A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to read and review what is likely going to be one of the really big YA books in the lead up to Christmas. Since then I’ve had the delight to chat with the author over email and put together this interview for part of the blog tour to promote the book’s release on October 1st.
L.A. Weatherly: I’m originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, and have lived in the UK for 15 years now. I live in Hampshire with my husband Peter and cat Bernard (the cat likes Pete better than me!), and have lots and lots of books.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, from the time I was a very little girl, so I feel extremely lucky that I actually get paid for it and can do it full time.
I’m also sadly addicted to my iPhone.
L.A. Weatherly: The premise of the world is that angels, far from being benign and compassionate beings, are actually alien creatures who are preying on humanity. Alex is a 17 year old Angel Killer, part of a covert CIA group who’s one of the few who knows the truth about angels in our world. He’s been trained from childhood to hunt down and kill angels.
Willow is a 16 year old psychic misfit, thought of as ‘Queen Weird’ by her peers in the small New York town where she’s from. Unbeknownst to her when the story begins, she’s actually a half-angel…and might be the key to destroying the angels once and for all.
When Alex is ordered to kill Willow, he realises that all is not what it seems. An epic road trip follows, where they must somehow avoid being killed while they try to work out why the angels want Willow dead…and along the way, the hunter and the hunted find themselves falling in love.
L.A. Weatherly: Yes, definitely! From the very start when I first conceived this story years ago, the one thing that I was absolutely certain was going to happen was that Alex would kidnap Willow to take her to New Mexico to speak to Cully, his old mentor. You will note a distinct lack of kidnapping in the finished book! The characters went along with it when I tried to write it, but so sullenly that I realised that element just wasn’t working. (They were right, as it turned out!)
L.A. Weatherly: Heh, revenge on my characters, excellent!
Willow’s is that when she was 7, she was being bullied by the popular girls in her class. She used her psychic skills to find out the ringleader’s secrets, and exposed one of these secrets to everyone in the class, freaking the bully out and stopping the behaviour immediately. She was probably justified, but as she got older she felt really guilty about it, and made a point of never betraying anything that she found out psychically since.
Alex’s is that when he and Jake were 9 and 11, they used to play stupid pranks on the other AKs at the camp, and one of these resulted in someone having a minor accident. They tried to hide their involvement and were found out, which got them into severe trouble from their father. Alex can laugh about it now, but for some months afterwards he felt pretty annoyed at Jake, who was very much the ringleader, even though Alex got half the blame.
L.A. Weatherly: I love Jonah as a character. He sees himself as being spineless, but he actually has the moral courage to pursue questions even when he doesn’t want to know the answers, and then to take action about them. I find him especially intriguing because (minor spoiler alert!) he was actually meant to die at the end of book 1. He completely refused to, and (another minor spoiler alert!) is now in both books 2 and 3, becoming a fairly major character as the series goes on. He has a really interesting story arc ahead of him, and I’m very glad that he insisted on sticking around!
L.A. Weatherly: I rented that office for about a year or so, and it worked well for that particular time in my life (and had a gorgeous view!). But I got to the point where I realised that I’d prefer working from home – after all, one of the perks of being a writer is that you can stay in your pyjamas all day if you want (anyone who follows me on Twitter is aware of my propensity for doing this!). So we had the spare room made into an office for me instead, and I do most of my writing there now.
L.A. Weatherly: Fairly tidy, actually. Much more so than the rest of the house. I don’t like having distractions around me when I write. And coffee, not tea – I’m American. 😉
L.A. Weatherly: I’m pretty disciplined, and try to write a certain number of words per day. I can also get very obsessed when I’m working on a big project, and am prone to writing at strange hours of the night. I love writing at three in the morning, for instance, when the world is asleep and there are no distractions at all.
The most rewarding aspect of writing for me is when my characters take life and say and do things that I didn’t expect, but which are just so right; much better than anything I could have planned. The same thing happens with storylines sometimes, where threads weave themselves together in perfect ways I couldn’t have predicted. When it’s going well, there’s definitely a sort of magic to writing. (Let’s not talk about when it doesn’t go well!)
L.A. Weatherly: Well, first of all, all writers are mad, including me, so this is going to be a hell of a lunch party! 😉 Seriously, I would probably choose some of my actual real-life writing friends. Linda Chapman and Julie Sykes, in particular, keep me sane on a daily basis (and were also the first readers of Angel!)
However, if I were limited to authors who I don’t know or who aren’t living anymore, I’d love to meet L.M. Montgomery, whose books I devoured as a child. And can I include screenwriters? If so, I’d definitely include Billy Wilder; I love his work, and bet he had some amazing stories to tell about Hollywood in its heyday. Hemmingway would also be fascinating to meet, though I think he was probably more of a ‘pub crawl’ author than a lunch around the kitchen table type!
L.A. Weatherly: What I’ll say is that the story has an urban setting, and that there are some new characters being introduced – one in particular who I’ve been dying to write about since I first conceived the series. There are also some major surprises in store for Alex and Willow, who are going to find both themselves and their love for each other tested in ways they never imagined.
In the bit I just wrote today, Willow is thinking of a line she learned in her English class about ‘the best-laid plans of mice and men’ … and wondering uneasily if the same is true of the best-laid plans of men and half-angels.
L.A. Weatherly: Thank you!! And thank you for the interesting questions, it’s been a pleasure. Nothing else to share, but a huge thank you as well to everyone taking part in the blog tour, and also to Usborne, who have just been amazing!
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd | Published: 01 October 2010 | Format: Paperback 512 pages
ISBN 13: 9781409521969 | ISBN 10: 1409521966