I decided to do something I’ve never done before in this blog. An author interview. ooOooo!! Very exciting!
I just reviewed Lili St. Crow’s new book, Strange Angels (link to wordpress / LJ) and I sent her some questions about the series and some general questions about being an author. She reveals some interesting information about the rest of the series, plus talks about being an author who uses plenty of profanity (hehe), and I think it gives people an idea of what to expect from this series. Thank you for answering my questions Lili.
Read on for more.
Strange Angels questions:
Please tell us something about Strange Angels. How would you describe this book?
It’s like Supernatural meets Buffy, plus Appalachian folk magic and Eastern European folklore, plus a soupcon of Vampire Hunter D. Dru Anderson, our heroine, has been traveling around with her dad, killing things that go bump in the night. When her dad shows up as a zombie, suddenly she’s on her own–and all the secrets her parents never told her start crowding in. The things she and her dad hunted start hunting back.
The scene with Dru at the beginning of the book with the zombie had a lot of suspense and I had to reassure myself that she’ll be ok because there would be no book otherwise. It reminded me of good horror movies where you’re freaking out along with the person on the screen. Are you a big zombie horror movie fan and if so do you have any favorites?
I’m not a huge zombie buff. I’ve seen Romero’s movies, sure, and I watched Shawn of the Dead and Planet Terror like everyone else. My favorite horror movies tend to include more vampires than zombies, because I’m fascinated by the polymorphous aspect of the vampire myth.
The scene with Dru and the zombie was in the very first bit of the book I had done, and when I was asked to do some YA I sent that along, so the editor would kind of see what they were dealing with. To be honest I expected there to be trouble over it, because it is such a troubling scene. But that is the kind of writer I am, and I wanted it up-front. I wanted to say, this is what we’re dealing with here, there is real risk and real danger. Without real danger to the character, horror just isn’t…well, frightening.
The werewulfen and zombies and other creatures in this book are familiar yet different. For example the zombies turn to dust after being “killed”. What’s your favorite otherworldly creature and why?
There are so many otherworldy creatures! I don’t know if I can pick a favorite; they are a feast for a writer. Certainly the creature I’m most fascinated with is the vampire. The permutations and changes of the vampire as each generation starts playing with bloodsucking as a metaphor are something I find fascinating. People’s vampires tell you a lot about them, a lot about how they view the world and what they’re scared of.
I noticed that for Strange Angels, you use the name Lili St. Crow and I’ve seen you as Lilith Saintcrow on other titles. Is this to distinguish your young adult books from adult ones?
Yes. I’m a fairly prolific writer, and we wanted to be clear that these books weren’t part of my adult oeuvre, so to speak.
How did deciding to write a young adult series come about? Was it just a natural progression – the next story you wanted to tell happened to be young adult, or was it more planned – you wanted to try your hand at it? And how different is it writing adult versus young adult?
I actually never thought I would be writing in the young adult. My work has plenty of profanity and plenty of troublesome themes that I thought would mean I’d never get close to writing anything for younger readers. But…I was asked if I had anything that might do for a young adult book, and I had the first few chapters of Strange Angels lying around. It was something I was very interested in, because I could tell the rest of the story was there, but I hadn’t had time to work on it yet.
So I sent those first few chapters off and started working on it full-time, and next thing I knew we had a contract for a series. And I was terrified. I’d never written young adult before, and part of the process was me calling the editor and saying, “You’ve read what I write, right? You know I put the F-word in things, right? You know characters are going to die, right?” And she was fine with that. That was why they’d asked me, as a matter of fact.
So I was still terrified, but I decided to just barge in and do it. Nothing ever gets done if you’re too afraid to make a move. Besides, I feel very strongly that if I show up consistently to take dictation, the Muse won’t let me down. My job is to be available for the words, and the words will take care of the rest.
For fans of Strange Angels – any influences? Are there authors or books you’d recommend for young adult readers?
Of course the first few episodes of Supernatural and the first two seasons of Buffy were huge influences, as well as Vampire Hunter D and Manly Wade Wellman’s Silver John books and short stories. And Dru and her father listened to a lot of classic rock, so I’m rediscovering classic rock stations now, and music I listened to in my childhood since it was the only thing the whole family could agree on. The music is a huge part of my creative process.
When I was younger, I read omnivorously. I particularly enjoyed Stephen King, Alice Hoffman, LJ Smith, Robin McKinley, Anne McCaffrey, early Mercedes Lackey, and of course all the Algernon Blackwood, Robert Aikman, and Tanith Lee I could get my hands on. That’s not a bad lineup of authors, I think.
Strange Angels is the start of a series – do you have an idea how many books this series will be?
Right now there’s three in the series, with the possibility of another two books later. That’s about as far as it would be possible to tell Dru’s story.
Any hints you want to give us about what to expect in the second book? When will it be out and what will it be called?
The book will be out in November ’09, and it’s called Betrayals. We have two first kisses, lots of fight scenes, burning buildings, a car chase, and treachery. In other words, I had a lot of fun.
It seems to me that you are a prolific writer – the Dante Valentine series of five books all came out within two years and then you started the Jill Kismet series and I’ve seen books from you at other publishers (The Demon’s Librarian which I want to read, and Steelflower..amongst others). You must be very busy! Tell us something about your day to day schedule.
My day is pretty boring. Get up, make breakfast for the kids, tend to correspondence and the weblog. Make lunch, settle down to writing between the other minutiae of childrearing and keeping the house from sinking into chaos. Make dinner, clean up, go back to writing. Put kids in bed, then write until about midnight. Go to bed around 1AM. Get up in the morning and do it again.
See? Boring. Most days I don’t even leave the house.
I really liked Selene and Nikolai when they were first introduced in the Dante Valentine series and then reading the serialized novel “Selene” online. Are you planning to continue their story from where “Selene” leaves off?
Eventually, yes. I know what happens next. The problem is time–I literally have no time for discretionary projects at the moment.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for asking me! That about covers it. Thank you very much.