I thought that some of you might be interested in this article after our discussion at our last meeting.
Teen Angels A bestselling novelist on why boys aren’t the only ones who like sci-fi
By Nicole Joseph
Updated: 6:28 p.m. ET Jan. 12, 2006
Jan. 13, 2006 - Author Libba Bray has many mysteries in her life (“Why doesn’t George Clooney call me? Why do I always get mistaken for Catherine Zeta Jones?”). But there are no questions about the fact that her newest novel, “Rebel Angels” (Delacorte, 2005) is a hit in the world of young-adult fiction. Angels is the much-anticipated sequel to Bray’s 2003 bestseller, “A Great and Terrible Beauty.” The books, set in 19th century England, are an unusual mix of sci-fi, fantasy and unalloyed romance. They have a large and devoted following of teen girls who identify with the heroine Gemma Doyle—a sardonic, redheaded boarding school student. Gemma and her posse of friends battle otherworldly villains and adolescent angst in a mystical world called “The Realms.” Think “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” but in corsets and with a heady infusion of historical detail.
Texas-raised Bray spent the fall on a book tour of girls’ schools, where she ran writing workshops for aspiring teen writers. Now there’s talk of turning her series into a movie, but Bray says she’s doesn’t have time to indulge in success just yet. She is back on deadline and already at work on the third and final novel in the trilogy, which will be released in the fall of 2007.
Before she settled too deeply into her own magical writing realm, NEWSWEEK’s Nicole Joseph spoke with the (terribly funny) author about learning to write and why teen girls like sci-fi lit too. Excerpts:
NEWSWEEK: It seems like people sometimes associate sci-fi and fantasy with boys more than girls. Do you think that’s true? Libba Bray: I do think that there has been a perception of that being the domain of boys, but I think that a lot of writers are starting to challenge that now. I didn’t necessarily set out to challenge it—I simply wrote about the things that I wanted to write about and that I love. When I was an adolescent, the girls that I hung with were somewhat feral and unsupervised… and probably behaved a lot like boys did. We wanted to start a band. You’re always writing with you own perspective, I suppose, and I was interested in sci-fi and fantasy and Victorian England. [So while] I do think [sci-fi] has been more the playground of boys, I think that it’s great that it’s being challenged and we’re saying: “Hey, you know, girls like this stuff, too.”