Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Josephine Angelini Interview

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…and she can still drive a tractor. Starcrossed is her first novel.

Thanks to the wonderful MyKindaBook, I recently had the chance to interview the lovely Jospehine Angelini, the author of Starcrossed - here are her answers:

1. Do you think that there are any famous people, dead or alive, who may be demigods? If so, who and which House do you think they belong to?
(I’ll stick to the House of Thebes in this answer so that I don’t give anything about DREAMLESS or the other Houses away.)
I think Brad Pitt looks like he would be from the House of Thebes—definitely. And since the House of Thebes is descended from Apollo, and Apollo was the god of music and art, I’ll also have to say that someone with musical talent like Justin Timberlake would fit in nicely. For girls I would say Jennifer Lawrence and Taylor Swift. In fact, I bet Taylor Swift is secretly a demigod. Someone should check on that.

2. Why do you think we still read and enjoy the Ancient Greek myths of gods, heroes and monsters that are over two thousand years old?

Because they’re awesome stories! They’ve got everything… action, love, suspense, and end-of-the-world stakes. But what I find most appealing are the complicated characters, none of them are all good or all bad. Hercules is generally considered a hero, but he murdered his wife and children in a fit of madness. Medusa is a man-killing monster, but her petrifying face was actually a curse put on her by Athena even though Medusa didn’t do anything to deserve it.
The Greeks weren’t afraid to ask some morally ambiguous questions. They understood that good people do dark things sometimes, and that even monsters were not all bad. I think this makes more intuitive sense to people than flawless heroes who always do the right thing or evil villains that are so evil it’s kind of silly.
The ancient stories still speak to us today because even though they are mostly about gods and monsters, the characters in Greek myths are entirely human.

3. I’m assuming that you’ve read the Harry Potter books here – what house do you think you'd get sorted into if you went to Hogwarts?

I’ve read all the Harry Potter books about a gazillion times, but you know what? I’ve never thought about which House I’d be in if I were at Hogwarts. I’d like to say Gryffindor or Ravenclaw because they’re where the cool kids go, but if I’m going to be honest, I’d probably end up in looser Hufflepuff. I’m more of a hard worker than anything else, so yeah. It’d be me out in the greenhouse with Professor Sprout. Shoveling manure.

4. Greek mythology is obviously a very important aspect of Starcrossed, and I’m sure you have caused a great many more people to be interested in it, but how did Greek mythology first pique your interest? Also, how much research did you have to do to make Starcrossed as accurate and detailed as it is?

I’ve always loved the Greek myths. I am a big fan of fantasy and science fiction, and to me the Greek myths always seemed like the great grandmother of those genres. I love all the old stories about gods, heroes and monsters. I think they are so exciting.
I was a classical theater major at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, so I had studied all the ancient Greek plays and a lot of Shakespeare. This material is very familiar to me, and like they say, “Write what you know”. Of course, I had to do a lot of refreshing… going through my Edith Hamilton, making sure I had the lineage of this hero or that god straight… but I didn’t have to do that much real research. Everything I needed was on my bookshelf or already in my head.

5. Can you give any hints as to what Dreamless will involve?

Yeah I can! I’m so excited for you all to read it. I’m serious, I have to keep reminding myself not to spill the beans every time I talk about it because I am that anxious for it to get out into the world!
Okay, DREAMLESS is darker and grittier. Part of it is set in the Underworld, so it gets a little spooky in some places. There is more action in this book than there was in STARCROSSED, and there’s a new Scion for you to meet! His name is Orion, and I have a feeling that everyone is going to like him.

6. I’m sure you get asked this all the time, but do you have any advice for anyone aspiring to be an author or attempting to get published?

I sure do. Patience is your best friend. In this era of insta-fame and overnight sensations on YouTube, everyone seems to think that if success doesn’t come right away than it won’t ever happen. This is dead wrong.
There’s a saying in the arts… “She/he was a seven year overnight success story”. What this means is that on the outside, a lot of people that make it seem to achieve success in a flash, but that’s almost never the case. Most of the artists that I know that have been successful have struggled for years (for some strange reason it’s usually seven years but no one knows why) before they get any recognition. I’m no exception to this. I wrote for years before people actually started paying me to do it.
I urge any young writer to really think about what seven years means, and to just stick with it! Really. If you love to write, don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen right away. Keep going, keep writing, and keep trying to better yourself as an artist.
You’ll get there.

To read the rest of the interview, please head over to MyKindaBook.

Thank you so much to Josie for taking the time to answer my questions, and to MKB for the opportunity!
The brilliant Starcrossed is available to buy now, with the sequel, Dreamless, coming out Summer 2012


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