Hello, this is L.M. David. The interview today is with John Higgins, author of a trilogy entitled The Archangel Jarahmael & The War To Conquer Heaven, The Beginning, The Archangel Jarahmael In Rebellion and The Archangel Jarahmael And The War to Conquer Heaven, In Exhile. This interview will touch on all three. Again, this is one of those interviews that happened last year and I apologize to John Higgins for the long delay. Also, the only link included with this interview is for his author page on Amazon. As more are supplied, I will update this post.
Q. Tell me a little bit about yourself.
A. Not an easy answer as I really think I have lived about five lifetimes packed into this one. I have been blessed with the ability to do many things, blessed with some intelligence and a spirit to take things on even though there are risks of failure. Blessed with some great friends as well over the years. I have done so many things in my life, I sometimes can’t remember them all, and I wouldn’t want to bore you with all the details. Suffice it to say, I literally became a jack-of-all trades, I can build things, fix things, operate most things, including flying planes. Not afraid to get my hands dirty or deal with difficult things. I have an innate faith I can survive anything as silly as they may sound. I have done everything from work on farms, antique and flea market businesses, industrial finishing operations, went to law school at night while changing entire systems in New Jersey’s government, wrote statutes, staffed committees and authored policy reports, filmed rock stars, produced a play using inner city high school actors, became a statewide prosecutor and worked on some of the highest profile cases in my state, including a gang that cut a seventy-foot swastika in a cornfield that wound up on national news, all the way to the case of prosecuting our most prolific serial killer, a nurse who confessed to killing twenty nine patients in two states. I was generally the guy who inherited the cases no one else was sure what to do with. As you can see I also allowed my creative side to come out, in filming rock stars and producing a play. Oh yes, I also created and implemented statewide public awareness campaigns literally distributing millions of copies of materials to each and every classroom, and student in the state, even worked on some public awareness campaigns on the national level.
Q. Impressive! The Archangel Jarahmael and War to Conquer Heaven is part of a trilogy. The first in the series is entitled In The Beginning. Let’s start there. What is In The Beginning about?
A. It is about the actual Beginning of the Almighty’s Universe, Heavens and the Earth. It follows the creation of the first thinking Beings, the Angels, and follows their struggles for identity and purpose in the context of free will. It also includes the establishment of life on the planet Earth and how all these creatures interact with one another. Woven throughout is the concept of love, in many forms, love of one creature for another, love of self, love for members on one’s own species, love for the Almighty who created them all.
Q. What inspired you to write a version of the Creation of the Universe?
A. From the time I was a young boy I have been fascinated with the whole story of creation. Somewhere along the line I have had the story of the creation of the Angels and their rebellion against the Almighty that resulted in them becoming evil. I wanted to read whatever it was where that story came from and after searching extensively, I could not find the story anywhere save for John Milton’s Paradise Lost which is basically unreadable. So I kept looking deeper. Genesis in the Bible is disjointed and nonsensical. There are two creation stories within paragraphs of one another. The offspring of where the Sons of God breed with the Daughters of Men and create Nephilim is even more contradictory. The Book makes it appear that the Nephilim are abominations, yet they are referred to as the “men of renown and heroes of old.”
I continuing digging, looking for books or legends that filled in these gaps and it was amazing how a book or other piece of information would just appear for me to find or give me guidance. I literally wound up writing the story I was looking all those years to read.
Q. Describe the relationship between Lillith and Jarahmael.
A. Simply put — love at first sight. Exquisite love that evolved from acceptable to being declared forbidden. Of course that created problems for the characters and their world, great stuff to write about in a novel!
Q. Briefly name the nine orders of Angels created in this book and what each stands for.
A. The Nine Orders of Angels from the closest to the Almighty on downwards: Thrones, Seraphim, Archangels, Cherubim, Virtues, Dominions, Principalities, Potentates, and Guardians. Seraphim and Thrones always travel with the Almighty Himself. Archangels, all fourteen of them, assist the Almighty as major creators themselves. Cherubim are artisans but also become the real warrior class. Virtues are more intellectual they debate aspects of the Almighty’s Universe. Dominions are supervisors for the lower ranks of Angels Principalities are the engineers of building in the creation. Potentates are orbs that absorb and distribute extra energy needed to build structures and things upon the planets. And Guardians are worker Angels who assist the others as needed.
Q. What are the Seven Heavens?
A. There are Seven Levels of Heavens, each one occupied by one of the Orders of Angels. Again, from the highest to the lowest, The Almighty, His Seraphim and Throne only visit the Heavens so they are nor permanently based in any of them. The Almighty’s Throne Room is in the Seventh Heaven, a cathedral type structure that is connected to an amphitheater with an open skylight where the Almighty and his entourage enter and exit. They have morning ceremonies where all the Angels meet in the morning and get their assignments for the day. The Archangels otherwise occupy the Seventh Heaven and have their individual palaces there. The Cherubim occupy the Sixth Heaven, the Virtues the Fifth Heaven, the Dominions the Fourth Heaven, the Principalities the Third Heaven, the Potentates the Second Heaven and the Guardians the First Heaven. Additionally, the Garden of Eden is attached to the First Heaven but extends down to the Earth as well. There are palaces throughout the Heavens, and central meeting halls and structures so each Order of Angel can assemble if need be in their respective Heaven. There are more structures and details in each of the Heavens but it would be best if your readers let those things unfold in the story.
Q. Many believe Lillith was the mother of Vampires. Will that be mentioned in The Archangel Jarahmael?
A. Let’s just say this Lillith is a complex creature and she has important roles to play, especially as the series continues beyond this first trilogy and moves into the Underworld and Hell.
Q. Which is Jarahmael, good or evil and why?
A. That will be for the readers to decide, just as they will have to decide about all the major characters. The Almighty’s Universe was created out of love and is powered by love. But love comes in many shapes, sizes and with many goals and motives. I can safely say all of my Angels have love in their hearts, some more than others, and they behave it ways that develop along with their own natures.
Q. How did you structure this series in order to have it told by the Angels themselves, meaning does each Angel get his/her own chapter or is this a collective story-telling?
A. The story is told from The Beginning and as it unfolds, but since the Beings of Light, the Angels are the first created by the Almighty it follows what happens from their perspective and view point. So no, it is not composed of different encyclopedia type chapters on each of the Angels.
Q. What inspired you to write The Archangel Jarahmael and the War to Conquer Heaven?
A. I have always known there was a story of how the Angels were created and eventually a number of them decided to rebel and take over the Heavens. I don’t know exactly how that was in my mind, whether it was some story told to me in my early Catholic school years, or it is just part of the universal mind and collective unconscious that we all have according to Carl Jung.
Q. Of all the characters created for this book, which was the hardest to write?
A. The Almighty was and is the hardest character to write, His loneliness in the beginning, His unreserved giving of life and the Universe to His cherished Beings of Light and later creations, and His gift of “free will” to these thinking creatures. How He handles disappointment an even treachery from the creatures that he made has taken a lot of thought and reflection.
Q. That is certainly a different way of looking at the Almighty. Did you have any reservations about writing stories that had roots in the Old Testament?
A. Yes, of course. More wars have been fought over the version of the Bible or other Holy Book in which one believes, but I have been fascinated by the holes in the books especially Genesis. And what is more fascinating to try to understand than these Beings of Light who fly and appear to mankind and alter its history at the Almighty’s request.
Q. What do you believe will draw readers to The Archangel Jarahmael?
A. It is the epic story of good and how evil develops at least in the Judeo-Christian traditions although it is also present in various forms in other ancient civilizations. Almost all stories Humans tell one another have good and evil in there somewhere. I have woven a love story amidst the war for the Heavens and I hope the intricacies and elaboration of the Almighty’s world’s and creations will fascinate the readers just as I was fascinated researching it all. I believe it’s comparable to the Lord of The Rings, Harry Potter and Anne Rice’s Vampire series.
Q. The Archangel Jarahmael War to Conquer Heaven is the first in a trilogy and the next in the series, The Archangel Jarahmael In Rebellion and the War to Conquer Heaven. How about a little insight into In Rebellion.
A. The first book In the Beginning deals primarily with the Almighty’s creation and the intrigue of Lillith and Jarahmael’s relationship as well as the growing problem with “free will” on the Earth. Book 2, In Rebellion, continues the story where battle lines are drawn and the war is fought. I think the readers will have a few surprises in each of the books.
Q. Can you give a little insight into the last book in this series?
A. Well not much more than the war has been fought and the losers have been sent out of the Heavens, but they are a determined lot and refuse to remain defeated.
Q. What advice do you have for writers seeking to become published authors?
A. Like anything worth pursuing, it all takes hard work and dedication. I don’t know of anyone who was a real overnight success, when you read up on their lives you see that they worked for a long time on their craft and despite setbacks dusted themselves off and continued to move forward. I do believe we can do almost anything we set our minds and hearts on, the key to success is the amount of effort you want to dedicate to it.
L.M.: Given all your accomplishments over the years, I believe that is very sound advice to new, and established authors thinking of tossing in the career. I admit I am in awe of what you’ve have accomplished and I wish you the best with future endeavors, not that you need it.
A running joke in my family is that I was raised by wolves. In fact I was raised by an aunt and uncle. The home in which I grew up was originally built around 1870 as a barn and converted into a house well before indoor plumbing was standard. I was allowed, or rather encouraged, to hunt at an early age and during the winter supplemented our domestic meat with rabbit, squirrel, quail, and occasionally the rare pheasant.
I was the kind of kid that read encyclopedias like novels and built catapults, telephone systems, radios and flying model airplanes and rockets from scratch. Such pioneering efforts were bound to result in mishaps. While testing rocket fuel batches at a friend’s house, a stray spark from a tiny test sample flew into a primary batch resulting in a scorched wall. I stayed away from my friend’s house until they moved. Another rocket building incident occurred one evening in my upstairs room. I tripped over an ignition wire which pulled over a transformer that ignited a small, and very fortunately it was small, rocket. The accident should have resulted only in a premature launch but the jerked wire pulled the rocket off its launch ramp which had been aimed out an open window. The rocket blasted into a baseboard and exploded. The house shaking boom and the resulting smoke left me stunned. When my uncle hollered through the passive heat grill in the floor asking what had happened, the best thing I could come up with was that I had dropped the typewriter. Fortunately the rising air coming up through the grill kept the smoke from going down.
In the 1960s I worked as farm labor, auto mechanic, produce manager, butcher and railroad blacksmith and with the very early room filling computers. Around the age of 20 I began searching for the meaning of life. I explored the major religions and for a short time considered the Christian pulpit but grew out of that. I continue to search to this day although not with the intensity of youth. In 1963 I started college but dropped out, sold or pawned most of my meager possessions and traveled to Mexico and then through the Deep South. I encountered a frightening religious cult in Mississippi, a John Bircher in a Florida cypress swamp, and the blacks’ only windows at Dairy Queens which I misunderstood and at first viewed as a big joke. I would stand at the blacks only window until a distressed employee would come over and say they could not serve me at that window. That stunt ended when a good ol’ boy told me I could get my head bashed in, or worse.
In 1964 while shooting pool to make gas money, a friend came into the pool hall and said they were giving computer aptitude tests at the phone company. I took the test and got the job. In 1965 I started working on a pilot’s license and began taking college courses for computers, personnel management, banking and writing that took me to a dozen universities over the following 40 years. I have continued my education even after retirement, accruing 42 college credits after I turned 45. I married in 1969, finished my pilot’s license from a grass strip in Missouri and dropped out of the “establishment” a year later. My first job back into the “establishment” in 1971 was salvaging aircraft parts for the Argentine air force from the bone yard at Davis Monthan airbase. I bought an airplane in 1975, divorced in 1976, remarried in 1979 and we had a son the same year.
Although I wrote short stories in my twenties and later wrote technical manuals for computer processes, I did not start writing fiction in earnest until 1985. In 1998 I retired from consulting and now race cars, write and play poker, golf and the stock market in Reno, Nevada.