Thursday, August 4, 2011

Interview with Josephine Angelini

The BookNerds were very excited to read Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini.  The love for Helen and Lucas runs strong from the BookNerds. We were even more excited when we were granted an interview from Josephine herself. 

Beside Greek Mythology, how did you come up with the character Helen?

A lot of hard work!  I spend a lot of time writing character biographies and outlining the plot of my story before I start.  Most of my characters are based on real people, but then they grow and change as I ask and answer a whole list of questions like:  What are her favorite hobbies?  Is she the kind of girl who would go out for cheering or does she run track, play field hockey, or basketball?  I answer tons of questions that never even make it into the story just so that I get real sense of the character I’m writing about.

Who is your favorite Greek Mythology God and why?

The BookNerds would love to thank Josephine Angelini for taking the time out her very busy schedule to answer our questions.  We will be looking forward to Book 2 soon!

I go back and forth on this one a lot.  I usually say Dionysus because he seems like a blast.  The guy could really party and he loved a good play, like me.  On the other hand, he didn’t pick his friends too well.  He hung out with goat men and crazy women that tore animals apart with their bare hands.  That’s not really my thing. 

There are a lot of lesser gods and goddesses that I think are interesting—like Nike.  On of my all time favorite statues from antiquity is the Nike of Samothrace at the Louvre.  I think it’s just gorgeous. 

Who is Your favorite character in the book and why?

If I had to pick a favorite I guess it has to be Helen.  She has the most interesting character arc.  She starts out terribly shy because of a curse that her mother put on her.  As soon as she starts to understand that she isn’t a freak, she learns to accept herself and all the amazing things she can do.  I think a lot of people can appreciate this learning process, especially teen-agers.  So many people at that age are made to feel like that the things that make them special are wrong in some way, and it takes a while to unlearn that and come into their power.

What inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always written.  When I was ten years old my big sister Mary Francis gave me a journal for my birthday.  It was called “A Writer’s Journal” and at the top of every page was a bit of advice or inspiration.  Mary Francis told me to write in as often as I could, and I did.  In fact, I wrote in it every day.  I don’t know what she saw in me all the way back then, but I’m glad she did.  It took me years to build enough confidence to admit to myself that my journal writing hobby was more than a hobby and that I wanted to be a writer as a profession, but better late than never, right?

Why do you think retelling Greek Tales with a modern twist has become so popular in YA Books today?

I think people have always written retellings of the ancient Greek myths; it’s just now the publishing world is actually buying those manuscripts and turning them into books!  The body of work that the Greeks left behind is impossible to ignore, and it’s kind of hard not to borrow something Greek when you want to write something epic.  Shakespeare used Greek themes in his plays, and even some Greek heroes, like Theseus (In Midsummer).  The Greeks never completely go out of style, but sometimes, like now, they are more “in” than at other times.