Archangel Academy is more than a school to Michael Howard. Within its majestic buildings and serene English grounds, he's found friends, new love, and a place that feels more like home than Nebraska ever did. But the most important gift of Archangel Academy is immortality. . .
Life as a just-made vampire is challenging for Michael, even with Ronan, an experienced vamp, to guide him. Michael's abilities are still raw and unpredictable. To add to the turmoil, the ancient feud between rival vampire species is sending ripples of discord through the school. And beneath the new headmaster's charismatic front lies a powerful and very personal agenda.
Yet the mysteries lurking around the Academy pale in comparison to the secrets emerging from Michael's past. And choosing the wrong person to trust—or to love—could lead to an eternity of regret. . .
My favorite book was A Separate Peace. It isn’t openly LGBT, but as a gay teen I infused it with my own subtext. I’m not 100% certain what type of relationship Phineas and Gene truly had, but regardless of what you brought to it as a reader, their connection was deep and intimate. It was the first book I read of its kind and it made an incredible impression on me. I remember that it was on our summer reading list and I was so excited when school started because I thought we’d get to spend weeks dissecting the novel and talking about the characters. But no! We studied The Red Badge of Courage instead! Another great novel, but nowhere near as exciting as A Separate Peace was for me.
When I started writing the Archangel Academy series I was so thrilled to be able to create a full, honest, and loving relationship between Michael and Ronan. It was incredibly satisfying to do and hopefully incredibly satisfying to read.
Do you think you'll always want to write stories that have supernatural elements? Why or why not?
As much as I love infusing my stories with supernatural elements, I think as a writer the only way to grow is to experiment. So the answer has to be no, but with the disclaimer that I still plan to write many, many books that contain a supernatural element.
I’ve always been intrigued with the supernatural whether it be Dark Shadows or Anne Rice novels or Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, it’s a part of my make-up and what I find interesting in the world of fantasy and fiction so from that standpoint, yes, I’ll always try to create stories that have a supernatural element to them. And hopefully my creative juices will be working overtime so those elements will be unique and fascinating!
What do you think separates Archangel Academy series from all the other supernatural/paranormal reads out there?
The main reason is that the protagonist is a teenage boy who happens to be gay. I have to admit that I haven’t read every YA paranormal book out there, but from the research I’ve done and the feedback I’ve received the Archangel Academy series – UNNATURAL, UNWELCOME, and UNAFRAD – are unique in that they revolve around a gay teenager. Not only that, but he has a boyfriend. He’s in a committed relationship. What Michael and Ronan share isn’t wishy-washy,, it isn’t on again/off again, it’s a real, honest relationship. Including that in the story was important to me because growing up as a gay teenager there were no books like that around. I couldn’t lose myself in a story that would have made a deep, long-lasting impression on me and made me feel as if I wasn’t alone.
The story is also not just about vampires or supernatural creatures, it’s about Michael coming to terms with his own homosexuality and becoming a man. I think this is an element that makes the storyline a bit deeper than most and one that any reader – gay or straight – can identify with. All teenagers have to come to grips with who they are – warts and all – in order to become confident and powerful adults.
If you could be any supernatural creature, What would it be and why?
I would love to have the ability to stop time, that would be incredibly cool. Thanks to technology the world is getting faster and faster and we’re expected to do so many more things in a day than just a few years ago that I really wish I could raise my hand and call a time out. Just be able to make time stop moving forward so I could take a deep breath, read all the books that I’ve been meaning to read, write a novel without having any interruptions, and just relaxing. I would call myself The Timekeeper and probably have a very long cape too!!
Which of your supporting characters from your books needs their own novella?
Oh wow! That’s a hard question to answer – can’t I just say all of them? If I have to choose I think the first person would be Phaedra because she’s such an original creation and I’ve only touched upon what she truly is and what it really means to be an efemera. I think there’s a lot of material to explore there.
I also have a great fondness for Edwige because she’s very complicated. She’s Ronan, Ciaran, and Saoirse’s mother, but she’s so not maternal. I think it would be fun to see her as a young woman when she was dating Saxon and the situations they found themselves in as teenagers. I know for a fact that she was quite a handful – there’s a reason Saoirse’s a a spitfire.
And I would also have to include Nakano as being worthy of his own short story. We don’t really know much about his life before he came to Double A and his actions are often self-defeating, he really is his own worst enemy. I will let you in on a secret and let you know that he goes on one amazing journey in UNAFRAID and we really get to see what lies at the core of his character, but I would definitely like to tell his story from before he was introduced to the series.
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