s me, BlondeRJ, back from an enjoyable vacation to visit family in the Country of Texas!
I’ve been asked, by a number of friends, to share my inspiration for Angel-Lover. In celebration of keeping Angel-Lover at $0.99 on Amazon Kindle (Click here: http://www.amazon.com/Angel-Lover-RJ-Conte-ebook/dp/B00MD5VH0W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407126343&sr=8-1&keywords=Angel-Lover+RJ+Conte) – I prayed about that one and thought it through for a while, and I decided that I’d rather just spread the word and save lives instead of make a few more bucks – I thought I’d answer the questions as to what inspired me.
First, frequently asked questions:
NO. The picture of Angelique on the cover is NOT ME. Haha! I promise you that the free photo I took her from looks nothing like me! Her shirt was actually too tight and she was probably too old, so I gave her a “chest reduction” to make her actually look sixteen (Haha!), photoshopped her famous pink jumper on to her, and “grainied” the picture to make it look like something Chad could’ve shot with his disposable camera. But she is not me! And she was not meant to be like me or resemble me in any way!
NO. My life – or my husband’s life – was not, in any way, like Chad’s. Chad was not supposed to be a secretive autobiography. I just wrote about people or things that I studied or observed. My husband and I did not face any of the temptations Chad did personally, nor are we anything like him. However, I have known people like him, on the inside, quite well.
YES. This is yet another trigger warning that Angel-Lover discusses cutting, depression, overdosing, and pornography, although briefly and in, what I hope is, a tasteful and minimalistic way.
Now, on to where I got my inspiration. First of all, it was in observing people, but that part I’ll keep confidential. All of these people, however, are in good places in their lives, I am happy to say. All of these people have the Lord to thank for that. He is the healer of hearts, amen? 🙂
I also got my inspiration from the movie adaption of Frank Peretti’s Hangman’s Curse. Peretti is not my favorite adult fiction writer, but I think he is one of the masters of teen thrillers. Hangman’s Curse, the novel, was a great mystery with a satisfying ending. The movie, as most movies-from books-are, left much to be desired, and drastically changed one character, adding a silly love interest that shouldn’t have been there. However, what sat with me, in the movie version (besides the fact that I had to sleep with the light on afterward and I now have a new respect for one of my husband’s greatest fears… No spoilers, but be warned that this movie is very dark and morbid in parts, and can scare some of you with a certain phobia...), was the portrayal of the “Goth kids.”
Ian Snyder is Peretti’s main antagonist-turned-victim, and his screen time was powerful. The best actor in the movie, Ian is really a living version of Chad. Ian has a little bit more gumption and bravery, but he’s also been given a lot more power. Believing that the ghost he worships has given him the power to curse popular jocks, Ian is a feared icon in his school.
However, underneath it all, Ian is also a tenderhearted, emotional, and hurting lover. When his beloved girlfriend is injured (Yes, she’s blond, however, greatly unlike Angelique, she’s a Goth too!), Ian is almost pressured to take his life. Peretti’s protagonists, the undercover teen detectives, end up changing Ian’s life by uncovering the truth, which is a shocking one. Let’s see if any of you can guess this twist!
I was touched by Ian’s few seconds of tenderness and love, and was disappointed by how no screen time is given to show his change. Instead, we see him raw and shiny and new, like a baby fresh out of the womb, scrubbed of all of his death apparel, for a brief minute at the end of the film. It was this image and this personality that I wanted to explore in the character of Chad. What gets a “Goth kid” to this dark place? What drives him? What motivates him? What could make him change? How could he find Christ?
So Ian was a character I could get behind and explore in my own little novel, however, there were other death-obsessed teens that frustrated me and drove me to write my own book.
Nancy Werlin was another author I respected and yet who irritated me. She was clearly coming at psychology from an entirely un-Christian point of view, but she had good thoughts as to what made self-made victims tick. In both of her novels: Are You Alone on Purpose and The Killer’s Cousin (winner of an Edgar Award), her characters are troubled, devastated, or hurting, and her exploration of their psyche is a fascinating, if not disturbing, one. I do not recommend these books to just anyone, as the topics Nancy covers are dirty, gritty, and often sexual. However, the most frustrating aspect was the ending. After mulling over life and their place in it, she ends with her characters “getting the girl” or “finding themselves,” things that will never satisfy or are actually just an emotional eye of the storm. They may bring temporary peace, but they bring no heart change. Both of her protagonists have gone through extreme trials, and their healing will, in the end, be completely stagnant without Christ.
In frustration, I turned an Ian Snyder, someone who really has had nothing but typical teen stuff going against him, but who understands the complete futility of this world better than all of his peers, and who feels like he can’t fit in in any way, and I had him explore love and himself, and find them lacking. I hope to show, in Angel-Lover, that, in the end, the only logical answer is Christ. Chad is hopeless to change himself or get the girl without Christ. And, in the end, getting the girl isn’t really his goal, and he, himself, is nothing worth worshiping. Chad is whole when he forgets about himself, forgets about his obsessions, and embraces his Savior who made him uniquely, just as he is, and who died for Him. And Chad gets to choose to be like Jesus Himself. ❤
Check it out and tell me what you think! Have any of you read Nancy Werlin or Frank Peretti? Do any of you know characters like this in real life?
Also, check out a book review I did of Nancy Werlin’s new fantasy FAIL, Unthinkable right here: https://blonderj.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/unthinkable/
Bonus, if you read this far: Where we meet Ian Synder. 😀