For me, sometimes, inspiration really does come from above.
Beloved of the Fallen, my debut novel, is about a young congresswoman who is destined to shape the world's fate. Deciding what to do becomes complicated when she is tempted by a beautiful fallen angel masquerading as a human being.
Most of the plot transpires in Washington, D.C., with politics and American history always in the background. In some ways the book is a quintessentially American story. But the inspiration for Beloved of the Fallen was born in the Old World.
It happened in Vienna, Austria. I was there on my first visit to Europe. This was my dream vacation, my escape from everything, including work. But my quest for restful culture became the beginning of my first novel.
In Vienna, everyone told me I should go see Karlskirche (St. Charles') Cathedral, a huge, famed Baroque church. On the outside, the cathedral was a massive monument guarded by two imposing stone angels, one from the Old Testament, and one from the New.
On the inside, renovation was in progress. A massive scaffold stood in the cathedral's center, its metal skeleton twisting nearly 115 feet up to the church's dome. The scaffold shook and swayed as curious tourists climbed its steps. I hesitated. The structure didn't look all that safe to me. If I ascended, would I find a stairway to paradise or a shortcut to hell?
In the end, I had to find out.
Ignoring my fear of falling, I took the first step and just kept going. Soon I forgot about the shaky stairs and the hordes of travelers around me. The cathedral floor became a distant memory. From my perch high up in the air, I could observe the amazing paintings decorating the cathedral's walls.
Here were saints and angels, heretics and demons, painted in powdery hues. Their huge figures contorted, conforming to the cathedral's curving interior. From far below these humanoid figures looked perfect, but at such close range they appeared nearly grotesque, their bodies distorted, their facial expressions exaggerations of the ordinary. The humans in the paintings were people of power and influence in the Church. Different scenes showed them petitioning the Holy Trinity, being served by angels, or tormented by demons.
As I reached the dome of the church, where the painting of a single Dove hovered, I looked out the windows to the city below. And I wondered: how would an angel, or a demon, behave with a person of influence in today's world? Someone who was in a position to change the fate of the world? What temptations would work with a modern politician, priest or king?
I started back down the scaffold, but the questions stayed with me. That very day, I began writing the book that became Beloved of the Fallen.
Writing this book was a lot like climbing the scaffold in the cathedral: scary, but I couldn't stop or look back to where I'd been. And now, I'm so grateful to have seen things from a different perspective. And to present the result to you, my readers.
I hope Beloved of the Fallen helps you escape and brings you inspiration. Enjoy this flight of fancy on a fallen angel's wings.
You can reach Savannah at firstname.lastname@example.org
To read more about Savannah's Viennese views, click here: http://www.savannahkline.com/BLOG.html
This guest post is a part of BLB Ebook Tours