This week we’re counting down to the publication of The Shining Ones – exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time! And we start, appropriately enough, with its origins. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint where an idea for a story comes from. But others arrive with an obvious genealogy, even if the story eventually wanders off into a whole new world of its own.
The Shining Ones was birthed from the collision – or perhaps mating – of two ideas. One came from a disappointing writing exercise, and the other from a dream. The details are hazy now, but I woke up with an image burned into my imagination: a woman turning into a flock of pigeons.
The dream centred around a little boy who was following a woman around town. She was an undercover angel, and he was determined to prove it by catching her in the act of doing something angelic.
But the angel was equally determined to maintain her cover. So she ran around a corner and transformed into pigeons. By the time the boy caught up with her, there was nothing to see but a bunch of pigeons fluttering into a line along the roof of a nearby building.
I woke up with the thought that angels disguise themselves as pigeons, and the seed for the book was planted.
From then on, every pigeon became a possible angel. I watched them watching me as I walked to work. I began to notice them everywhere I went and it made me stupidly happy.
It took a little longer to realise my dream had ripped off Dracula – the bit where he transforms into a bat, or bats (depending on the version):
I think there may have been some influence from The Prophecy too. If you haven’t seen the film, it features angels who perch on the edge of roofs and the backs of chairs, like this:
The film also features Christopher Walken doing his thing as the angel Gabriel and Viggo Mortensen as the Devil – you can’t go wrong!
Anyway, angels as pigeons mingled with other ideas I had about human angels, and research into bird mythologies around the world confirmed my mad idea. The result should be available soon…
In the meantime, here’s Beatrice (an angel) explaining how pigeon reconnaissance works:
“…We disguise ourselves as pigeons most often because they are ubiquitous. Nobody is ever surprised to see a pigeon. It means we can watch you without your knowledge.”
Very sneaky these pigeons/angels. Stay tuned for more…