Monday, May 18, 2009

On The Outside: Lili St. Crow

Lili St. Crow is the author of numerous books, but Strange Angels is her first young adult novel, which was released May 14, 2009. You can visit Lili at her website here.

Strange Angels actually wasn't my first title choice. The working title for the book was Ghost Hunter, but the editor and I agreed that didn't have very much "snap" to it. So the book was without a title for the longest time, which was exceedingly odd. I normally have a very clear title by the end of the first chapter, when the book has "jelled." Every book's pattern and ending are inherent in the very first beginning words.
Not like life.

While reading the first draft, my editor Jessica came across the phrase "strange angel" and loved it. It was a throwaway term, one I meant to come back to later. The half-vampires in the series, those fighting the forces of darkness, are very strange angels. They look like teenagers all through their lives, so people react to them in an oddly-demarcated fashion. They even react to themselves with a mixture of youth and adulthood—a very apt metaphor for the teen years.

This odd dichotomy starts in the very first book with the heroine, Dru, feeling very disconnected from her peers. In some ways she's all teenage girl, but in others she's very adult. She's had to cope most of her life. I see this over and over again in young people, especially those who have had less-than-stable upbringings. Being forced to cope made me oddly mature in certain ways when I was very young. It wasn't until I was at least a decade older that I caught up with myself in other very important ways.

It's something I often want to tell young people, especially teenagers who think they're somehow less when they hit eighteen and are terribly confused. Most of the worthwhile people I know don't "settle into" themselves until they were in their mid-twenties or later. I'm thirty-three and some days I still feel adrift. It's okay not to have everything decided when you're sixteen, eighteen, twenty. Being confused is normal. A lot of people try to fill that confusion with all sorts of things—"love", chemicals, weird notions of success. Being terribly unsure is actually OK. It frees you up to try things, to say "I don't have this figured out yet."

Just think of the pressure of having everything "figured out" so early. It doesn't sound fun to me.

The funny thing is, now Strange Angels is the only possible title for the book as far as I'm concerned. And I never would have noticed it. I might have gone through and cut that phrase out in later drafts if the editor hadn't spotted it. Which is another thing about life—sometimes it takes a different vantage point to see the important things.


Thank Lili!

1 comment:

  1. I liked her story on how she got her book's title!

    You are such a cool blogger!

    -Martha <3

    Please check out my blog! :D


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