In our interview with Josephine Angelini, author of the Young Adult Starcrossed trilogy, we find out how she got her first book published, her inspiration behind the character development and who she would love to sit down with and discuss monsters.

What inspired you to write Starcrossed?

Blind luck.  I was pitching a different YA series to my husband, who is a screenwriter, but my idea was so complicated I was having a hard time making myself clear.  My husband wisely suggested that I start with something a bit simpler for my first book.

After about ten minutes of bawling and thinking that the world was coming to an end I spotted a copy of the Iliad next to Romeo and Juliet on my bookshelf.  I asked my husband if he’d ever heard of anyone trying to do a modern-day retelling of the Iliad, set in high school, and focusing on the love story.

Apparently, that’s what he had in mind when he said “simpler”.  I started writing.

How difficult was it to get your book published? What was the process?

It all happened so fast I hardly knew what was going on before it was over.  My husband gave my manuscript to a manager that he met on Facebook.  The manager went ga-ga over the story and sent it (that night) to a Lit agent in New York.  The agent read it (Also that night) and loved it.

I literally woke up to a 6 a.m. call that I had a manager and an agent and that I had to start polishing my manuscript immediately because my agent wanted to go out with it.  I had coffee and asked my husband wha…?  He’d never told me he sent my manuscript out because he didn’t want me to get anxious.

My agent used the same tactic.  A few weeks later, days before we were supposed to go out wide with it, she told me she had a pre-emptive offer.  Again, I said wha…?

So basically I got published without even really knowing it was going on.  I didn’t even have a chance to get nervous about it.

How do you develop your character’s individual personalities? Are they inspired by anyone you know or do they have a little bit of you in them?

I start with what I know when I build a character– taking bits and pieces of people I know or have met—and then I go from there.  I write extensive character bios all of my characters before I start writing, and over the course of that, each character becomes unique.  Even though I start with someone familiar, all of my characters become unique over time.

What media do you use to help inspire you while writing (Music, Art, Movies, etc.)? Anything specific?

I usually have music on in the background when I write, and sometimes I listen to one particular song on repeat if it really speaks to a scene I’m working on.  I don’t like silence when I write.  I feel like I’m being stared at.

Who are your literary influences? What is your favorite book and why?

I don’t have a favorite book, any more than I have a favorite movie or song.  Over my life there have been so many books and writers that I’ve loved I could never settle on just one.  My literary influences are varied.  Marion Zimmer Bradley, Cormac McCarthey, Douglas Adams, China Mieville, Philip Pullman, A.S Byatt, Ursula LeGuin.

I’m going to stop now, or we’ll be here all day!

What future projects are you working on? Can you tell us anything about them?

I finished Dreamless, the second book in the Starcrossed trilogy, and I’ve started work on the third book.  I don’t have a title for it yet.

If you could spend time with any author (alive or dead) who would it be and why? What would you expect to gain from that experience?

Mary Shelly.  I have this elaborate fantasy about she and I opening a bottle of wine and talking about monsters.  I love to talk about monsters.

What is one thing you’d like your fans to know about you?

I can juggle.

What an inspiring interview. Have you read Starcrossed?

Check out the Starcrossed Book Trailer: