This novel – “Angel” by Sebastian Michael – has more than meets the eye. An interesting premise of (human) beauty and the spell and tragedy it casts on admirers and the embodiment (of love) alike. The protagonist Damion is an object of beauty, people instantly fall in love with him. I suppose the temptation is there to believe that beautiful people have a God-given advantage over their less attractive counterparts. During reading, I was reminded of a few handsome, though unhappy, female clients of mine in therapy – as well as the protagonist in Thomas Mann’s classic shorter novel (Death in Venice). Without a doubt, “Angel” makes for good reading. It is well-written, though at times a bit wordy. To savor the story, one should approach it with patience, allowing the mind time to absorb its subtleties, nuances, which lie in wait, as it were, for the reader. My only complaint is that it should have been shorter. But the book is still a good read.
A written interview I did at Smashwords.com:
(answering a few questions about my writing )
Question: Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I think it was the short story “Betty And The Black Puppy”, which is one of four stories in my debut book “Stranger In Another Country” that was self-published in Feb 2016 as an e-book, at Amazon. At the time, I read quite a lot by the British author D.H. Lawrence and Guy de Maupassant. However, in that story, the subject was a contentious one. I used the French author Guy de Maupassant´s window-view approach; wishing to be “objective” – whatever that is.
Question: What is your writing process?
The writing process starts with an idea or event, which I mentally play around with for some time, before attempting to sketch the story through dialogue, characters, plot, and setting. I make notes before writing the first draft. After, there is a period of a few weeks´ break before any attempt to revise the story a few times, focusing on coherence and credibility. Then I ask my wife to read it, which follows a lively discussion based on her impression and my intention in the story. More revisions follow, including a few rounds of my proofreading and addressing the writing style. I have a habit of writing long sentences, so that´s the time to eliminate them or most of them. With my debut book, I made the mistake of relying on doing the proofreading, which missed out on both typos and minor grammatical errors. After a few comments from readers about typos and minor grammatical errors, I submitted the manuscript to a professional editor-proofreader. The price for such a service is something else! However, it was worth it. For my second book, I send it off straight away to a professional proofreader-editor and after, doing a final check of the manuscript myself before submitting it for publication. Some people in the publishing business recommend two rounds of professional proofreading/editing. I chose only one round because of the cost. But I believe twice is better than once – if you can afford the cost.
Question: How do you approach cover design?
The cover for my debut book (Strangers In Another Country), I got the idea by chance following a visit at one of my neighbors. There I noticed a large beautiful painting, portraying abstract human figures. My characters are mostly marginal figures, and so I felt such an image was perfect for the book. Concerning the cover of my second book (The Eternal Struggle: An Amorous Story), I found it with the help of a professional book promoting firm.
On Literary Fiction – a dying genre?
Like Zadie Smith said, [or is reported to have said] that a book of fiction now must be “necessary.” It must be written so artfully that if it was converted to any other medium, its beauty would be lost.