Josephine Angelini is the author of the hottest new YA romance, Starcrossed, which was released today, May 31 2011.
Lauren Kate, author of the bestselling paranormal romance Fallen, said that Starcrossed is 'a gorgeous, haunting saga'. So what does the author herself think about all this? Well, now she's come to Ramblings of a Teenage Novelist to give us an exclusive interview!
Ramblings: Starcrossed is a mixture of paranormal romance and Greek mythology. Where did you get the inspiration to use the Greek gods and the Trojan war as a springboard?
Josie: I saw a copy of The Iliad sitting right next to a copy of Romeo and Juliet on my bookshelf and asked my husband if he’d ever heard of anyone trying to mash up those two stories and tell it from a teen point of view. When his eyes lit up and he got all quiet, I knew I’d hit
Ramblings: Helen is a down-to-earth, shy and fun character - one that lots of teenage girls can relate to. Did any of your own personality leak into hers?
Josie: There is a little bit of me in all of my characters. But no, I’m not really a shy person! I am tall, though, and I did leak that into Helen.
Ramblings: Lots of writers talk about their 'inner editor'. Do you have one? How vocal is it? And how do you balance the editor and author in you?
Josie: Wow, an inner editor? One that can spell and everything? That would be awesome! See, I’m rotten at grammar and I tend to use run-on sentences and I never know what the heck to do with my commas. I think I need an inner editor, but I don’t think I have one. Unfortunately.
Ramblings: Do you have any quirky writing habits? Do you always write in the same room, or on the same type of paper, or while eating? Do you have a ritual to get you in the writing mood?
Josie: I have a system, for sure. Writers are creatures of habit and I think that’s because writing is this really weird semi-trance state that needs a ritual to attain. Now, before you think I’m getting all New Age on you, let me explain.
Creativity of any kind requires a certain level of concentration that is beyond the concentration it takes to, say, wash dishes or do laundry. I know this because I do laundry and wash dishes every day. I also write every day, and I’m pretty sure that if you hooked up one of those brain scan thing-ies to my head while I wrote you would see a totally unique pattern.
That kind of concentration takes preparation, and even some kind of ritual. Cats work for me. Cats and coffee. One to pep me up, and the other to calm me down. Plus, there’s something about a cat’s eyes, slitted in laziness, that makes me chill out and concentrate.
Ramblings: There's talk of a film of Starcrossed being made. Who would be your ideal cast? What scene would you be most excited about seeing on the big screen?
Josie: What the…? Okay, I’m not thinking about a movie at all. In fact, I’ve made up my mind to hold on to the film rights for the time being. I’m thinking about the books. I love books and I think they get better when you focus on them and not the movie that someone else wants to make out of them. No movie for me. Not until I’m done writing and I have exactly the story that I want to tell on paper.
Ramblings: So far, there are four different covers to Starcrossed. See them here. Do you have a favourite and why?
Josie: Picking favorites is so dangerous! Trust me, I know this because I’m the youngest of eight kids, and I know for a fact that any time you praise one of your children, you’re pretty much telling all the others that they suck.
So I love all my “children” book covers.
Ramblings: Are any of your characters based on real people?
Josie: Yes, and in some cases I didn’t even bother to change the name. Mr. Hergesheimer was my AP English teacher in high school. He and I fought constantly, usually over the merits of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway. I was so upset when I heard he had died. “Hergie” was a huge inspiration for me, and that’s why I had to put him in my book.
Ramblings: Some people are inspired by music, personal experience, or stories in the news. What grabs you and makes you want to write?
Josie: Hot boys. They inspire me like crazy.
Ramblings: How much have books like Twilight influenced your writing, do you think? Do you feel that Starcrossed takes the paranormal romance genre in a new direction?
Josie: I think Twilight defined Paranormal Romance, and every book in this genre from now on will be compared to it—until someone comes along and breaks all those rules.
It’s like Die Hard. In the early 90’s, every action movie was compared to Die Hard, borrowed from Die Hard, tried to break the Die Hard weekend sales record. Heck, most action movies couldn’t even get made unless they had Bruce Willis attached to begin with. Then The Matrix came out and redefined action movies as a genre.
I don’t think I wrote the YA equivalent of The Matrix yet, but I’ll keep trying.
Ramblings: You've described yourself as 'Cinderella' in a 'rags to riches' fairytale. Any advice for we authors still at the 'rags' stage?
Josie: Yes, I do.
My dear friend Matt Mitchell left one bit of wisdom in my yearbook when we graduated. It was a quote from The Doors. Here it is… “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep. And I have miles to go before I sleep. Miles to go before I sleep.” Then he wrote “Never sleep, Josie.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve repeated those lines in my head. When you’re in rags, living hand to mouth and just struggling to pay rent, the whole world is a deep dark forest. But you won’t get out of it if you lay down and fall asleep.
Keep going. You’ll find the path out of the woods—but only if you keep your eyes open and keep your feet moving.
Ramblings: Thank you so much, Josie!
You can reach Josephine Angelini's personal site and related sites here:
What do you think of Starcrossed? Tell us in a comment below!