2 For 1 Friday Review: @LisaMBasso

It’s a rare find where reality exceeds the darkness of the fantasy being woven for the story. Usually the supernatural twist is meant to add the threatening vibe, amp up the horror of the situation and put the ‘big C’ in the crap hitting the fan. In Lisa M. Basso’s Angel Sight series, the real danger… the real fear for me as a reader who knows the devastation mental health issues can leave on a family and the knowledge that they’re hereditary… was watching the main character Rayna Evans suffer through this stigma without support or kindness from those people who should have had her back. It is heartbreaking.

Rayna however is not suffering delusional visions per her diagnosis. She is not your typical hospitalized psych patient because the angels she sees are real and her curse, her destiny is the making of a devilish deal where fallen and guardian angels collude to protect a human girl from their own kind. A trifecta of fallen-human-guardian who lead Rayna to sacrificing a pound of flesh to gain entrance into hellish depths where normality means seeing more demonic forces than bright beings.

shimmerA Shimmer of Angels paces evenly in revealing the depth of sadness and despair pulling Rayna under after she’s completed intensive therapy for these sightings… sightings of winged beings. Too bad, those visions are real. In starting over, yet again, Rayna would like to put everything behind her, try and mend relationships with her sister and father and just live a normal life. Too bad everyone around her seems to be catching the madness. After she witnesses a schoolmates’ suicide after seeing said schoolmate draw the same angel from her dreams, Rayna realizes nothing is what it seems and she can kiss her good intentions goodbye — temptation coming in pretty boys who can fly. One with black wings and the other with shimmery white.

Surviving the devastation in the first book means in A Slither of Hope Rayna sports her own wings, smaller and grayer than the boys but oh so more intriguing for the higher ups (and I mean that literally). When superior angels descend and demand Cam keep a protective eye on the girl who can see angels; Rayna’s already plummeting situation gets dire. And so does Kade’s for being too fond of slitherthe human he has decided to protect, to follow in spite of knowing the risks, the betrayals he will be dealt all because of his need to be around, near this cursed girl.

Rayna’s destiny has been set and the prognosis is not pretty.

Your character Rayna deals with some pretty horrifying experiences but on top of it, she already had gone through intensive therapy for what she believed to be hallucinations and the way she talks about therapy comes across as very real-life. Did you pull from real life to give Rayna that genuine fear of being looked at as a mental health patient who is out of control?

I did a lot of research to try and make Rayna’s mental health experience a true one. The final published version in A Shimmer of Angels differed greatly from the first draft, where I wrote from a more fantastical perspective. Through revisions my editor pointed out there are times to be immersed in fantasy and there are times when realism will do best. So I put in the time, did my research, even interviewed a psychologist. Personally, I have seen a few therapists and psychologists in my younger years, but nothing close to what Ray had to go through. I did however pull from some of my own pool of insecurities (and there are quite a few to choose from) to align myself with her struggle so I could better understand and document it.

Do you believe in angels? Guardian angels? Guardian kitties?

Usually to this I would say no, but life has a way of changing your mind. Angels? Not really. Guardian angels? Maybe. I do believe the people we’ve lost in our lives are out there somewhere, looking out for us. Guardian kitties? Definitely. They’re so cute and fuzzy and sometimes evil. How could they be anything but little kitty angels and Fallen?

What inspired the angels in your series? 

The inspiration came from a single idea. Light-winged angels and dark-winged angels and the moral compass that divided them. It hit me like such a bolt of lightning I had to dig into it further. When the idea of a girl bounced in-and-out of mental health facilities for seeing their wings when no one else could came, I knew I had something special and owed it to myself to explore where this idea could go. And now, working on edits for the third and final book, I can’t imagine ever not having these characters in my life.

Okay… so how heavenly was it staying in a glass treehouse for your honeymoon. Details… on the treehouse… And congratulations by the way. :)

Eep! Thanks so much! Being married is pretty awesome so far.

The Hi House was incredible! It was a very short drive from the Point Reyes National Seashore in Inverness, CA. The house was nestled in the trees, a story off the ground. A glass-walled tram took us from the bottom up to the house. It was a small and slow, letting us enjoy all the beauty around us on our ride up. I called it the Wonkavator because it went up at an incline instead of straight up and down. Three quarters of the large studio apartment’s walls were made of glass. There was a wraparound porch outside where we had our morning coffee. Inside, there was a bed, small dining room table and chairs, couch, coffee table, TV/stereo, and two small recliners, all decked out in very cool retro-style furniture. It was like walking into a real life Jetsons, minus the robot and jetpacks. There was a small kitchen and bathroom (which thankfully had no windows—some things don’t need to been seen through glass walls). And at night, from the outside with the lights on, the house looked like a UFO in the trees. We had access to a fire pit (for s’mores), a telephone line, and satellite TV, but we had no cell phone service and … dun, dun, DUN! No internet. I will say it again. No. Internet. I’ll let that sink in for those of us glued to our laptops. The experience was amazing though, even without internet. We explored the surrounding area, found so many exciting places, walked down—then up—300 stairs to see the Point Reyes lighthouse. We drove thirty minutes on windy roads to the nearest convenient store. Every outing was an adventure. I would love to go back for a few days strictly to write or plot. Being a city girl and going to what Northern California would call the country, I hadn’t felt that relaxed and open in a long time. Watching the sun set and the fog blow in through the dense forest is an experience that I will never forget.

So A Matter of Time is in edits, did you always have this finale planned for the Angel Sight Trilogy or has it evolved into this after the first book was published? 

When I wrote A Shimmer of Angels, I knew I wanted it to be a trilogy, but had no idea how any of it would end. Nothing about this series came easy to me, except the initial idea. As edits on the first book drew to the a close, I began making notes for A Slither of Hope. So many things had changed in book one’s revisions, I knew I had to get it right before even thinking about where book two could start. On the other hand, while writing A Slither of Hope, I was already making notes on where book three, A Matter of Time, would go. I started writing A Matter of Time before the first round of edits on A Slither of Hope came in. The entire trilogy evolved so much through edits. But once I started writing A Matter of Time, and talked ideas over with Ashlynn Yuhas, my developmental editor for the book, she read me a quote (from where I can’t reveal yet, but it will be in the final book). From that quote, the remainder of the ending (the resolution and wrap up) fell into place.

If the growth of story and Rayna over these two books isn’t proof enough of how enticing these characters are, then trust me when I say the action in the second book keeps you glued in, unable to stop reading for fear of missing some prime detail, some clue that Rayna might avoid the inevitable fate that Basso seems intent forcing upon her. Don’t Blink! The angels are coming for you. (Yeah… for once the creep factor of that Doctor Who episode is apt for quoting here.)

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Beth

Aesthete, Bibliophile, Music Lover, Mad TV Watcher -- World Traveler and Perpetual New Girl. Oh! And nearly forgot -- Fangirl who is irrepressibly fond of all things Sherlock. Feel free to chat with me at beth@fangirlish.com.

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