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Why fiction?

This is one of the most common questions I get asked by fans who learn that the new book, Conspiracy of Angels, is not a guidebook, but a novel.

Could I write a non-fiction treatise on angels and demons? Absolutely. I’ve explored mountains of research in books like the Dictionary of Demons and the Watcher Angel Tarot Guidebook. So why take all that research and craft it into a work of fiction?

The simple answer? Telling stories is fun.

For those of you who know me, I’ve been working in non-fiction for years — decades, actually. My books, my television appearances, everything has been aimed at exploring obscure or forbidden knowledge, beliefs, and communities. Vampires, spirits, fallen angels — if it goes “bump” in the night, I’ve probably done research on it, then shared that research in articles, television documentaries, or full-length books.

But so many of the topics that endlessly fascinate me are things born of myth. In addition to the history and folklore that surrounds them, they have inspired countless stories of a more creative bent. For example, much of the vampire as we know it today comes to us, not from its roots in folklore, but through the refraction of that folklore through the lens of poetry, literature, and theater. All of those involve fiction — and that fiction has shaped the very qualities that we take for granted now as fact (Stoker, not folklore, gave us bats and mirrors in connection with the vampire. The German film Nosferatu contributed the belief that sunlight does not merely weaken vampires, but has the power to destroy them utterly).

Our stories shape our world as much as do our facts. Perhaps more so. There is power in that — power and delight.

So when I began wrestling with the folklore of angels and demons, Nephilim and Grigori through my work with the Dictionary of Demons and the Watcher Angel Tarot (and in the Nox Arcana album Blood of Angels before that), it was perhaps inevitable that some of that research would distill itself into story-telling.

Stories are quite different from non-fiction and yet they hold equal power to instruct. Crafting fiction is not merely an act of fantasy. Fiction is a way to contextualize our world — and especially, all those mysteries that inhabit it. Fiction is the realm of what-ifs and might-have-beens, transmuting truth through the alchemy of myth.

From tenuous threads of possibility, I have crafted the Shadowside — a world that is and is not our own, where I could take the building blocks born of all my studies, and play.

I sincerely hope you will enjoy playing there along with me.