D. William Landsborough (known to many as just Doug) is a writer of dark and urban fantasy, with a sprinkling of whatever else crosses his mind at the time. His debut novel, Archangel, is the first in the Shadow’s Advent series and its sequel, Revelations, will be released towards the end of 2020.
Doug grew up on fantasy; he read about Drizzt Do’Urden from an early age, devoured the Chronicles of Amber, and considered Sam and Dean Winchester role models… to a certain extent. He loves being a Dungeon Master for his Dungeons & Dragons group, watches too many horror movies, and likes to fit in his freelance writing and editing career when he can.
Archangel is book one in Shadows Advent. How many books do you foresee in the series?
Archangel has five sequels in mind, bringing the entire Shadow’s Advent series up to six books. Book two, Revelations, is set to release December 10, 2020, which gets closer and closer every time I write it! My goal is to get one Shadow’s Advent book out per year. I barely made it for 2020 but am already ahead of the game for book three in 2021.
Beyond that, I already have some notes and thoughts on a prequel trilogy. Since Shadow’s Advent takes place after the angels have already lost the war between Heaven and Hell, there are a lot of characters and stories to explore in the decade leading up to Archangel.
Did the Winchester brother's world play a role with scene inspiration?
I’d be lying if I said no but specifying how is difficult. It might sound silly, but Sam and Dean have been a constant for me since I was in my early teens. And with each season of Supernatural taking up half a year, that’s a lot of time spent on a show!
If I had to choose one thing in particular, I would say that it was Sam and Dean’s world that got me into the angels vs demons stories, especially since I didn’t have a religious upbringing. But what is coolest about the Supernatural series and what I hope I convey in my work is that things aren’t always so straightforward. Angels and demons are supposed to be your quintessential good and evil characters, something that we can all usually relate to regardless of religious beliefs or lack thereof. But when you take those archetypes and you give them flaws, they become complex and interesting. Though the angel storylines had their ups and downs in Supernatural, having flawed protagonists and antagonists made it so much better and that’s what I see myself doing a lot... even if my angels are quite a bit different than the ones the Winchester brothers face!
I like Uriel's character, he's complex and relatable. Is he modeled after anyone?
Part of Uriel is modeled after what I—and I’m sure many others—want to be: someone who always strives to do what’s right. However, Uriel doesn’t have anyone he is specifically modeled after. In fact, it’s the opposite.
When I first wrote Uriel, I was very worried about him suffering from what I call “Superman Syndrome.” We all know Superman: he sticks to his principles, fights for good, saves the day. Understanding there are comics I haven’t read where this isn’t always the case, that’s the Superman most people know. And that can get kind of boring and predictable.
With Uriel being an archangel, one of the most powerful beings in Heaven, there is always a worry that he will be Superman. I don’t want him to always make the right choice or be leagues above everyone else, and so introducing those flaws early on was important for me in creating a character you want to read about.
What scene was the most difficult to write?
~Sexual Violence Warning.~
My first instinct was to say that this is a tough question, but there is one scene very early in Archangel that was not only difficult for me to write from a qualitative view but from a way that is respectful of the reader, too.
Shandra, our other main character, is a cambion, a half-demon. Perhaps with very, very few exceptions, no human wants to have a baby with a demon. It kills the human mother and demons are bloodthirsty beasts. In Shandra’s case, her mother was raped by a demon, and the demonic part of Shandra caused her to inherit all of her mother’s memories, so Shandra both recalls this and explains it to Uriel.
It was so hard writing that memory and I did everything I could to be conscientious of the reader and to not make it explicit, and I think I achieved that. I hope I did, and haven’t heard otherwise yet!
Do write any other genres?
Not anything that’s out just yet. I have an outline being finished for a near-future climate sci-fi, which I’m really excited about, and I’m taking a workshop in December to enhance my horror writing skills. I’m a huge horror fan and have a lot of ideas for books in that genre, plus I think it would benefit my writing in Shadow’s Advent and other dark fantasy work.
R.A Salvatore's Dark Elf trilogy was an obsession of yours when you were younger, do you look at it differently now as an adult?
I’m not a person to go back and re-read a book unless it is one I’ve written (and usually that’s for editing and revision purposes!), so I really have more nostalgia for the Dark Elf Trilogy than memories of it. The way Salvatore writes fight scenes is really what inspired me from a young age to want to write.
But any Dungeons & Dragons fan (which is the world in which Salvatore’s Dark Elf Trilogy and beyond takes place) can tell you that there’s been a lot of reflection on races and ideas in D&D. The drow, or dark elves, are a particular type of elf in the world that are almost universally evil, the only real exception being Drizzt, the main character in Salvatore’s work. This past year especially, people have pushed back on the idea of a race of people being inherently and totally evil, because such ideals were used to persecute minorities historically and through stereotypes today. Furthermore, the dark elves are all dark-skinned, which again sends a wrong message about stereotypes—especially since they are a race of underground elves, so they’d more than likely have incredibly pale skin or a lack of pigmentation if anything.
Does that mean I now dislike Salvatore’s work or D&D? No. I don’t think Salvatore or the folks behind the game are racist, whether implicitly or explicitly, but I do think it is something that needs to be kept in mind and addressed, not something that can just be brushed off or ignored.
Are you working on another Shadows Advent book now?
If I answered no to this then there might be calls for my head! Yes, I am. As I mentioned, book two is set to come out SO SOON, on December 10.
A fun fact that not a lot of people know: Book two, Revelations, didn’t actually exist in my original plan. When I first thought of the Shadow’s Advent series, it was only going to be five books. In the first draft of Archangel, the entirety of Revelations was crammed into two chapters and was an injustice to the characters and the plot. It was a beta reader from that draft that said, “Doug, this should be its own book. Expand it, make it better.” and that’s how Revelations was born.
But while Archangel was out to said beta reader, I was already working on the sequel to Archangel, the manuscript which is now becoming book three.
That’s sort of a lengthy way of saying that Book Three of Shadow’s Advent already has some workable parts to it. Some characters are in there that have died or just never made it into the final cut of Archangel and all of the scenes need some TLC because I’ve grown as a writer since they were first written, but I’ve got a good foundation to work with for the next book!
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