Thursday, September 26, 2013

No Angel Blog Tour: Interview with Helen Keeble + GIVEAWAY

Goodreads rating: 3.88
Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: October 8th 2013 by HarperTeen
Genre: YA paranormal

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.


About the author:

Helen Keeble is not, and never has been, a vampire. She has however been a teenager. She grew up partly in America and partly in England, which has left her with an unidentifiable accent and a fondness for peanut butter crackers washed down with a nice cup of tea. She now lives in West Sussex, England, with her husband, daughter, two cats, and a variable number of fish. To the best of her knowledge, none of the fish are undead.

Her first novel, a YA vampire comedy called FANG GIRL, is out 11th Sept 2012, from HarperTeen.

She also has another YA paranormal comedy novel (provisionally titled NO ANGEL) scheduled for Sept 2013.

Author Links:

Was it easier or harder writing your second published book?

I think most authors will tell you that every book is the hardest one, in its own unique way! With Fang Girl, the hardest part of the book was keeping myself motivated to sit down to write every day, with no clue as to whether anyone was ever going to read it or not. With No Angel, I had the opposite problem of having to write to a tight deadline, as my publishers had a date set for publication even before I'd finished the first draft! So I can't say that either was easier or harder than the other - just differently challenging.

(and the book I'm working on now is hard in a new and different way from either of the first two…)

Is "No Angel" a sequel to "Fang Girl" in any way?

No, they don't share any plot line or characters. I leave it up to the reader to decide whether they're even set in the same world.

What's your writing process (i.e. do you outline, only write at night, can only be inspired after watching Monty Python)?

I can only write at night, but that's more to do with having a full-time day job plus a young toddler than anything to do with artistic inspiration!

What was you favorite character to write? And if you could be any character in "No Angel," which one would you choose?

My favourite character is definitely the Headmistress. My mom used to be a teacher, so I grew up hearing her muse about all the things she WISHED she'd been able to say to some of the ungrateful, snotty kids she was trying to educate. I took great joy in making the Headmistress say all the devastatingly sarcastic things my mom was too professional (and nice) to ever say!

I would definitely not want to be the Headmistress, though, what with all the hormonal, angst-ridden teenagers she has to put up with. If I could be any character, I'd go for Michaela Dante - smoulderingly gorgeous with an all-you-worthless-worms-can-kiss-my-stiletto-boots attitude and a fondness for concealing edged weapons about her person. What's not to love? 

If you could do anything different with "No Angel," what would it be?

Apart from launching it world-wide with a multi-million dollar advertising campaign…?

There's a bit about halfway through where, for very important plot reasons, one of the characters attempts to explain four-dimensional geometry to Raffi (no, really). I sincerely wish I'd been able to include a diagram!

Has it ever been a dream of yours to go to boarding school (I'm still waiting for my letter from Hogwarts)?

Having heard stories from my dad -- who went to boarding school from the age of seven to eighteen -- about his schooldays, I am deeply grateful that I never had to go myself. As a shy, geeky teenage girl with a weird accent and zero interest in pop culture, I got bullied a lot at school. The thought of not even being able to escape your tormentors after school hours… well, let's just say that plays a major part of No Angel.

What was it like writing from a male point of view?

Interesting , because teen boys experience quite different social pressures from girls. In my experience (not that I've ever been a teen boy, but most of my friends when I was growing up were guys) boys get taken more seriously and don't have to be as "nice" as girls, but on the other hand they're under huge pressure to compete and prove that they're "real men". So my main character Raffi has a sort of odd mix of great self-confidence and crushing anxiety -- for example he's supremely (and mistakenly) certain that he's utterly irresistible to any girl, but at the same time desperately unsure what to do in a romantic situation!

Favorite book you've read so far this year?

In my honest but admittedly biased opinion, Conservation of Shadows, a collection of short SF and fantasy stories by my friend Yoon Ha Lee. She's  one of my writing buddies, and was one of the first people to read early drafts of both Fang Girl and No Angel. It's awesome finally being able to shelve our books together on my bookcase!

(which is admittedly the only place they'll ever sit side by side, as I write comedic YA about vampires and angels and she writes lyrical hard SF about sentient spaceships and sweeping battles… we're about as far apart in style and subject as it's possible to get)

What would you rather be: vampire, angel, or something else?

Angel. I would love to be able to fly. In fact, I got addicted to an otherwise unremarkable MMO called Aion for most of a year purely because it let me play a character with big sweeping wings…

What would I find in your fridge right now?

Gooseberries and sweetcorn from my husband's vegetable garden. We have a great deal -- he grows food and cooks it, and I eat it. I consider this the perfect division of labour.

Would you rather have the ability to read minds or become invisible?

If you can't turn the power off, either one would be a nightmare! Assuming I could turn it off when I wanted, I'd go for reading minds. Then I might be able to understand what my two-year-old is trying to tell me when she's too excited to remember how words work!

Love triangle or one true love?

Even though I tend to skewer romance romance tropes in my books, I'm occasionally very sappy… One true love, and I've found him. My husband is my angel -- though thankfully, not at all like the ones in my book!

Thanks Helen!

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  1. Great interview, Nicole. I haven't read Fang Girl yet but it's in my TBR pile. No angel sounds like a really fun book!


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