Having read the book, I love these two blurbs that nicely convey the feel and strengths of the novel.
Skyler will be by as time permits to respond to questions. I also have a copy of and Falling, Fly available for one lucky commenter (details at the end of the post). Remember to visit Skyler at her website.
“Intriguing from page one …
White asks hard questions about desire,
damnation, love and sacrifice in a beautiful,
poetic way that will keep you utterly spellbound.”
Anya Bast, author of Wicked Enchantment
“A unique and intelligent spin on the vampire
legend … a deeply romantic story … An absolutely
Julie Kenner, author of Tainted
Olivia is based on one of the darker sides of myself. She’s that dissatisfied, hungry, searching part of me that wants what she can’t have and is half irritated and half in love with that wanting. I wrote ‘and Falling, Fly’ as an opportunity to interrogate her, to poke around in my relationship to desire – with wanting and being wanted, with wanting and getting – or not getting. I wanted to try to understand why desire can be both motivating and crippling, where it can get twisted into craving or addiction, and where it can open up into liberation and love.
SFG: You have a very interesting interpretation of fallen angels as vampires, with non-traditional attributes. Tell us about your vampires.
My vampires are flawlessly beautiful, (except for the wingscars on their backs) and they are, as beauty is, in the eye of the beholder. Everyone who looks at a vampire wants her, but she has no idea what they see. My vampires can’t see themselves in a mirror unless someone else is looking at them. Their bodies and faces change too, conforming to the ideals of people who look at them. It’s an adaptation, a kind of inverse camouflage, because they can only feed from people who want or fear them.
I’ve tweaked their teeth a little, too. In addition to the retractable vampire fangs we’re all familiar with, they’re also capable of getting what they need from their mortal prey without attracting as much attention as feeding full-tooth tends to create. Their teeth and nails have tiny “quills” that harvest blood from tiny surface cuts that go unnoticed by their victims.
SFG: You feature an inn/hotel for the damned, referred to as Hell, with a fascinating host, Gaehod. How did you come up with your particular hell?
I like that phrase “your particular hell!” You’re right. It *is* mine particularly, but I’m not sure whether I came up with it, or fell down into it. This was a very difficult book to write, and very personal, and sometimes I think I might have more in common with Bear McCreedy than a typical writer – dropped into a hostile environment and forced to write my way out.
It’s Hell, and Hell has no power of its own. It requires human action to drive it. The “steampunk” elements are all energy-capture mechanisms that take the force created by opening a door and closing a window and shunts it back into the system. It’s human engagement with the system that fuels the system, and it grew up, really, as the environment necessary for Olivia. I needed to find a way to make a fallen angel both a girl you could meet in a bar and a ferociously powerful, shape-shifting immortal. Olivia is a paradox, and so the world that I created to house her needed to be able to contain paradoxes. Paradox is painful, which is one of the reasons her home is Hell.
SFG: I loved your suggestion that parts of our genetic code may combine and express themselves resulting in people with the aspects of gods, goddesses and other mythological entities. This would make a great theme for a novel on its own. How does this relate to ‘and Falling, Fly’?
The idea that there’s a mythological genetic code (or biological memetic code) is kind of the backbone of ‘and Falling, Fly’. I built a world where our story legacies are as real as our biological ones; frankly, because I believe it’s true. I think there are stories your grandmother lived that can be expressed in you whether you know them or not, and that narratively coded information is as powerful, as determining, as mysterious, and as heritable as anything we carry in our genes. Writing is my Mendel moment, my tinkering with ancient and modern strains, looking to breed hybrids.
SFG: Ireland is strongly featured in ‘and Falling, Fly’ and in your next novel ‘In Dreams Begin’. Why Ireland?
When Olivia is ready to give herself over to her own damnation – and that means something very specific in my little story-world – when she was ready to go home, Ireland felt like the right place for her to go. Part of that comes from being genetically Irish myself, and part from the wonderful mythology of the country with its Christian and pre-Christian mythologies of to-be-resurrected kings under the mountain, and cities both on and under the hills. Also, I’d been there a couple of years ago and had research already done.
SFG: You have a new book coming out in December. Can you tell something about it and other projects you are working on?
Right now, I’m working on a children’s book. Both my first and second full-length adult novels come out this year and I didn’t feel like I could tackle writing a third one while all that was going on. I’m taking notes for number three in ‘The Harrowing’ universe, and I already know who the leads are, but I’m not trying to do any real work on it until 2011.
SFG: What books are on your To Be Read (TBR) shelf?. What are you reading now?
I almost always keep four books going at one: a novel; a non-fiction book, usually research for whatever I’m working on next; a book of short stories or graphic novel; and a book of poetry. Right now it’s: ‘The City and The City’ by China Mieville, ‘Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness’ by Ned Hallowell, Gaiman’s ‘The Sandman: World’s End’, and the complete works of Arthur Rimbaud.
SFG: If you could have lunch with any author living or dead, who would it be and why?
Would it be cheating to say WB Yeats? Because I’d like to see how close to right I am.
Book Description: Olivia is a vampire bored with modernity. Tattooist, boyfriend, black-metal singer: everyone you don’t love tastes the same. Since the fall from Eden, she has hungered for love, but fed only on desire. Dominic O’Shaughnessy is a neuroscientist plagued by impossible visions.
When his research and her despair collide in Ireland’s L’Otel Mathillide – a subterranean hell of beauty, demons and dreams – rationalist and angel unite in a clash of desire anddamnation that threatens to destroy them both.
- One copy of and Falling, Fly to giveaway.
- Leave a comment or question for Skyler.
- Open internationally to anywhere The Book Depository ships.
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- Giveaway open until Midnight, March 10, 2010 EST.