Interview with Peter Lord-Wolff the author of “The Silence in Heaven” and the soon to be released, “Vows of Treason.”
Q – What inspired you to write about angels?
A – Fear and wonderment. Of course I’m joking, sort of. Angels are enigmatic in that they can be both wondrously loving and horrifyingly cruel. Above all the immensities surrounding angelic lore, I’m particularly intrigued by the idea that angels are supernatural beings that millions of people believe do exist and are here among us.
Q – Do you view your description of angels as unconventional?
A – Angels are many things to many people. There is no worldwide consensus as to who and what they are. The concept of winged men with magical powers predates the monotheism religions. Some researchers believe these early renditions discovered as drawings on cave walls may have been the conceptual model for angels that were later painted on the walls of cathedrals. I think Leonardo Da Vinci was the first great thinker to publicly defy the Vatican by commenting that angels would never get off the ground with the stubby wings artists had given them. Religious experts and theologians have over the ages described angels as being giants among men, while others claim angels are tiny enough that a thousand could fit on the head of a pin. In my fiction, celestial angels are immortal beings, made of light-energy cast in the human scale and form with long elliptical wings. When angels transform to a physical entity, their outer shape shrinks and compresses creating a skeleton of frozen light upon which Earthly flesh grows. I guess that description is unconventional as it came from my wicked imagination.
Q – Do you believe in the existence of angels?
A – Yes, on most days. The overwhelming evidence for their existence may be circumstantial but in our courts of law, testimony from a credible eyewitness can sway juries. I’ve met people who swear they have angels in their lives and others that say, “If I can’t see something then it doesn’t exist. It’s all religious nonsense.” At face value the negative-argument is silly when considering that the human eye perceives only a narrow slice of the broad spectrum of light. We can’t see oxygen and yet we can’t live without it.
Q – Most people associate angels with religion but you once said, “’The Silence in Heaven,’ is religiously neutral.” What did you mean by that?
A – If angels do exist, then they must exist beyond the pure context of religion. In other words, angels would be present even if the religious texts had not been written and the Creator’s messages never organised into any form of religion. Religion is a tool of man’s creation that has many uses as history has shown. It wasn’t needed here.
Q – A lot of people believe that the Bible is the word of God and should be respected as absolute truth. How would you answer those who would call your writing blasphemous?
A – For many reasons, I try not to reference the Bible or reconstruct its stories in my fiction. The Biblical text as it exists today after numerous edits and translations is an imperfect history in that many of its accepted facts are unverifiable and contradictory to our modern understanding of the world and universe. However science is constantly rewriting the rules governing the universe, and artefacts from earlier periods do support some of the biblical claims. It seams to me that science is best at explaining the mechanics of how things work but the process has no means to judge why these elements were created in the first place. Albert Einstein was once asked what he thought was at the far edges of the universe and he answered, “Pure light.” Reportedly Einstein did not believe in a personal God and it’s unclear if he believed in Heaven. Suppose for a moment that the Pure Light that Einstein referenced is the Light of Heaven. In my fictional account, I’ve combined the two concepts resulting in a novel idea that the universe was created inside Heaven, as one of my characters states, “The universe could not have been created in any place other than inside Heaven.” To some readers that may be a blasphemous statement but to others the concept that Heaven was the birthplace of the cosmos might be intriguing. When I was a child I think I envisioned heaven as a cloud floating around the cosmos, which put Heaven inside the universe. Was that childish intuition or a notion that I gleaned from Sunday school class? It was much later that I considered the mechanics of how it all might work.
The Bible’s fiery predictions of a dire future may be self-fulfilling through the actions of dangerously powerful men who believe we are living in the End-Of-Days. Supporting such theories, author and lecturer Joel Rosenberg has published compelling evidence stating, that for the first time in history the prophesised pieces to the prophetic puzzle are falling in place or are already in play. For example, the Bible predicted that the Jews would return to Israel, and that came to pass in 1947 with the creation of the Jewish state. Was this geopolitical development preordained and brought to fruition by those believing in the ancient text or did it occur naturally like the swallows returning to Capistrano?
The Bible is a complex mixture of parables, often at odds with logic, but it also teaches us to love and treat others with kindness, conduct wholesome stewardship of the land and treat animals with respect as God’s creations, which in my mind is sound and welcome advice. Over all I’m fascinated by religious texts and respectful of those who adhere to the messages but I tend to embrace the best and question the rest. God can speak for Him – or Herself. And I think if God had something important to tell us, we all would have heard His voice. As you can see, so far, I haven’t been struck by lightning.
Q – Are the characters Fambres and Fannes in “Vows of Treason” thinly disguised versions of the Biblical, Egyptian wizards, Jambres and Jannes?
A – Yes, Enoch and other writers of antiquity have written about the two wizards. I was fascinated by them because according to Enoch, Jambres and Jannes had mastered the art of astro-projection. By leaving their physical bodies behind, the two wizards in spirit form embarked on a whirlwind tour of Heaven. When their uninvited presence was noticed they were evicted by angels and returned to Earth. The rest of their story was less appealing so I reinvented them to suit my fiction.
Q – After publishing, “The Silence in Heaven” and now, “Vows of Treason” will there be more books in the Celestial Chronicles?
A – Yes, at least one and probably more. I have received numerous inquiries regarding Tashum the main character from, “The Silence in Heaven.” Women in particular have expressed interest to read more about him. So he’ll be back in the next book, which is in development.
Q – What would you like readers to take away from theses stories?
A – Well like most authors I hope the reader finishes the last sentence with a sense of satisfaction that their time and money was well spent. My aim is to entertain readers by exploring, “what if,” scenarios. What if, Celestial Beings inhabit our world? What if, there is an on going war between Good & Evil being waged not only on Earth but in Heaven as well? Posing and answering such questions in dramatic form outside the dogma of religion was liberating for me and I hope readers will experience the same freedom through suspension of disbelief as they turn the pages.
Interview with Carmel Magazine
The Rise of Fallen Angels
An interview with Peter Lord-Wolff
by Catherine Coburn
Peter Lord-Wolff’s epic tale began innocently enough. “On the back of a napkin,” smiles the author. “Well, actually it was on the butcher paper table covering. I had gotten together with some friends for dinner at Rio Grill, one of whom began to sketch an angel. She drew it upside down, which I interpreted as a fallen angel. When I started to wonder out loud about where all the fallen angels might be today, no one at the table could come up with a good answer to the question. That was in 1987,” he recalls, “and marked the beginning of my interest in what became The Silence in Heaven trilogy.” Lord-Wolff takes up his tale in 40,000BC, when the war in heaven has exiled a million Celestials from on high, sentencing them to live out their (almost) immortal existence below, among the Earth-bound “sons of clay”. As penance for disdaining their appointed role of servitude to such an un-majestic breed, the angels are banished from the Light, shorn of their wings and scattered across the planet. Over the course of millennia, it is up to the lead character, Tashum, to puzzle his way to an understanding of the core of humanity and all of its vagaries, (do vampires have souls?) and to unravel the mystery of the fate of his beloved brother, Paladin. And ultimately, we trust, through his mythi quest, to re-connect with the omnipotent Voice that has been silenced in heaven. Read more . . .