Raphael was the third book of the series I call Trio for Lute. Having killed off my previous protagonist was not much of a problem, especially as I had set the series firmly in a world where an afterlife was not an end to a character but a firm shove into another story-line. Not one, however, I was responsible for at the moment. I never felt I had abandoned Damiano when I killed him off. He himself would not have felt so. He was even re-united with his dog, so in a sense I was off the hook for having killed her.
But the other character in the series, who had been growing and changing in the background while we were so concerned with the humans, was the angel Raphael.
Angels in stories were supposed to be unchanging voices – like the Chorus in a Greek play. But I realized to my own surprise that in having the supernatural being interact so personally with a – well, with a person – I had started the process of turning him into a person, in the ordinary sense.
Didn’t mean to do it. I don’t mean to do a lot of what happens in my books.
But another background character – his unpleasant twin brother, Lucifer – took advantage of that fact and had great enjoyment stripping my heavenly music teacher of all his belongings and props. And so another story began.
I wrote Raphael years before there was a great public affection for angels. When that craze happened I was a bit embarrassed, as I avoid being ‘trendy’, but Raphael, whether the flawless angel or the seeking, suffering being he was becoming, had never been that sort of angel at all.
But then I suppose everyone who writes about vampires believe his or her vampire isn’t the clichéd, over-done sort of vampire either. It’s never for the writer to say.