I've known Alex for a long time. He first came to me as a character almost twenty years ago, when he was a thief in a fantasy setting – an expert with knives rather than guns. Nothing came of that particular novel, but Alex always stayed with me. He refused to go away, in fact! And over the years, I began to wonder about redoing his story completely, and placing him in a contemporary setting.
Willow came to me at the same time that Alex first did – her name was Jhia at that point – but she didn't feel fully formed until I started thinking about a contemporary storyline. Then her name changed to Willow, and I realised that not only was she psychic, but that she loved tinkering around with cars.
Once I had that, I had the rough premise of the story: suddenly I knew that Willow had psychically seen something that she shouldn't have, and Alex was a teenaged hit man. The two of them join forces instead, and fall in love.
I loved the feel of this, but that was as far as I got for several years. Though I kept writing snippets of the story (it nagged and nagged at me, really wanting to be told!), I knew that the premise as it stood wouldn't work. If Alex was a real-life hit man, then a happy ending wouldn't be very likely! And I like happy endings. I wanted this to be an action-packed, epic story, but also essentially a romance. So, the story stayed in the wardrobe of my mind for a long time – taken out occasionally to think about, but nothing more.
Then, in a bookstore about a year ago, I saw all of the books about angels that were out. Rather than focusing on the religious aspects of angels, these books seemed to be about something more: the idea of angels as very personal helpers to humans; friendly beings who you could call on for anything from helping you find a parking space to saving your life.
And as I looked at all the titles, I thought…what if angels weren't really what they seemed? What if we only thought they were kind, but in fact they had their own agenda? What if they were really beings to be feared, instead of admired?
With one of those almost-audible clicks that writers sometimes get, the two story ideas came together into a glorious whole.
Angel happened very quickly after that; it seemed to write itself. Writers aren't supposed to have favourites of their own books, but Angel is incredibly special to me – I've known and loved the characters for a very long time. I'm thrilled that Alex and Willow finally have their own story, and are going out into the world. It's been a long time coming!