ABOUT LOREN: Loren Rhoads is the author of a space opera trilogy, a couple of nonfiction books about cemeteries, and writes stories about a world-traveling witch named Alondra DeCourval. Alondra’s stories have appeared most recently in Occult Detective Quarterly and Weirdbook. Loren is co-author, with Brian Thomas, of a succubus/angel novel called LOST ANGELS. Its sequel, ANGELUS ROSE, is available now.
Tell us about ANGELUS ROSE?
It’s the sequel to LOST ANGELS, in which the succubus Lorelei was possessed with a mortal girl’s soul by the angel Azaziel. In ANGELUS ROSE, Lorelei and Aza struggle to find a way to be together while all the agents of Heaven and Hell try to keep them apart. Both books are a mix of horror, erotica, and romance, wrapped in a tasty urban fantasy shell.
What was trickier for you: writing LOST ANGELS, or this sequel?
Originally, the two books were written as one massive novel. It was so huge, it took more than a ream of paper to print. Those were the days before A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE and I knew the book would never find a publisher at that length. Luckily, it had a natural climax at the midpoint, so it made sense to split it into two books.
Finishing ANGELUS ROSE so it can stand as a full book on its own turned out to be more difficult than I expected. I had to reintroduce each character, then make sure each of their stories had a discrete arc. I went into the challenge blindly, then got thoroughly schooled.
In the end, though, I think both halves of the story are so much stronger for being split apart.
Tell me about your interpretation of succubi and incubi, and what inspired them?
Lorelei in particular was inspired by a woman I knew in college who instantly charmed everyone. She was as close to an embodiment of joyful lust as anyone I’ve ever met. In the world of these books, I wanted sex itself to be seen as a sacrament. All the possessiveness and craving and ugly human behavior surrounding love are the evil, damnable parts of the equation.
There are several succubi in the book and a lot of focus on them praising and enjoying sex — as some of the angels do as well. It’s part of the commonality between the foes.
Tell me about the villain(s) of the book. How did you approach them?
I tried to make the villains as complex as the antiheroes. There are villains on both sides of the celestial battle. What makes them scary is their rigid adherence to the fundamental split in the universe and their complete lack of empathy for anyone who attempts to blur the lines. I feel that a lack of empathy is the worst sin in the world.
I understand you co-wrote LOST ANGELS with Brian Thomas. What was your writing process like for this novel?
The books began, innocently enough, as a short story I wrote one scene a day for Brian as a birthday present. I sent him each piece as a first draft, which was exhilarating. I’d never shared my raw work with someone like that. Brian ran with the idea and wrote the second and third chapters on his own. He was the one who decided to get Lorelei possessed.
I read each new installment eagerly and couldn’t wait to jump back in. Then, suddenly, we were writing a novel together.
I spent a lot of weekends flying down to LA — or Brian came up to San Francisco — and we’d write together. He would pace and dictate. I would type and make snarky asides. Somehow, we managed to hammer out 120,000 words. I think we both cried when we wrote the final chapter.
Do you have a favorite supernatural creature that you feel is underexplored in fiction?
Beyond succubi, you mean? My first love was mermaids. I would love to read more terrifying mermaid stories — or even sexy, scary lake monsters, in general. I grew up on a farm with a spring-fed pond. It was full of leeches and snapping turtles and who knows what else. As an adult looking back, those things are fucking terrifying. At the time, I took them in stride. Once I was in high school, my friends and I used to sneak into a quarry and swim after dark. Sometimes you get warm and just want to go swimming.
What can readers expect from you next?
ANGELUS ROSE will go up for pre-order in January, then on sale in February for the Kindle and in paperback. You can follow me on Amazon https://amzn.to/384csqJ for the dates.
After that comes out, I’ve been working on a novella about the layers of history on the Farallon Islands. They are the crests of ancient mountains 25 miles off the coast of San Francisco, right at the edge of the Northern American continental shelf before it drops off into the deep ocean. The islands were considered the land of the dead by the Miwoks, the local Native Americans who were here before the Spanish came. The islands have a history of hauntings, shipwrecks, the slaughter of the creatures who live there, and of course, nature itself is red in tooth and claw. I can’t wait for the world to read my story. It's called The Mysteries of Wind and Tide. So much creepy stuff in it!
ANGELUS ROSE is available now on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Angelus-Rose-Above-Below-Book-ebook/dp/B084S6WXYP/
If Romeo had wings and Juliet a barbed tail, could they find happiness in the City of Angels?
After their escape from the ashes of Lost Angels, the succubus Lorelei and the angel Azaziel want nothing more than to enjoy each other's company. Unfortunately, Asmodeus, the Demon Prince of LA, has threatened to devour Lorelei's new-grown soul if she doesn't bring about Azaziel's downfall. Meanwhile, Aza is keeping secrets of his own that threaten the tenuous peace between Heaven and Hell.
Three archangels come to town to try to set things right, but friendships are fracturing. The demon in charge of fallen angels is sniffing around. And Los Angeles is about to be caught between a devil and the deep blue sea.