Editor Marije Kok interviewed author Josephine Angelini about her latest book: Trial by Fire.
Where did the idea of Trial by Fire come from?
‘I was up late one night, thinking random thoughts, and a disturbing idea kept me up until the wee hours. I was thinking about parallel universes (as one does at 3 am) and I had the notion that if I ever met another version of myself, I’d probably hate her. I can’t even stand to hear a recording of my own voice: can you imagine how much I’d hate the whole package? Anyway, I thought that would make a great hero/villain pairing for a book, to have my heroine literally be her own worst enemy.’
‘I grew up in Massachusetts, and my family farm is one town over from Salem. I’ve always been macabrely fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials, and it was something I knew I would write about someday. I also love that witchcraft has mostly been associated as a women’s power, and I wanted to explore the idea of a world run by women. Having six older sisters taught me that having women in charge didn’t always mean that things were peaceful and easy, and I created a world that reflected that.’
Lily Proctor is allergic to almost everything, are you allergic to something as well?
‘Actually, no. Lily’s allergies serve the magical system I created. They also give her a particular weakness or vulnerability that she needs to embrace and then overcome. I think a lot of readers can relate to that struggle.’
Would you like to live in another version of your world? If yes, what kind of version would that be?
‘Heck no. That place is crazy dangerous, and with my luck I wouldn’t have been born a crucible. I’d have been born Outland, surrounded by Woven. I probably wouldn’t have made it.’
Are you planning on writing more novels for young adults?
‘I’ll keep writing them as long as people keep reading them. I have two more books in this series, and then an idea for another series after that, although that series might straddle YA and adult. I love writing in this genre, though. I feel like my voice fits in it.’
What is your favorite young adult novel?
‘That’s a tough question, because I’m always changing my favorites. I love the Anne McCaffrey Harper Hall-series set on her world of Pern. I also love Pullman’s His Dark Materials-trilogy. Graceling by Kristin Cashore is pretty darn awesome, too. I could keep going, but that would negate the whole concept of “favorite”, I guess.’