Today’s special guest is author Debra Anastasia! *applauds* I truly enjoyed her novel Crushed Seraphim, and here’s my review.
Where in the universe can you find an angel with a potty mouth and a devil with a heart of gold? Why, in Crushed Seraphim, of course! Debra Anastasia has created cheeky, clever characters in her debut novel, and the unusual cast kept me thoroughly entertained. The writing is smooth and captivating, particularly when Debra writes the character of Jack, aka the devil. Jack forever sucks on a lit cigarette, its smoke swirling around him as he jokes about cigarettes killing him one day, his motorcycle boots and leather jacket showing off his hot, muscled bod. Sizzling.
This novel is wonderful, but at times it felt a bit uneven to me. There are so many parts that I loved (which I’ll list here) and a few aspects I didn’t enjoy as much. Here are my favorite elements of the story (along with noteworthy quotes):
*the location of the gateway to Hell
*angel Emma’s description of how depression feels in the devil’s sordid hallway of torture
*Emma’s food source when she gets changed (mirrored in her shiny green eyes hee hee)
*calling purgatory hell’s “waiting room”
*the devil’s lone hand reaching up out of the soil, begging for Emma to free him
*Jason’s speech to Emma at the end
My favorite quotes (page numbers from my Nook):
“Her wing was a tightly knit gossamer web. Feathers the consistency of hope shimmered . . . A single slice, welted with melted silver, lined her shoulder where another symmetrical wing should have been. Gentle drops of liquid metal pooled in the snow, solidifying into a small mirror.” (p.16) (Fantastic visuals of angels).
When faced with a massive, snarling dragon, Emma doesn’t reach for a knight or a sword. Instead, she uses more powerful weapons: her love and forgiveness. “But I know better. I know even if you kill me, God loves me. He’ll never leave me. I have hope. And I believe.” (p. 114)
Emma’s advice: “Your heart is your compass. It will always tell you about someone’s true nature.” (p. 159)
Jack cracks me up. “The last time he’d busted a pause button there had been a legal hearing in Heavenly Court. Those righteous types were such sticklers for the rules.” (p. 179)
Everett is deliciously evil. “He nodded when the bloodcurdling noise began again. Everett pretended to hold a conductor’s baton as she hit a particularly excruciating high note.” (p. 202)
Wow! A lot of fun. Yet there were parts I didn’t like as much:
*The presence of vampires. While I found the lore of their creation interesting, my personal opinion is that vampires don’t really fit well in a story about heaven and hell. It does seem the “half-breeds” will have a large role in the sequel though. I have to say I’m not a huge paranormal fan so other readers may really love Jason and his family.
*The direction of the story confused me at times. Freeing God from hell seems like the main thrust of the plot but after a big battle it’s almost like another story begins.
*Emma going from Jason to Jack and back again was jarring for me. I wanted more understanding of her attraction and decision-making. We know she’s impulsive but I didn’t get a good sense of why she’d choose one over the other.
In the balance of things, these are minor points. Overall it’s a fresh, enjoyable story that I highly recommend. Bravo, Debra!
And now we get to hear from Ms. Author.
Jennifer Lane (JL): I’m happy to have you on the blog today, Debra! Thanks for taking time out of your chaotic recovery from the hurricane to visit. Congratulations on the publication of Crushed Seraphim, which I loved. What inspired you to write the story?
Debra Anastasia (DA): First thank you so much for reading it! Crushed Seraphim came from my curiosity about how an angel who was more like a real person would handle adversity. I was inspired by people who do amazing things and aren’t perfect every moment of every day. I love my heroines to have a courageous attitude, so my angel needed to stand on her own two wings. Wait, I mean feet. 😉
JL: Please tell us about your journey toward publication.
DA: Wow. That’s a great question. I’ve been very fortunate to have access to a computer, which has lead to the most wonderful communities. Writing itself took years to try. I would get nervous that people would know what went on my head! It is a revealing process. After numerous different outlets online and tremendous support, I tried my hand at fiction and loved it.
JL: We’re glad you did! What’s been the most surprising reaction from readers so far?
DA: I think I was most surprised with how accepting readers are. They have fantastic imaginations. It is really an honor to try and go as deep as I can when writing a scene. I found if I cry when writing it (or laugh) then I know it will usually come through for my readers. I love sharing that emotion with them.
JL: I feel the same way when writing. How much does your character Emma reflect your own personality?
DA: Well, I love to curse. Not in public or in front of children, of course. I think Emma’s quick temper comes from me and I hope I have a bit of her faith. It’s interesting, as I’m sure you know, even the villains have a bit of the author in them.
JL: Crushed Seraphim deals with spirituality. How have your own spiritual beliefs influenced your writing?
DA: I’m very spiritual. I believe in praying for people and think that the good energy that comes from prayers can help. I’m not tremendously religious now, though I did have 12 years of Catholic schooling. I think I’m trying to tell people a story with Crushed Seraphim about how strong we all are and how we can help each other. Especially women. I’ve found my gender to be just stunning examples of selfless love.
JL: Amen to that! Speaking of spirituality, you’ve endured tough times with hurricane winds causing a huge tree to fall on your house (Read Deb’s harrowing account HERE). How are your family and your home recovering?
DA: Hurricane Irene was kind of a game changer for my family. We are all safe and my pets are safe. I can’t ask for anything more. We were fortunate to have insurance, so although the process is lengthy, my home will be demolished and rebuilt. I do not look at this as any kind of tragedy because there are far worse things that happen to families everyday. I had tremendous support from Omnific and my friends online that has made a world of difference. We are very lucky.
JL: I’ve been hearing GREAT things about your next novel Poughkeepsie. And I haven’t read it yet, so it will be all new to me, yay! What’s the story about?
DA: I’m so excited for you to read it. I hope you like it. The story is about daring to love. I was reading a lot about rich, handsome heroes in love stories and I looked at my husband and thought, “Well he’s not rich.” (Sorry Honey!) and he’s still my hero. I’m crazy about him and we’re total partners. I wanted to write a story about a love that would last even if the hero couldn’t solve every problem with a blob of money, if all he had to offer was his heart. And I wanted a heroine that would appreciate that kindness. So, Blake’s homeless and Livia is smart enough to trust her heart. And of course, because we need a problem, so things go wrong for our lovebirds! Blake has two foster bothers, one a would-be priest and one a criminal. His love for his brothers and his new lady is challenged when they all face a dangerous, deadly night.
JL: Sounds so interesting. Thanks for the interview, Debra.
DA: Thanks for having me. It is such an honor to get to be on your blog. Your writing is fantastic. So glad we are Omnific sisters.
You need to read Crushed Seraphim, people! Find Debra and her novels here:
Goodreads Author Page
Crushed Seraphim Available at Omnific Publishing
Crushed Seraphim on Amazon
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