Madison Andrews can’t face her reflection in the mirror. All she sees is a big, fat nobody. Yet, deep inside she longs for something more, something that’s not skin deep.
Along comes Zach, the new guy in school. He’s smoking hot and totally out of her league. She somehow catches his eye, and he makes her feel beautiful for once. But just as she gets close to Zach, her nerdy best friend, Chase, won’t let Madison doubt her true beauty, no matter how many meals she skips.
Even as Madison begins to realize that she is more than she thinks, darker forces are at work, darker than the lies and mocking from her peers, stopping her from amounting to her full potential. Can Madison find true happiness in her own skin?
When I first started writing Entertaining Angels, I never really knew the impact that it would have on me and a few others who have read the novel. I had hoped that it would touch lives, but the fact that it has, has been a dream come true!
I guess it would help to explain the reasoning behind writing Entertaining Angels. It started as a novel that I had hoped would only be a sweet little young adult romance novel. I was tired of writing murders, suspenses, and thrillers. Not that they aren’t fun, I just didn’t want to have to kill anyone for at least one more novel, so I set out to writing Entertaining Angels.
It wasn’t supposed to be as impactful as it is, though. It was only supposed to be a light read. This, however, turned out to be something that would hopefully touch the lives and hearts of readers and somehow change the way they saw themselves in the mirror. I know it was very emotional for me to write.
For years, I had struggled with looking at myself in the mirror from the neck down. I didn’t like what I saw. My hips were too wide; my stomach too big; my legs were too chunky and white; and I had flabby arms. The only good thing I ever saw about myself was my bright blue eyes. If someone asked me my best feature, that’s what I’d tell them. Back then, I didn’t even like my brown curly hair! (Such a tragedy!)
It all started when I was in the fourth grade, I think. I know I was in
Elementary school. I was walking down the hallway at school when two older girls started snickering and calling me fat. It was then I started labeling myself as fat and seeing myself as a fat, ugly girl that no one could ever love. Mind you, this was second grade. I was only around eight or nine.
I carried that extra burden around with me, doing diets that always failed, trying to lose weight and make myself beautiful. It never occurred to me that beauty wasn’t determined by others. It was determined by me.
So, I did everything that I could to make myself beautiful. I didn’t even bother telling the guys I had crushes on that I liked them because I knew they’d never bother dating a “fatty.” So, I didn’t date much during high school. I despised my looks so much that I figured everyone else did, too. I mean, they made fun of me. I knew they did whether they said it to my face or not.
It wasn’t until college that I truly began realizing how beautiful I was. I had met this guy who I completely adored (and still do!) two years into my college years. He would tell me how beautiful I was, and I’d just say ‘thank you’ and shrug him off. I mean, who could ever find me beautiful? I never believed him, and I think that hurt him. So, I tried to believe for him. I really did. I wanted to believe that there were people out there who could find me beautiful, even when I couldn’t see it. He’d tell me constantly how beautiful I was, and eventually, I started seeing it a little bit. But, I’d always fall back into my depression, hating my body, hating myself for looking the way I did.
Eventually, God spoke to me through a song. I was driving home from my cousin’s house one night. I had been over there talking about how I felt. I was distraught, and I hated my size. I felt ugly and worthless and like I could never find someone who would love me for who I was, even if I was still fat.
MercyMe’s “Beautiful” came on the radio at that time. (Let me say, during this time, I rarely listened to Christian music although I am a Christian. I just didn’t listen to it much, so when I had it on this station, it was a rare, but not a coincidental, thing.) While listening to that song, it was like God was telling me that I shouldn’t call myself ugly because I was created by Him and He doesn’t create ugly things. He only makes beautiful things. I am a child of God, and it was something that He wanted me to know.
Now, fast forward close to four years later, and that moment hasn’t left me. It’s a constant reminder when I look at myself in the mirror that God wants me to know how beautiful I am. So, I began looking at myself with new eyes. I started seeing the things that were beautiful about me. It’s a work in progress, but I’m getting better.
How does this apply to Entertaining Angels?
I’ve said many times that Madison is essentially me, and she is because I drew from that story above to tell Madison’s. She hates herself as much as I hated myself. She’s teased, almost in the same way that I was teased. She can’t see her own worth, just like I couldn’t see mine. But, it’s always God’s will that we DO see how beautiful we are, so in order to share my story and how much that God loves us and how much that we should see our own worth, I wrote my story through Madison’s eyes. Yes, there are many different things about Madison’s story compared to mine, but still, I hope that in reading about my Mads, people will learn to loves themselves. We shouldn’t have to conform to bullies’ opinions about ourselves. We are loved for who we are, and if others can’t see that, then it’s their problem, not ours. Our problem is that we don’t love ourselves nearly enough, and it’s time that that changed. That’s why I’ve written Entertaining Angels. I bore my soul so that others could learn the lesson that I had to learn.
About Emerald Barnes
Emerald Barnes graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women. She resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She mainly writes suspense/thrillers in the YA genre, but she dabbles in other genres and her books are enjoyed by all ages!
She’s constantly working on new novels and has more ideas than she knows what to do with. She is a crazy grammar nazi who also proofreads novels!
She’s an auntie to three beautiful nieces and two handsome nephews. She’s a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number one in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.