Sunday, September 29, 2013

Author's Slambook: Helen Keeble, author of Fang Girl and No Angel

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Author Bio
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Helen is not, and never has been, a vampire, angel, or supernatural being of any kind. She has however been a teenager. Her novel Fang Girl, a YA paranormal comedy about a teenage vampire fan girl who unexpectedly becomes a real vampire, was published by HarperCollins last year. Her new novel No Angel is out in Oct 2013, and is another YA paranormal comedy, about a boy who discovers that being the only guy at an all-girls' school isn't exactly heaven on earth. Helen lives in West Sussex, England, with her husband, daughter, and two cats.
1. What is your favorite color? Turquoise, though for some reason my wardrobe seems to be entirely purple at the moment. How did that happen?
2. Favorite food? Can't beat a big, rare T-bone steak… unless it's being cooked in the UK, in which case it is probably going to be like chewing boots. Brits seem to have a deep and terrible fear of cows, and cook them for hours to make sure they are entirely dead. (I am half-English and half-American, so I can be rude about both countries *grin*)
3. Favorite movie of all time? I don't watch a lot of movies, but I do love Galaxy Quest. I identify a bit too much with all the SF geeks in it, who really wish that their favourite show was real…
4. Favorite song? House by the Sea, by Iron & Wine
5. Favorite book of all time? The Last Unicorn, by Peter S Beagle

All about Writing
1. How did your interest in writing originated?
As a kid, I wrote my own private stories because I wanted to combine all the best bits of my favourite books (Spock and Legolas having adventures riding dragons in Pern…). I never thought of writing for other people though until I went to university and joined a role-playing group. I started writing little stories about our characters for my friends… which turned into posting them online for other fans of that particular game (Legend of the Five Rings, for the curious). People seemed to enjoy them so I kept writing, and eventually joined a critique group for fanfic writers. Through that group I met some professional writers (like the SF writer Yoon Ha Lee) who encouraged me to start writing my own original stories. So I did, and started sending them to SF/F magazines… and many, MANY rejection letters later, I finally had a story accepted. After a few successes with short stories, I finally decided to try writing a novel. And so Fang Girl was born…

2. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I have a full-time job (I'm an industrial software engineer) and a two-year-old, so my schedule is rather hectic! I write in the evenings, after my daughter has gone to bed and my husband and I have had dinner. When I'm working on a book, I try to write something every day, though sometimes after a long day it's a struggle to force myself to sit at my computer and not just mess around on the internet! But when the writing is going well and I'm in my groove, I can easily start typing at 8pm and not even look up until 2am… good for the book, not so good for my day job or my husband!

3. Do you work with outline or just write?
I used to just write. Nowadays I HAVE to outline, because editors tend to like to know that you have some vague plan and aren't going to kill all the characters in despair halfway through the book. *grin*

4. What was the hardest part in writing your book? The easiest?
The hardest part is having the discipline to sit down and get the words out. I hate writing first drafts! On the other hand, I love editing and rewriting - taking that dreadful first draft and polishing it into something that's actually readable. I know a lot of authors who are exactly the opposite though!

In No Angel specifically, the hardest part was working out the metaphysics of the angels and demons - there were so many different, conflicting pieces of mythology to choose from, so I had a hard time picking between them! The easiest part was the dialogue, because all the characters had very distinctive personalities that naturally clashed with each other. I had particular fun writing the Headmistress, who gets all the best, most sarcastic lines!

5. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Read every book I can get my hands on. I also love games of all sorts -- in the past I've been into roleplaying games (both tabletop and computer), but at the moment I'm obsessed with board games. Unfortunately board games take up a lot more space than computer games… between them and the books, there's hardly enough space for people in my house!

Finish the sentence
1. The difference between fiction and reality is smaller than people think.
2. Research is what I'm doing when I'm awake.
3. I can write better when all the characters are fighting with each other in my head.
4. Sleep is an excellent way to dream up the next book!
5. A room without a book is UNTHINKABLE *grin*

Title: No Angel
Genre/s: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Expected Publication: October 8, 2013
Add to Goodreads TBR List
Pre - Order: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Book Depo


Rafael Angelos just got handed the greatest gift any teenage boy could ever dream of. Upon arriving at his new boarding school for senior year, he discovered that he is the ONLY male student. But what should have been a godsend isn't exactly heaven on Earth.

Raffi's about to learn that St. Mary's is actually a hub for demons-and that he was summoned to the school by someone expecting him to save the day. Raffi knows he's no angel-but it's pretty hard to deny that there's some higher plan at work when he wakes up one morning to discover a glowing circle around his head.

Helen Keeble's debut novel, Fang Girl, has been praised for its pitch-perfect teen voice, and VOYA called it "refreshing and reminiscent of Louise Rennison's Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series." No Angel brings you angels and demons like you've never seen them-complete with the wry humor of Vladimir Tod, sinfully irreverent romance, and some hilariously demonic teenage dilemmas.
Books for YA! © 2015