Q&A with Tabitha Barret:
What inspired you to write the first book? I had this idea of the devil calling to a young woman by telling her lies, or threatening her. She ultimately decides to join him and ends up in Hell. He says that she is now his servant and hands her a black dress. I was obsessed with this simple idea for decades. I tried at least twice to write this book, but I didn’t have the genre or a fully developed concept. Over time, I would revisit my main character in Hell and would imagine new scenarios and characters that would eventually lead to the first book.
What was your favorite part to write? I love writing for Hades. He has the best voice of all my characters to this point. He can say whatever he wants and yet he’s more complicated than most people will think. I actually wrote a scene with Hades and Michelle where they have to work together to defeat an enemy, but it didn’t fit into this book, so I moved it to Book 2. That was my favorite to write, but my second favorite was Michelle’s interaction with Hades in the Hall of Mercy. I originally had them in the Hall of Torment, but moved them to give them privacy so that Hades could reveal more of his true character without worrying about the other prisoners eavesdropping.
What was the hardest part to write? The scene in the Caves of Darkness when Michelle speaks with her father was the hardest. Creating a new history of the world was difficult, but I also had to lay the foundation for her back story. I wrote and rewrote until I screamed. There’s a lot that her father has to tell her and not a lot of time, so he has to give her the ugly truth of who she is while she details her experiences in Hell. There’s a lot of emotion for both characters and it’s hard to fit everything in there.
Who is your favorite character and why? As of Book 1, my favorite character is Hades, though I like writing for Sacha too. Hades thinks one thing and says something else. I’m always interested in his motivations. He is the former Angel of Endurance who will do anything to save his backside and stay out of trouble, unless taking the beating is the lesser of the punishments and will somehow save him. Sacha’s true identity isn’t understood right away, but he will become very important later. I love how he can walk into Hell without being seen and does what he wants.
How do you give the characters unique voices, separate from your own? Sometimes I have to write for a character before I start to understand their voice. Most of the characters start out sarcastic, like myself, but after editing and revising my dialog, their true voices begin to form. I try to understand them and base the dialog and actions on what I know about them. Michelle is confused by what is happening to her, but she learns early on that she has to fight for what she believes. Her voice will continue along this path as the series grows. Lucifer fluctuates between insane and sweet, but always has an edge to him. He’s paranoid that Michelle will discover all of his sins, of which there are many, so even when he is kind, he always holds something back.
Is this series considered Christian fiction? No, my books borrows from a number of religions and mythologies, while creating its own unique world. Yes, there is a God and angels, but they are depicted as real people with their own faults and failings. My Harbingers, or Predznak, are dark angels who must overcome their own pain before they can fulfill their intended duties.
Haunted by nightmares of Hell, burdened with the gift of seeing the sins of men, and taunted by an unseen voice in her head, Michelle Black desperately tries to ignore these strange occurrences. Unable to ignore the voice any longer, she awakens to find herself in Hell, standing before the Angel of Darkness. He decrees that she is now his servant and hands her a black dress, the mark of his servants.
Deception comes from all sides as Lucifer professes to have fallen in love with her, while the Angel of Punishment tells her that she is nothing more than a distraction for Lucifer. Not knowing whom to trust, she must decide her own fate. Should she believe the Angel of Darkness with his beautiful eyes and caring touch, or the Angel of Punishment who is trying to ease her into a painless, peaceful death, free from the devil and the Realms of Torture?
Hope comes when a Heavenly Angel speaks of a rescue from Hell. She decides to trust the angel only to learn the horrifying truth. The gifts she ignored for so long are part of a larger destiny, a destiny that Lucifer wants to control. Can she trust Lucifer knowing that he might use her abilities to destroy the world? Would it be safer to accept death at the hands of the Angel of Punishment?
Michelle must decide if Lucifer’s affections for her are true, or if he is hiding his true intentions. Can she believe his sweet words, or is he lulling her senses so that she will trust him?
“The girl had changed him considerably, which could lead to his downfall. He knew that he was kinder when she was around. Would he be able to rule Hell with an iron fist while still keeping her close? Could he have it all and still be the devil?”
“She wanted to run, but she didn’t think she could outrun the devil. Pushing him into the fire would only enrage him. What options did she have left? Submit to him and become what he wanted, die and leave this world behind, or was there another way?”
Bio: Tabitha Barret graduated from Rutgers University. She married the guy from her Creative Writing class and together they had two amazing children. They live together in a quiet town in New Jersey with their three rambunctious dogs. She is currently working on her series, “The Third Throne.”