Last time I promised I’d talk a little bit about the differences between the first and latest drafts of The Angelic Debt, so here we go.

Honestly, there aren’t that many, but the first thing that changes was the opening chapter. It always started with the crash and Thomas’ death, but in the original draft the opening line was less blunt, talking instead about who he was and what he was doing, before the “At the age of 27 he discovered he was wrong”.

It was pointed out to me by an old university friend and author who read the first draft, that it would be a stronger opening line to start with, then work backwards to discuss what Thomas was wrong about. He was right, and although I resisted initially, when I had a go at rewriting the opening few paragraphs, I realised I would be stupid not to change it. Thanks John!

Another thing that changed between drafts was Thomas’ surname. He was originally Finnegan, for no reason other than I liked the rhythm of Tho-mas-Finn-e-gan, but it was always intended as a temporary name I would go back and change at some point. A couple of friends who read the first draft said it sounded “too Irish”, and not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it was never my intention to make him from an Irish background.

In the end, I was driving to work and passed a road sign with Allerton on it while I was trying to think of an alternative surname. I liked it, and realised the syllable rhythm would match, so Thomas Finnegan became Thomas Allerton.

The other major change was the design of Hell. Originally, it was a desolate landscape of shale and black rock, similar to the Gustave Dore scenes from Paradise Lost. One piece of feedback wisely pointed out that we’ve seen that idea of Hell before in countless films, comic books, paintings and illustrations, so why not try something else.

We bounced a few ideas around in the pub, and the idea of ruined towns and cities was raised, perhaps the ruins of peoples’ individual Paradises, that sort of thing. I liked it, and went back to the Hell chapters to change the landscape.

Those are the main changes really, much of the rest was simply tweaking little phrases and bits of language and continuity here and there, but that’s not to say that if there’s another, expanded draft in future there won’t be more. I’ve had a few ideas, not really much more than starting points, but if there’s love there for this edition, maybe in a year or so I’ll revisit and try to improve it further.

I’ve always liked and hated Director’s Cuts equally, so I’m aware I might have to offer more than just an expanded page count, but it’s still a long way off, there’s time to work something out to make it worth ‘double dipping’ for those of you kind enough to buy a copy!


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