The time there were debates

Posted September 2, 2015 by Stacee in Signings | 1 Comment

When I saw that Josie Angelini was going to be at Mysterious Galaxy, it was a sure thing. And then I saw Mary Pearson was going to be there and it was an excited yes!

Keiko and I got down to MG early {as we do} and had delicious pastries before hitting the bookstore. We got into heated debates with Sam and Leah about Outlander, Once Upon a Time, the use of guyliner, accents, and the most beautiful woman in the world.


Mary and Josie got to the story early. Mary came over and asked how we went to Disneyland so often. The event started right at 6pm and Mary stated by introducing Josie and then Josie gave the synopsis for Trial by Fire.


J: I hate my voice on the answering machine and I figured that if I ever met myself from an alternative universe, I would hate her.  Because everyone thinks about alternate universes at 3am, right?

M: That’s what really fascinated me from the beginning. Haven’t we all wondered what would happen if our life was just a little different? It’s like a butterfly effect.

J: At the heart of the story is a lot of nature vs nurture. I think the more interesting thing is whether the character thinks it’s nature vs nurture. Lillian thinks it’s the world and it’s just what she has to do. Lily thinks she’s going to make the universe, that it’s up to her to make the world. It was fun to have the characters to decide which it was.

M: It’s fun because it’s not just Lily with alternate characters.

J: I have a character, Rowan, and he has a half brother who is like the shadowy side of Rowan. But they’re both from the same world. They have the same father, but were raised differently.


M: You’ve created a fabulous setting. It’s a combination of old and new, sci-fi and feudal. I love the play of opposites. How did you come up with it?

J: I did most of my world building after I created the magic. It’s based on string theory. A witch is a woman who can change matter in her own body. There’s so much energy in matter. What would the world look like with these woman and their abilities.  The world building has to make sense with the magic.

M: I’m often asked about what superpower I would want. It was always flying, but now I would pick mind speak. It makes the people so vulnerable. How did you come up with it?

J: It was part of the magic. I’m a plotter. Before I write page one, I’ve plotted and plotted. The witch is very vulnerable, she can’t leap tall buildings.  The will stones are all about the person’s will. They have to give the other person the permission. It was based on the with trials, the witches were being accused of possessing people and I wondered how possession would actually work.

But trust is necessary. People want to be claimed and the witch wants to claim everyone. She would claim the whole world if she could. There’s this idea of fear. An idea that you could become someone’s meat puppet.

M: Lily has a great relationship with her sister.

J: I have 6 sisters.


M: Is Juliette based on any of them?

J: She is my sister, Martha. Almost exactly. She was the one who said, do you have money, where are your pants. She would take me on dates with her because I wouldn’t want to be left behind on a Friday night.

M: Is there any technology or magic that is in the books that you wish really existed?

J: I would love for this series of magic to exist as long as I was one of the witches. I like that alternate power source.

M: I kept picturing the glow trees. I loved them.

J: Bio-luminescent trees instead of lampposts.

When did you decide you wanted to write?

I started keeping a journal when I was 10, but I didn’t think I was good enough to write. I went to NYU and TISH and I studied drama and Shakespeare. Everyone told me I was a writer. Half way through school I realized didn’t really like performing.

My husband took me over to my bookshelf and asked me how many screenplays I saw. I said none. And then I realized that I was an author, not a screenwriter.  I was never good enough. I was never smart enough. The first book I wrote sold. You’re good enough. You’re smart enough.


Are there any other characters based on friends?

Matt from Starcrossed is my friend Matt. When the last book came out, I called him and told him that he was going to die, but he got the girl first. I don’t change people’s names. I just call people and say “I putting you in my book.” It hasn’t bitten me in the ass yet.

What kind of setting do you write in?

Depends on deadline. One is the kitchen table and I put on music and cookies and coffee. When I’m punished, I have a desk that faces the wall. There’s nothing but having to write the book. I got punished a lot with book 3.

M: do you have a certain set of words a day?

J: 1500-2000 a day, but I cut a lot.

M: You’re an outliner.

J: And you’re not.

M: I try. I sort of have premise, but until I know the characters, I don’t know the premise. I’m still getting surprised at things I planted in book 1.

J: I’m more like the gestapo. They go here and do this. And then I completely forgot to write a character to show them there.

M: There’s no plot without characters and no characters without plot.

J: Right. They wouldn’t make the choices to drive the plot if they weren’t who they are.  I think when people have a block in their writing, they don’t have an active villain. I found these books through my villain.


What is your favorite book?

M: Just one?

Or a cover you like?

M: YA is pretty amazing right now. There are so many good books. There was a time when you could just name one or two, but I can look over there and see The Wrath and the Dawn and I just love the end papers and you open it up and there’s the girl.

J: There was the girl in the dress. And then the symbol, like The Hunger Games. I like the idea of a trilogy and all 3 covers line up and make a complete photo. I’m so tired of the girl in the dress. The genre just got validated and there’s so many good writers out there. I’ve never really looked at covers. It’s all about the stories.

M: I’m all about the cover. I have an art background. I always want to see the cover and have input. In fact when I was here, we talked about book 3 and the color and what she would be wearing and I submitted all of that to the designer.


M: I love Rowan. He’s a great book boyfriend. Are there any heroes that you love?

J: Do you know the TV show The Borgias? There was that dirty, underhanded guy who was gay and I just loved him. He was evil and would kill people and you found out later that it was all about loyalty. That’s how you build a character.

J: Who are your favorite book boyfriends? {this is when everyone looked at me}.

I said Noah Shaw and I had to explain my love for him.

From there, it was time for the signing. I had gotten books from SDCC, so I went up with Keiko to get her books signed.

j ja2

We chatted about our love for the Starcrossed series.  And then I saw Mary trying to take photos and I started backing away.  I said that I didn’t like to be on the internet and she laughed saying that I preferred to be the mystery blogger.

I have a serious love for the books that Josie and Mary have written and these two ladies couldn’t be more lovely.  Definitely go see them if you get a chance and absolutely buy everything they’ve written.

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