The birth of HOME A Novel and how it morphed into something completely different
These are the HOME A Novel Covers I created. The one in the center is the original cover, and I used it recently, but after looking at it, I decided to go back to the cover with Cody, and updated it to the cover on the right.
When HOME started it was originally titled Church Hill, and originally the protagonist was a young woman. The more I progressed into the story, it felt unnatural, and I stopped writing it; the characters weren’t what I wanted them to be, and to be honest, didn’t fit the landscape. I kept all the original writing for Church Hill, and who knows, it may blossom one day and find a place in my bibliography.
I thought about what I wanted from the story, and came to the conclusion I needed to do some reading on Demonology (nothing too deep, more surface stuff on who they are, and what they do). I started reading The Divine Comedy, which seemed like the best place to start, but I moved slowly through the darkness, I just couldn’t get into it and found it bland. That was until I reached the first ring of Hell. Next, I found Leonard R.N. Ashley’s The Complete Book of Devils and Demons, helping me narrow down my search for an antagonist. I was amazed with the information there are about demons and Fallen Angels. Being raised Seventh-Day Adventist, we weren’t taught much about them, besides they are bad, and only one, Lucifer a.k.a. Satan a.k.a. the Devil.
After being enriched with the knowledge of these creatures, I discovered The Grand Grimoire: The Red Dragon, which was an eye-opening reading about summoning Fallen Angels. I don’t understand why anyone would want to call one, besides, obiviously, personal gain, but in the end you’re pretty much their slave. Well, at least they think they own you. I didn’t finish reading this manuscript, it made me extremely uncomfortable, so much, I wore a crucifix for a few days. Yes, I’m a bit superstitious.
The subsequent things I read about demons were random pieces I found from internet searches, and sometimes contradictory; there are many opinions on the topic. In my mind, it stood to reason that a Fallen Angel’s rank would be the same as it had been in Heaven (I’ll get to that in moment). With all this information in hand, I found the one, the perfect Fallen Angel to be my antagonist; Belphegore. The one who believes to his core that he’d been misjudged by God.
Understanding who the Fallen are resolved in my mind, I moved to how they and their legions operate (besides the obvious temptation). Knowing about Ed and Lorraine Warren from recent movies featuring some of their cases, I downloaded Gerald Brittle’s 1980 book, ‘The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren’. At the beginning, stories were scattered, and I didn’t like the way it was written. Then as I progressed through it, the reason became clear; it was journal entries, with all the events being tied together with pieces happening a little at a time for the families they had helped.
The Warrens didn’t solely deal with demons, they also worked with ghosts, which can be a gateway for the demonic, leading me to ghosts and hauntings. On TV you can find numerous shows dealing with hauntings, and are on the verge of the ridiculous with the reenactments , but entertaining, nonetheless. Talk about a lot of information and opinions, ghosts have as much if not more than demons, but at least they are easier to navigate, or so I thought. The more I read, the more my eyes widened with delight as I learned several reasons for them hanging around; they think they are still alive, they want to watch over their loved ones, they can’t, etc. Here, I thought, what if a Fallen Angel owns their soul?
The creepy, dark side of my research complete, I went to the side of Angels, and I think is where my education really began. I learned about the three spheres and the Angel hierarchy in ‘De Coelesti Hierarchia’ (On the Celestial Hierarchy). This confirmed my thoughts about the Fallen Angels. While I’ve read the Holy Bible before, I always enjoy reading it again–there’s tons of violence and sex and nastiness to keep everyone entertained–and there were things I needed to refresh myself upon, mostly what is in the books of Daniel and the Revelations, as well as anything regarding Angels, both Celestial and Earthbound. With all the knowledge I’ve gained about the Spheres, these lines of text make more sense.
With all of the paranormal elements playing in me, now I needed a location, and the one that came to the forefront of mind is my hometown, Shoshoni, WY USA. I don’t think I could’ve picked a better place in the world. I know every street, where everything is, and how to get there. Sometimes, I did need help from my friends, who still live there, to guide me with some names of businesses, though I changed them all so as not to upset anyone. Main Street, which many don’t realize is the name of the street, was at the head of the train depot when the town was first created, and quite the busy place until the early 80’s when the General Store and the bar at the end of the block caught fire. The block was always an exciting place growing up, and for many years the hub of energy for the town. And, yes, it is spooky as hell, especially now that it has been neglected for a few decades (for the original release of HOME, Main Street is featured. The current cover only shows the face of the Native American Chief painted on the wall).
My brother and I spent a lot of time there when we were younger. When I was six or seven, my Mom was in the hospital, and we stayed with our friends, who lived at the Hotel on the corner. That place freaked me out. It was dark and shadowy. The basement was the worst when we’d go down there to play. There were bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling, and they swayed; they shouldn’t have swayed there weren’t any open windows, there wasn’t a fan. There was a coal room that was pitch black, and we dared each other to go inside. For HOME, I relied solely on my memory of the Hotel to show the rooms, and the darkness lurking in every corner, so it may not be 100% accurate; but, this is fiction, and doesn’t have to be.
OK, now what? I have the spooks, what they do, and the place. I need a hero, (Bonnie Tyler popped into my head) and how does he end up here. This is really where the new title HOME came to mind. The theme is going home, and it made sense that he/they needed to come home, bringing Cody and his brother Tyler into creation. I modelled them extremely loosely from my brother and me; more sibling interaction stuff than anything. Of course, there’s always some truth hidden in fiction. From there, once I started, I couldn’t stop. My every waking thought was Belphegore and Cody until the last word.
I am not disappointed with the change in course, and learned many things along the way I didn’t expect, like, I believe in everything. Putting the pieces together to create this story was amazing, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.