Troubled teen Eli Nunn is moved back to Kansas City following the aftermath of a violent drug deal. Returning to a school where his ruthless reputation still thrives, Eli encounters and instantly connects with Angel, a beautiful and mysterious black-clad orphan. Their flourishing romance begins to grow darker when Eli learns details of Angel’s chilling past. Conflicted with alarm and intrigue, Eli accepts a proposal from Angel that puts both their relationship and lives in danger.
I began The Angel at the Devil's Gate four years ago after watching an all-day marathon of true crime investigations on the ID channel. Each horrifying story of calculated murder gave me more inspiration for a novel. Halfway through the marathon, I knew I wanted the story to be centered around Angel, a character from an attempted novel that I long ago discarded. Angel's character always lingered at the back of my mind years after the novel was abandoned. The character was unlike any other character I've read about or seen in films, and I knew Angel would find a home in the story that was churning in my mind.
Even when I was a child, I always found the villain or the anti-protagonist to be more interesting than the hero. I loved Drew Barrymore's portrayal of Ivy in "Poison Ivy," Rita of the "Power Rangers franchise" and Jack Nicholson as The Joker. I was more interested to know their side of the story, to know what made the darkness so alluring to them. So with my established interest with the villain and a story inspired by true crime investigations, I began to write The Angel at the Devil's Gate.
As soon as I began working on the novel it was my intention to evoke a slew of emotions from the reader. I wanted Eli and Angel to be looked at with both condemning and sympathetic eyes. I wanted the reader to be frightened by them yet finding themselves oddly drawn to them just the same. At the novel's completion, I couldn't be happier with the outcome. I had a story with the dark, menacing atmosphere of an 18th century gothic horror novel with the plot devices of a commercial thriller.
I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, and like most writers, I had a passion for writing as a child; however, I was terribly shy (I still am to a certain extent) and refused to enter any writing competitions or show my writing to anyone but my mother and brother. Nonetheless, I knew I wanted to be an author and it's a dream I strive to achieve. I attended the University of Central Missouri for journalism with a minor in creative writing. I'm currently in the tedious yet delightful (sometimes) editing process of my second novel, The Possession of Susan Rite, and doing research for my third novel. If you have any questions or just want to chat, you can reach me on Twitter at my VERY original handle name: Mocha_Writer.
Before I invest in any project, I like to know exactly what my funds will go to, and I'm assuming you're the same. I spent a great deal of time researching different publishing services that were affordable and effective. Promotion is one of the key elements to a novel's success, so I wanted to find a service that put emphases on promotion. I found that Dog Ear Publishing accommodated all my wants. Their package for $3,699 includes:
Exterior and interior design
Cover copywriting for the content of the back cover
Registration with all major online booksellers and national distributors
Registration with Books in Print database providing worldwide availability
Assignment of International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
Library of Congress control number and US Copyright information
Full e-book Suite - Amazon Kindle, Apple iBookstore, B&N Nook, and Google Editions
Media press releases that are released to 1,000 targeted media outlets
A PPC Marketing Campaign
Social Media Marketing Campaign
Email Marketing Campaign
Google Book Search program
Because my novel exceeds the 53,000 word count limit, an estimated $1,100 (0.02 per word) will be added into the package price. To further my novel's discoverability, I want to register my novel into the Netgalley database for $500, where it will be available for six months (three months before its release and three months after) for reviews from publishing insiders and book bloggers. The additional funds are going to the Kickstarter fees and the cost to print and ship all rewards.
If I exceed my goal then I am going to use the extra funds to further promote my novel (blog tours and other promotional services) and add more rewards for my backers as a thank you.
Risks and challenges
My novel is 100% written; the only delay I can see happening is a delay in the post-production process (editing or design). If any issues do arise, I'll be sure to address my backers with the setbacks and keep them up to date on when they can expect their rewards to arrive.
First, tell me a little about your book and why you wanted to write this particular story….
The Angel at the Devil’s Gate is a psychological suspense about Eli and Angel, two teenage outcasts whose flourishing romance takes a dark turn when secrets and murder puts both their relationship and lives in danger.
I was always drawn to the villain in stories and television shows, even as a child. I was always curious to know their backstory, to know what made the darkness so alluring to them. I knew I wanted to attempt a novel where the protagonists would be considered the villain in any other story; however, I wasn’t quite sure how to go about that. It wasn’t until watching a marathon on true crime investigations on the ID channel that I was given a direction on how to write the novel.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know?
I always had an active imagination as a kid. I could stay in my room for hours just thinking up scary scenarios. I’m unsure if I can pinpoint how my love for writing came about, but I do believe my interest in horror movies as a child played an immense part with my interest in writing. I remember directly after watching A Nightmare on Elm Street going to a notebook and writing a story about a monster who lives in your dreams.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I wrote Eli and Angel to be metaphors for the outsider within us all. I use how both characters react to their differences from my own experiences. While I was younger, I was angry that I did not wholly belong, and as I got older, I become more apathetic, embracing how different I was and finding beauty in it. I like to put a little of myself into my writing as metaphors, but I haven’t yet based anything on an event in my life; it’s only been sentiments so far.
Out of all the characters in your book, who is your favorite to write? There’s always a fan favorite to read about but sometimes it’s the side characters that are the most fun
I had the most fun with Angel. That character has a hold on me and refuses to let go. I think it’s how brave Angel is that really makes me admire the character. Angel can be in the worst of situations and find a way out of it.
How did you come up with the lead character(s)?
Angel was actually in another novel I attempted. I abandoned the novel, but the character hung out in my mind, as if waiting for another chance to materialize into a story again. I thought of all the characteristics in a person that can make them frightening: intelligent, charming, apathetic, cunning, menacing, dark, and beautiful. I also thought back on movies like Poison Ivy, Blown Away and Wild Things that seen as a child (I know, totally inappropriate for a kid to watch) where a character was both beautiful and dangerous.
Is your book part of a series, and if so, how many will there be?
A follow-up to The Angel at the Devil’s Gate can be very tricky, and it’ll take a lot of plotting to achieve; I’m unsure if I can make it work. I’ve given it a little thought, nonetheless. I do have a companion short story called The Angel of Death, which will be available to backers who help fund the publication of The Angel at the Devil’s Gate on Kickstarter.
What are you working on now?
I’m in the tedious editing process of The Possession of Susan Rite, a horror novel, which will also be rewarded to backers who support my project on Kickstarter upon the novel’s completion. I finished the first draft of the novel four years ago, right before I began writing The Angel at the Devil’s Gate. After really submerging myself in research on demonic possession to give the novel a more authentic feel, I went back to editing it. I’m very proud of the outcome of it.
How do you choose when/which characters die in your books?
When I began plotting for a novel, I usually have an understanding who is going to make it to the end and who isn’t. Once a character serves their purpose, I usually do away with them. However, that can all change the more I write and a character who I planned on killing becomes more important, or when I go back to edit and revise, I sometimes delete someone’s death because I have more use for them. That happened in The Possession of Susan Rite.
Who do you look up to as a writer?
Anne Rice is definitely an author I look up to. She has such a way with words and painting a scene or an emotion. She is brilliant. Reading her work, you can tell she has such a love for her characters. The first book I read by her was The Tale of the Body Thief. At the time, I had no idea it was part of her famous Vampire Chronicles nor did I know one of my favorite movies at the time, Interview with the Vampire, was an adaption of her book. I fell in love her writing from that book. Not only is she a wonderful writer, but she is also a humble and beautiful person. She is very active on Facebook and answers just about any question you ask her. She invites her readers into her life and speaks to us like we’re all friends. She has established a tight community on her Facebook page.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
There is nothing I would change in my book. I love the novel and just about everyone who lives in it. There is one character who I do not like, who wasn’t apart of the original story. I added her in on the 3rd or 4th draft. I thought about going back in and killing her off, but lucky for her, I couldn’t find a way to do that without steering too far away from the plot.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Writing a character who has a completely different viewpoint from me is a bit of a challenge, because I want them to sound and act authentic. I found this issue in Eli. Eli speaks totally different from me, not only does he have a heavy southern accent that I wanted to be seen in the writing, he uses improper grammar as well. When readers see that in the pages, their mind tells them that the character isn’t intelligent, which isn’t the case with Eli. He isn’t book smart like Angel, but he has his own intelligences. It was a challenge to make him a believable character. Scenery is also a challenge for me. I want the reader to be in the scene with me, but I don’t want the leaden the pages with details, doing so can take away from the story. I think Stephen King has that method down perfectly.
Who designed the cover? And do you help with them?
The current cover of my novel is just a mock-up, designed by myself. I put a lot of time and care into it so it can be visually attractive, but it’s not going to be the final version of the cover. If my Kickstarter project is funded, I’m going to work with an artist who will have the skills to create the beautiful cover that I was unable to.
Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?
One thing I take from both my novels is to be and love yourself. Stand up for yourself and don’t let anyone make you feel like a lesser person. You’re always going to encounter someone who is better looking than you, more talented, more popular, but all you can do is be the best you, you can be.
If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?
I would definitely be Angel, but I would use my characteristics for good not evil…maybe.
Are there any books you think some of us should read, just because?
I just finished reading Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin, it’s one of his first novels and the only one by him that I have read. I’m honestly surprised there wasn’t a film adaption of it. It’s a very original story of vampires. I read Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn a year ago, and I still think about it. I may re-read it, it’s a wonderful book that I completely recommend. Lastly, I recommend Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. I’m obsessed with Jack Reacher. In my mind, he’s my literary boyfriend.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Everyone who chooses to back my project will receive my novel in one of its three formats (PDF file, E-book or paperback). I have a lot more rewards to give out including posters, bookmarks, postcards and much more. Your support will mean the world to me.
This or that...
A. Coffee addict? If I don’t have my coffee in the morning I’m a raging bitch.
B. What’s your favorite alcoholic beverage? I love vodka mixed with anything. I’ve fallen in love with Angry Orchards. I adore them.
C. Favorite Food? I don’t have a favorite food per se, but I love beef and spicy sauces.
D. If you had to chose Coffee or Chocolate? –don’t laugh, I don’t like chocolate so it’s quite easy for me, but a LOT of people NEED both LOL I’m not much of a chocolate eater. I do need my coffee.
E. Beach or mountains? The beach
F. Winter or summer? I love summer, I wish I could hibernate in the winter.
G. vampires or werewolves? Vampires any day of the week.
H. Cold or hot? Hot
I. Favorite color? Crimson
J. Night or day? Night
K. Moonlight or sunlight? Sunlight is warmer but the moonlight is prettier.
L. Bad boy or good guy next door? I’ve had my fair share of the bad boys. I want a good guy next door; they’re nicer with better credit.
Ok, that’s enough! LOL thanks so much for coming visit me, and thanks so much, for doing this with us! I appreciate it and I look forward to the next time! :)