Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Danielle Trussoni Q&A & Contest for ANGELOGY
"Sensual and intellectual, 'Angelology' is a terrifically clever thriller."
"...fusing the divine and the debased, the psychological and the theological, into a single rich, strange tableau that transmits a shock of truth."
As you know, I've been discussing the idea that angels might be the new vampires. They've got a lot going for them: a thrilling backstory, innate good vs. evil drama, superpowers, complicated family dynamics... So I'm delighted to have Danielle Trussoni, author of the just released Angelology, as my guest today.
Danielle's first book, Falling Through the Earth, is a memoir about her youth in Wisconsin and her father, a Vietnam Vet, was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by the New York Times. Danielle now lives in France and her new novel is about an ancient battle between the Society of Angelologists and half-human/half-angel Nephilim.
The buzz for this book has been phenomenal and film rights have been sold to Wil Smith's production company. (Yes, let's get jiggy with angels!)
Danielle's amazing publicist, Lindsay Prevette of Viking Penguin, has offered to give a copy of the hardback edition of Angelology in a contest here. Read to the end of the post for contest info.
Here's the publisher's description of Angelology:
Sister Evangeline was just a girl when her father entrusted her to the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in upstate New York. Now, at twenty-three, her discovery of a 1943 letter from the famous philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller to the late mother superior of Saint Rose Convent plunges Evangeline into a secret history that stretches back a thousand years: an ancient conflict between the Society of Angelologists and the monstrously beautiful descendants of angels and humans, the Nephilim.
For the secrets these letters guard are desperately coveted by the once-powerful Nephilim, who aim to perpetuate war, subvert the good in humanity, and dominate mankind. Generations of angelologists have devoted their lives to stopping them, and their shared mission, which Evangeline has long been destined to join, reaches from her bucolic abbey on the Hudson to the apex of insular wealth in New York, to the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris and the mountains of Bulgaria.
MARTA: Welcome, Danielle! Would you please tell us a little about Angelogy?
DANIELLE: Hello, Marta. 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.
MARTA: I’ve found that many fiction writers of books about angels were influenced by Milton’s Paradise Lost, which everyone agrees is totally bitchin. Were you inspired by Milton, or did you go to other sources to construct your world of Nephilim?
DANIELLE: I love Paradise Lost, but really my influences were more visual. When I was writing Angelology I spent a lot of time looking at Renaissance painting, going to museums and thinking about the how the angels should look, the kinds of wings they would have, the particular sheen of the skin, the eye color. I was also influenced by 19th century novels, especially Wilkie Collins. The Moonstone is one of my favorite novels.
MARTA: Fierce and powerful angels are appearing in many paranormal and urban fantasy stories. Why do you think we’re now interested in this terrifying image of angels and notions of destiny vis a vis free will? Does it say something about our zeitgeist?
DANIELLE: It definitely says something about the time we’re living in, when most of us have a sense of uncertainty about our ability to steer our own destinies. But I would say that angels have always been big in our culture. You can look back over the history of art and literature and find angels everywhere. Essentially, angels are the conduits or mediums between the divine and the material worlds. I think there is an essential need or connection between people and this concept. We all want to find connection to something beyond ourselves.
MARTA: You’re best known as a memoirist and had to deal with all that fact stuff. What was the most fun about writing a big complicated novel? Did you have a favorite big complex novel when you were a kid?
DANIELLE: It was amazingly fun to write Angelology. I actually really love all that fact stuff, and much of Angelology is based on actual texts that I dug up, but it was exhilarating to be able to improvise and I wrote the book, to let my imagination go wherever it wanted to wander. As a teenager, I loved reading Poe and HP Lovecraft and Jane Austen and Dickens, so I think that all of these influences played into Angelology.
MARTA: What was the weirdest reaction you got after telling people you were writing a book about mad, bad, dangerous to know angels?
DANIELLE: There were a lot of completely surprised reactions, probably because Angelology is such a drastic departure from Falling Through the Earth. It is also difficult to describe the complexity of a long, complicated, historically based adventure story in a few lines, and so I often simply told people to wait and read the book when it was finished. Most people have told me that it was worth the wait.
MARTA: What’s next for you? Are you working on another book?
DANIELLE: I’m working on a follow-up to Angelology called Angelopolis, where the characters of Angelology meet up again in Paris and have new trouble with the Nephilim.
MARTA: Where can readers find out more about you and Angelogy?
DANIELLE: The best place is my website, but I would also like to urge readers to check out the official Angelological Academy site, where they can actually meet some angelologists, post their own stories about angels and sign up for a course in angelology. This site is the best place for the new initiate.
MARTA: Okay, quick, without thinking, tell us what’s your favorite cheese, your favorite classic movie, a book that’s a guilty pleasure, and the worst title anyone suggested for your book?
Cheese: Brebis from the Pyrenees mountains.
Film: Breathless directed by Godard (I adore Jean Seberg)
Book: Books about the templars.
Worst title: Nobody has suggested a bad title, at leas not yet! My German publisher is calling Angelology Angelus, but that isn’t terrible.
MARTA: Thanks, Danielle, and thanks for visiting Vampire Wire!
CONTEST RULES: To win a hardback copy of Danielle's Angelology, just leave a comment about angels in books, movies, or art. Or you can mention how you think angels stack up against another paranormal characters. Do you like your angels dashing and amiable, as in "The Bishop's Wife," or terrifying like the angels in "Supernatural"? How about lovelorn and German, like in Wim Wender's "Wings of Desire"?
The contest is limited to the U.S. and Canada and runs through Sunday, March 21. A winner will be chosen in a random drawing.
GRATUITOUS VIDEOS OF THE DAY
In honor of my guest, our theme is angels.
Posted by Marta at 7:01 PM