Monday, March 11, 2013

Guest Post Jennifer Murgia: Fiction-or Truth?

Fiction—or Truth?

There’s nothing more satisfying than losing oneself within the pages of a good book—after all, world building is the foundation of good storytelling, and I’ve always believed there’s an element of truth to what is told. When you think about it, tales from long ago, stories whispered around campfires . . . they came from somewhere, didn’t they?
When I sat down to write my first Young Adult novel, ANGEL STAR, I knew I needed a plausible premise. Oh sure, fiction is fiction, and everyone loves a good story, but it’s always better when what you’ve read whispers .  . . “What if?”
The research I did for ANGEL STAR consisted of studying the religious and cultural beliefs of my favorite beings, angels. Though many stories are different, many were strikingly similar. And no matter where I searched, one element rang true . . . there was an order to these celestial beings. Through the ages, insight into angels have ranged from sightings, strange phenomena, appearance and of course, what I needed for my book, order: Archangels, Seraphims, Thrones, Cherubim, to name a few, and the lowest ranking, only because of its close proximity to Earth –Guardians.
But my research didn’t stop there. I wanted to tie in a visual lifeline between a Guardian and its human, something that would also physically connect my two characters, Garreth and Teagan. I chose the Octagram for its eight points, representing the number of incarnations an angel would watch over its earthly charge. Now, mind you, my mythology was purely made up. That’s the beauty of fiction—it’s bendable, pliable, and put to the astounding use of a writer’s brain. The Octagram has always represented the Wiccan symbol the Wheel of the Year, and the eight Sabbats. And while Angel Star is anything but Wiccan-based, the symbol fit.
Thus began my use of symbols throughout the story—the Unicursal and Bicursal Octagrams. Unicursal is one continuous line forming the star and means harmony. This was, without at doubt, the star for Garreth, my light angel and Teagan’s love. The Bicursal is made up of two overlapping squares representing conflict and separation, and a perfect fit for my dark angel, Hadrian. It symbolized his shift from good to evil, light to dark, as if it were made for him.
The number eight is very symbolic throughout the book, as it is in the sequel, Lemniscate. But what you many not know, is the number eight seems to follow me. I have eight letters in my name. Angel Star was written in eight months –started in June, ended in February. June is the sixth month. February is the 2nd. Six plus two is eight.
Lemniscate’s cover bears an infinity symbol, also viewed as a sideways eight –again, the connection. My third and final book in the series, The Bliss, has a hidden symbol on its cover. And while I’m certain readers will notice it immediately, I’m curious if you will know what it represents –yes, you can look this one up when you find it!

Whether you’re enjoying fiction for a good story, or if something nags at the back of your head, causing you to question, “Is this real?” you may want to listen carefully. I, for one, can’t say angels are indeed real beings that watch over us. I’d like to think they exist, and deep down, I know I truly do. But I do know one thing and that there IS truth in what we read. Sometimes it’s hidden, and sometimes it’s as plain as day. The fun part is discovering it!

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