Last week, someone paid me the ultimate authorial compliment. You can see it for yourself here, but the text reads:
I loved your Seven Archangels novel. My son’s middle name is Gabriel because of it.
I read that and was shocked. Beyond shocked. I had no idea what to say in response other than “Thank you” and then sit there saying, “Oh my God.”
The Archangel Gabriel rocks. I’ve known that since I was seventeen and developed the most intense, amazing, delicious crush on him that humanity ever knew. He was wonderful. He was amazing. I would look for pictures of the Annunciation because I knew he was cool. I scoured the accounts of him in the Bible. I made up stories about him. I made up even more stories about him. Heck, I wrote four novels about him. I begged God for a dream about him. I modified pop songs so they were about him.
And probably, because of everything I did to him in that sugar-high emotional state of OMGCRUSH, I’m going to owe him about two hundred years of cleaning out his basement once I meet him in Heaven. I’m definitely going to be hiding behind my guardian angel’s wings, kind of scared as I peek out at him the first time we meet.
One of my own children has a variant of “Gabriel” as a middle name. Two others have Michael and Raphael. Kiddo#4 is out of luck: we ran out of archangel names approved by the Catholic Church.
The idea that someone else loved Gabriel as much as I loved him was astonishing. It meant I’d done my job as an author. But more than that, it meant I’d led someone else to look into the archangel behind the character and see in him everything I’d seen and loved from the start.
I do feel kind of responsible for that, though. Naming a kid after one of my characters, even if he’s a real person, in a weird way makes me something like the kid’s godmother. Something like that. A name lasts forever and ever, and in a way it helps define us. So I’m going to have to remember to pray for the child in the future.
Today is the feast day of the three archangels: Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. Remember to say hi to them, and thank them for everything they do. Angels are so amazingly cool, and I’m thrilled that someone else caught the bug because of my book.