Danielle Trussoni – Interview & Giveaway
Sidhe Vicious welcomes author Danielle Trussoni! We’re looking forward to getting to know you and all about your novel ANGELOLOGY.
Thank you! I’m really glad to be here.
Your novel, ANGELOLOGY will be released on March 9th, 2010 by Viking Penguin Group. Can you tell us about it and a bit about the main characters?
Angelology is a novel that follows a group of angelologists—scholars who track and study various kinds of angels—as they work to contain the machinations of the Nephilim, half-human, half-angel creatures who are first mentioned in Genesis: 6 of the Bible. The story moves through various times and settings, going from contemporary New York, to 1940s Paris to ancient Bulgaria. The heroine is a young woman named Evangeline who becomes enmeshed in this struggle. There is also a young man named Verlaine who begins to uncover the central mystery of the novel.
What about Angels inspired you to write about them?
Actually, I didn’t set out to write about angels at all. I knew that I wanted to set some of the story in a convent and so I went to stay in one to do research. While there, I happened upon a reading room with books about angels. I knew then that angels would be an ideal centerpiece for the novel.
You’re currently living in the south of France doing research for the sequel to Angelology. Can you tell us about the new book?
Angelopolis is a love story between Evangeline and Verlaine set in Paris. There are forays to the south of France, especially the Bay of Angels in Nice.
How did you get your start in writing? What, if anything, lit the “spark” to get you started and keep you motivated?
I’ve been writing regularly since high school, when I kept very meticulous journals. I knew I wanted to write from a very young age, however, and so I have no real idea what inspired me to want to write. I think that it was something I was born to do.
Worldwide, there is a Twilight craze, and your book features a love affair between a Nephilim and a human. What do you think it is about fantastical fiction that appeals to readers so much? Where do you think ANGELOLOGY fits in with this trend?
I think the invitation to imagine a new world is irresistible for many readers and when this is combined with romance—which is a complete construction of our desire anyway—it can be even more seductive. ANGELOLOGY is (in my opinion) really different from Twilight, but there is still the obsession with otherness and desire in ANGELOLOGY, and there is definitely the element of fantasy mixed into a seemingly ‘normal’ world.
As research for this novel, you stayed in the convent of Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse, WI where your great aunt is a nun. What was that experience like?
It was a wonderful, completely educational experience. The Sisters at St. Rose in La Crosse were generous with their time and allowed me to interview them. I was there before I had any real notion of what I would write, and yet they very openly allowed me to visit.
What supernatural power or creature would you most like to have or be?
I would love to be immortal and without physical substance, sort of like an angel, I suppose.
If you could choose one fictional character to bring into real life, who would you choose?
Orlando. Or Heathcliff. I can’t decide.
How have the books you’ve read influenced the books you write?
I think the books that influenced me the most were 19th century novels and, when I start to pull apart the structure of ANGELOLOGY, I can see that I was very much influenced by them. I love descriptive writing and larger than life characters, all of which are hallmarks of the 19th century novel.
What do you do when you’re having writer’s block to “shake” it off?
I force myself to sit in front of my computer until I actually write something. Usually I end up throwing this out, but it will get me started. Or I eat a lot of chocolate.
ANGELOLOGY visits many different locations: a picturesque convent on the Hudson River Valley, the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the streets of Paris and the mountains of Bulgaria. What was your favourite location and did you visit them to write about them?
Yes, I did visit them all, even the cave in Bulgaria. It is strange, because I love all three of these locations for different reasons. I can’t decide which is my favourite. I guess it would depend upon my mood.
How much of the book is rooted in fact and where did you let your imagination take flight?
I very purposely blurred the lines between fiction and fantasy in ANGELOLOGY. I chose characters such as Abigail Rockefeller and settings which many people are familiar with. I also have tried to create the sense that Angelology is a living breathing practice. Medieval theologians actually created angelologies–or systems of classification for angels– and were genuinely practicing the study of angels, but in our day and age it is difficult to imagine such a thing happening. In reality, it isn’t. But by creating a structure and an academy of angelology, and placing my angelologists in real settings, I hoped to draw readers into belief. One example of this is a website I’ve created: www.angelologist.com. You can learn a lot about the world of angelology on this site.
Here is an easy checklist of fact/ fiction:
ANGELOLOGY–Real although I changed its meaning and made it an on-going practice
DEVIL’S THROAT–Real. One can visit it in Bulgaria. The legends about Orpheus are also really in circulation.
ABIGAIL ROCKEFELLER–Real, although I’ve re-imagined her and made her an angelologist.
ATHENEAUM, ACADEMY OF ANGELOLOGY, PARIS—False. Fiction
NEPHILIM–Real in the Bible, so it depends upon whether one thinks the bible is fictional or not.
Saint Rose Convent–False, but modeled on a real Saint Rose Convent in La Crosse, WI
Are any of your characters particularly fun or easy for you to write? Any that are more difficult?
I loved writing from the perspective of Brother Clematis, a 10th century Thracian monk. I also loved writing from the point of view of Gabriella, one of the toughest angelologists around.
Do you have any tips for aspiring speculative fiction writers?
Make your alternate world or reality as strong as possible.
Thank you for giving me this great interview Danielle. It was a pleasure getting to know about you and your novel, Angelology!
The wonderful publicity people at Viking/Penguin have generously offered one reader a signed copy of Angelology! Giveaway is open to USA & Canada only.
Question: Do you believe in Angels? Have you ever had an experience? Do tell.
For one entry: Please leave a comment with the answer to the question. (+1 entry)
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- Post a link to this contest on your Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace, GoodReads, LibraryThing, or on your blog and send me the link either in the comments or by email and you’ll get an extra entry for each place you add a link to. (+? entries, insert however many links you’ve done)
- Contest is open to USA & Canada and will run through March 17thth until 11:59pm. The winners will be posted here on March 18th. Please leave your email addy in your comment for me to contact you if you’ve won. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 7 days, a new winner will be drawn from the eligible comments. Winners will be chosen by a random number generator. Good Luck everyone!
(I should also mention that if you’re leaving me a bunch of links in your comment, do not panic if it doesn’t show up right away. It just automatically gets held for me to moderate, which I will as soon as I’m online. )