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Author Interview: Josephine Angelini

Monday, July 11, 2011
Today, we have Josephine Angelini here to talk a little about her debut novel Starcrossed and writing in general.

How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

Starcrossed is the first book that I read where the two main characters have an urge to kill each other. How did you come up with this idea?
The way that I set up the plot, how the Houses are set against each other and goaded to fight each other by the Furies, a violent encounter was inevitable.  There simply was no other way for Lucas and Helen’s first meeting to go down.

I don’t reverse-engineer my stories.  What I mean by that is that I know some writers will picture a very dramatic scene and then they try to find a way to devise a plot, or tweak the plot they have, in order to make that scene happen.  I think this can cause a lot of problems, because sometimes a writer is so in love with a scene they’ll try to force it to fit, even if it doesn’t make total sense.

No matter how cool a scene might be, that doesn’t mean that it belongs in a story.

What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always written.  I’ve kept a journal since I was ten and I wrote in it pretty much every day.  It took me a long time to go from writing for myself to trying to write for a living, though.  I was so in awe of writers that I never thought I’d be good enough to be one of them.

Then I just got over it.  Seriously.  I stopped being so hard on myself and gave it a shot.  The worst thing that could happen would be that I would fail, which in my opinion is way better than not trying at all.

There are so many stories about starcrossed loves out there. Why do you think starcrossed love stories haven’t gone out of style?
I think it’s a combination of delayed gratification for the reader (because star-crossed lovers take forever to get together) and the notion that a love you have to work so hard for, and sacrifice so much to get, seems like a “bigger” love.

Plus, if there are no obstacles for two lovers to overcome then there isn’t really a story.  That’d be a short book—boy meets girls, the fall madly in love, everyone is thrilled that they are together, the end.  Granted, this is the way true love really is nearly all of the time, but it just doesn’t fill pages, ya’ know?

What are your writing quirks?
I have no problem talking to myself at the gym when I’m trying to figure out character dialogue.  I think about my stories when I work out, and sometimes I have complete conversations with myself while I’m on the elliptical machine.  I whisper, so I don’t bother anyone, but I do get a lot of strange looks.

My husband is used to it.  But he still works out on the other side of the room with I do cardio!

If you could talk to the main characters of Starcrossed, what would you tell them?
I’d say, “I’m so, so sorry.  I know you hate me right about now because of all the horrendous things I’m doing to you, but keep your chin up because… well, I probably shouldn’t sugar coat it.  It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.  But I promise that it will work out…for some of you.”

Any advice to aspiring authors?

Keep at it!  I was very lucky to get my first novel published, but for years I was trying to write screenplays—none of which got bought.  So don’t get discouraged, just keep writing.
Thanks for taking the time to join us here!

Josephine's Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Josephine Angelini is a Massachusetts native and the youngest of eight siblings. A real-live farmer's daughter, Josie graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in theater, with a focus on the classics. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

Related Posts: my review of Starcrossed:

4 comments on "Author Interview: Josephine Angelini"
  1. Great interview. Josephine's advice to other authors is so true. I've heard good things about this and it's on my list of books to read.

  2. Wow this is a great interview! You are so luck to have got to have done this! I love her books!

  3. OMG I just got this book in the mail today and an soo excited to read it :D

  4. LOL @ Talking to herself at the gym and her husband not claiming her when she does it. She seems like a fun person, and I love her books!


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