Updated: May 9, 2022
[Welcome to the fifth entry in my ‘Introducing’ series, where we take an in-depth sneak peek at the main characters of Celestial. No need to worry. No plot spoilers here!]
Who is Laszio and Eran?
In Celestial, Laszio and Eran are a pair of Privates in God’s army, and are chosen as Captain Jediah’s wingmen for a high stakes stealth mission across the globe.
What are wingmen?
Well, since they’re angels, they’re not technically ‘men’, but it’s merely a term for an angelic officer’s right hand attendants and first-response backup team. I personally would have liked to find a more clever name for it, but ‘wingels’ sounded weird... and dumb. So ‘wingmen’ it is!
You’ve been introducing characters individually so far. Why are you introducing these two as a pair?
Who wants salt without pepper? Or Sherlock without Watson? They can work just fine on their own, sure, but there’s always something lacking when they’re not together. That’s the literal case for Laszio and Eran. As far as angels go, they’re both competent but are two of the weakest soldiers in Jediah’s barracks. Thus, it made sense for them to be assigned battle partners. They kinda need each other to get the job done anyway. Besides, centuries of partnership turned them into the closest friends, so I find it impossible to separate them at this point - even for sneak peeks like this.
So what makes them alike and what makes them different from each other?
I constantly asked myself the same question while working on them. Though I consider Akela my hardest character, Laszio and Eran where also considerably tricky for this very reason. I planned their desire to rise above their comparably weak stature to be their key bond, but I also didn’t want two of the same character. Funnily enough, I didn’t want them to be polar opposites either, but after a lot of tweaking, their personalities adopted two particular sides to my own work ethic - my diligent planner side (Eran) and my passionate doer side (Laszio). This generated the ‘two sides to the same coin’ effect I wanted from them.
Why be so picky over their similarities and differences?
My aim was to portray two friends who are similar enough for readers to believe they’re as close as they are yet different enough that they can contrast each other and at times disagree. It’s a delicate balance. Because when a buddy pair is too different with little common ground, it’s hard to imagine their friendship lasting long or getting all that close - even if they do like each other. On the other hand, if they never differ, it makes for unrealistic and boring conversations. Goes to show that portraying a friendship is just as complicated as portraying a single person. The ‘two buddies’ trope is nothing new in fiction. I know I’m not re-inventing the wheel by including it. Still, it’s not only a trope I love. It had potential to further my book’s theme, so I wanted to do it well.
How do they further the theme?
Celestial’s theme centers around what it truly means to be redeemed in Christ, and I don’t simply mean ‘asking Jesus into your heart’. It’s about salvation’s deepest core. What does it mean to live redeemed day to day? The fact that 70% of my characters are angels (a.k.a. beings who can’t experience salvation themselves), puts a largely unexplored perspective on the matter too. I won’t spoil too much, but let’s just say there’s a multilayered answer. It’s true Jediah’s crisis drives much of the conflict. His side contains the primary solution, but Laszio’s and Eran’s development I intended to provide further commentary. If you’ve ever felt puny compared to faith giants like King David in your spiritual walk; their particular subplot aims to address that and plays into the theme.
So what was working on Laszio and Eran like?
It was quite fun. I thoroughly enjoyed coming up with their banter. Unlike most characters, who are largely learning about each other, they already know each other’s habits and quirks. This allowed me to flavor their conversations with double the subtext as a result. You won’t hear them openly explain themselves as much as the others, but their past experiences together should effect their private interactions and express more than enough. Plus, since they’re of lower rank, they’ve got more wiggle room to joke and be openly expressive than Jediah. It’s also funny to me how much they changed over time between drafts. Laszio’s original name was Asiel. Eran went from a reserved version of Laszio to an unconventional strategist. I dialed back Laszio’s hot-headedness. The two even took over the role of an unused character, and I dramatically deepened their connection with Jediah once I realized they were a golden opportunity to expose more sides to him.
With Laszio and Eran being the last two characters in the main group, is this the last ‘Introducing’ entry on FlyingFaith?
Not so fast. For every compelling crew of heroes there’s often a need for at least one compelling villain, and I can’t think of a better time to introduce my prime antagonist than in the darkest of national holidays: Halloween. So keep your eyes peeled next month. Because I’ll pull back the veil just a teeny-bit on who my angels will be up against, and no, it’s not Satan.
I hope you liked this article! Please consider liking, sharing, and leaving a comment! Celestial comes out on May 12th next Thursday, so find and preorder it on Amazon, Goodreads, Applebooks, and Barnes & Noble; and please consider subscribing for my free, non-spammy newsletter below! Thank you!