This novel was originally titled Help Wanted. It began as a second chance at love for two people who find love when they least expect it and at the most festive time of the year: Christmas. It went through several revisions. I changed the locale from Connecticut to the Lowcountry, but the plot did not change.
I wanted readers to see how two people, experiencing a similar loss deal with it differently. What I didn’t want was for them to be so self-absorbed and wallowing in self-pity that they forget to live.
It all comes down to write about what you know. The culture of the Sea Islands, because of their isolation from the mainland, hasn’t changed much since the Spanish claimed and partly occupied them around 1568. By the end of the 17th-century England came to claim them as part of the Carolina colony and established rice and indigo plantations. The Gullah language and the cuisine has remained the same, while developers have slowly changed the landscape with golf courses and gated communities.
I am quite familiar with the events in this novel: the Gullah language, food, and superstitions. I grew up listening to my mother and aunts talk about the old folks who ‘if you crossed them would spit on you and turn you green.’ I didn’t understand what they meant until I realized they were talking about “black magic” and working “roots.” And with my overactive imagination I was both frightened and fascinated by their stories.
Angels Landing focuses on the island’s most prominent family and what they’re willing to do to keep an outsider from claiming what they feel they’re entitled to. Angels Landing is about a family feud, greed and sexy lawman willing to pull out all the stops to protect a woman marked for death.