Monday, December 30, 2013

**Spotlight & Interview ~ Tears of Heaven ~ RA McCandless**

Tears of Heaven by RA McCandless
Release Date: December 4, 2013
Genre: Urban Fantasy

In the past, the children of angels and humans, the Nephilim, were allowed to lead their lives as they willed. But they proved too strong, too ambitious, and too cunning for their own good. They became warlords, conquerors and emperors. They caused war and strife until the Throne stepped in and forced them to submit to Its will, or die. 

Unlike most of her fellows, Del, one of the first Nephilim, had no interest in conquest and domination. In the ancient past, prior to the Throne's interdiction, she met and fell in love with Dami, a Mediterranean ship captain and trader. Together, they face down pirates and storms and try to create a future together. 

In the present, Del unwillingly works for the Throne, obeying the commands of the angel Ahadiel. She helps to keep the world safe from the horrors of escaped demons. At the same time, she keeps herself in the Throne's good graces. Whenever a rogue demon breaks free from Hell, she and her partner, Marrin, another Nephilim, work together to banish it. 

Thrilling danger, fast-paced adventure, high-seas action, and heart-warming romance fill this novel, with a page-turning story that won't let you put it down.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Most of my background is still considered classified, which is a shame. Some of the stories are really funny. But, I can tell you that I was born under a wandering star that led me to a degree in Communication and English with an emphasis on creative writing. I’ve always been a sucker the fantastical and the paranormal, and that figures prominently into what I read and what I write. 

I try to deal with real characters in a real world with real danger, but add the elements of the fantastic or the supernatural. It’s our world, but better.

What do you do when you are not writing?

When not writing, or doing writing research, which my wife calls “reading”, I solved world peace and taught our nation’s children to read. Those stories haven’t made it to press yet, so I’m not surprised you haven’t heard it. To stay in shape, I eat cookies, drink chocolate milk and watch “Phineas and Ferb” with my three boys. It’s extremely hard work, but I feel a real sense of duty to family. Who else is going to take care of me in my old age! Sometimes, if I’m feeling really energetic, I’ll watch my wife work.

For a less sweat-soaked event, I like to run. I’ve been competing in 5ks and 10ks for the past twenty years, and they’re a lot of fun. Southern California really lends itself to year-round training and racing, and it’s a great excuse to listen to some stories on my iPod while watching scenery fly by.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

My parents had a copy of the Encyclopedia Galactica, and I can remember spending hours reading about the quadrillions of people and history throughout the galaxy. I would also recommend Necronomicon Ex Mortis. It’s a little hard to find these days, but if you can get an original copy with the author notes, it’s well worth it. Tolkien’s The Hobbit was given to me as a gift and really opened the castle gates of fantasy to me. Suddenly, there was a whole world of swords, magic and fantastical creatures to meet. Immediately after I finished, I took all the money I had and biked down to the bookstore to buy everything else Tolkien had written. I had no idea I was getting the seminal fantasy series: The Lord of the Rings.

Why are readers going to love Tears of Heaven?

Thrilling danger, fast-paced adventure, high-seas action, and heart-warming romance fill Tears of Heaven, with a page-turning story that won't let you put it down. Pirates buckle on their swashes and big Nordic warriors swing heavy sword. There’s a little something for everyone in the book, plus a few twists, turns and some laughs. Oh, and demons. Nasty, scary, slashing, biting demons. Who doesn’t love demons?

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Oh, we’re back to the classified stuff! My handler tells me that I can say there are definitely some elements that happened in real life, some conversations that are taken from memory as closely as they occurred. A few characters are based on people that I’ve encountered through my years, some actual and some imagined.

Tears of Heaven is history as it should have happened.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

Through all the iterations of Tears of Heaven, the juxtaposition between the past and the present was a constant. Del’s story is complex and doesn’t hinge on any one defining event, but is a growth of a series of events that impacted her in different ways. I wanted to show the difference between Del from the ancient past, and Del in the modern world. She wasn’t always the way she is, and she is still growing. That should be true of any character that isn’t dead. Even the Campbellian Mentor shouldn’t be a stagnant creature.

What project are you working on now?

I’ve been writing (hopefully) strong female characters for a couple of decades now. I didn’t set out to do so. There was no conscious effort to make my work specifically male or female. My very first, very immature story was about my group of friends. Because I was, have been and always will be interested in heroic fantasy, it was in a heroic fantasy setting. Everyone carried swords, everyone was heroic with their swords, and that was essentially that. It was a story meant for my friends, and I thought highly of all of them, regardless of their gender.

The Second Cut follows up on my tradition of heroic characters regardless of gender. This historical fantasy is about Tomoe Gozen, a female samurai acclaimed to be more than a match for any warrior of her time. No one is quite certain what happened to her after her daimyo was defeated, which I thought was a great place for a fictional account. Keeping in mind the historical information that we know, I’ve been working to craft a tale of adventure, duty, honor and romance as Tomoe Gozen tries to fulfill her last duty.

Thanks, RA!

R.A. McCandless has been a writer both professionally and creatively for nearly two decades. He was born under a wandering star that led him to a degree in Communication and English with a focus on creative writing. He is the author of Tears of Heaven and The Second Cut (due 2014), and continues to research and write historical and genre fiction.


  1. This was a fun interview. The story sounds interesting, maybe I'll check it out. Thanks for sharing.

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives

  2. Oh I love this interview! It's such hard work watching Phineas and Ferb...I should know ;) My boy loves it as well. So true about who picks out our nursing homes though, right? Who doesn't love demons? Well, I haven't met them yet. Thanks so much for sharing! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven

  3. Heh, seems the author has quite the sense of humor. Thanks for sharing the book with us, Brandee!

  4. LOL, classified? OK, that means someone is going to have to do some google-ka and find out many, many things about him :D

    Tears of Heaven seems pretty good, I'm gonna add this one to my TBR, if I can find a big enough ladder to climb up there.

    Thanks for sharing Brandee. I wish you a Happy, Healthy 2014! And I look forward to sharing many more books with you in the new year :) *big hugs*

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    1. I know, right?!? We'll have to compare notes. ;)

      I thought it sounded pretty good, too, Lexxie. I hope you made it safely up that ladder!

      I wish you a marvelous 2014, too, my friend! Cheers to knocking off many, many of those books from our mountainous TBRs!! ;) *big hugs*


Now you know what I think...what are your thoughts??