Paige Ambroziak, a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature, is author of A Perpetual Mimicry. Ambroziak’s novella follows a fallen fire angel who, with the aid of another exile, seeks to gain his wings back and end his banishment. Along the way, he experiences the fundamentals of human experience, including love, death, art, and salvation, one of which might be just the key he needs to unlock the mystery of his expulsion from the stars…
Paige also maintains the website Fields of Twisting Phlox where she reviews self-published books.
Montag had the opportunity to ask Paige some questions about her art and her studies. She also shared some thoughts regarding the future of self-publishing.
I want to begin by complimenting your prose and your imagination. There was a real intensity to all of “Ani’s” emotions, particularly his longing, and this all really shone through in the language. I thought you also made use of some very vivid and visual language – most of it having to do with fire and light. For example, the novella begins with the following: “When I opened my eyes I recalled the bursts of light in the endless black above. They were the genesis, the candelabrum lighting the chaos that engulfed this world.” This is incredibly potent, primordial imagery which draws to mind, for me, the book of Genesis and the Gospel of John. Later, toward the end, Ani receives some sort of spiritual communication and it’s described as an “exotic butterfly” whose color was electric. The narration continues: “The tips of its insect legs touched my hand twice before flitting away into the trees. But I saw a great light come down through the leaves, sharpening to a point and into a little ball that traipsed upon the air like the will-o’-the wisp. Hovering several feet from where I was standing, the light grew to a shape that mirrored my own.” This is beautifully rendered.
There are several classes of spiritual beings in your story, including humans, seraphim, fire angels—and there’s some interbreeding going on between the humans and seraphim and their offspring and the fire angels. Can you explain a little bit further the distinctions between the celestial beings (e.g. the seraphim and fire angels)? And where did you draw your inspiration from, in deciding which creatures to include in your world?
I wanted to create a being that was neither human nor heavenly but rather an ulterior entity. The Fire Angel is an invention of a psyche or a soul that exists outside of the heavenly sphere. It is a being that is forged in the gaseous atmosphere of a fixed star, and is bound to that star. The Fire Angel has wings, as angels in Heaven do, but its plumage is the core of its identity, which is why Ani and Simon ache without them. My inspiration for these beings is Lucifer, the light bearer. I always wondered if he had his wings plucked when he was tossed to earth… Continue reading