Web-Chat with Danielle Trussoni, Author of Angelology

I recently read Angelology by Danielle Trussoni, specifically because I had seen this web-chat advertised by Penguin to promote the book coming out in paperback. A lot was discussed in the hour we had with her, and I would recommend checking out my review of the book first, so you have an idea of the premise of the story. I haven’t included all of the chat, because there was a lot of casual banter, but I hope you enjoy what I had the chance to ask her, along with some good questions from other fans. There are a few minor spoilers, but I don’t think they’ll take away from the story. Enjoy!

Lauren:

I wanted to know about the research that went into this book. Were you raised catholic? I was a religious studies major in college, and I found the level of complicated detail wonderful and believable. I was just curious about your research process.

Danielle:

To answer your question, Lauren–I was raised Catholic. I went to Catholic school for five years and this allowed me a seemingly endless amount of time for daydreaming while in church. But I actually was not a religious person as an adolescent and thus, when I found myself writing Angelology, I was on my own.

[Comment From another guest, katherine ]:

Danielle, can you talk a little about how you came to write this novel?

Danielle:

The research took over a full year, and I was literally in the library every day with stacks of books. Every location that you find in Angelology is an actual place that I have been, and the information about angels is all taken from Biblical texts. The research was a huge part of writing the novel.

Moderator:

So are angels the new vampires? :)

Danielle:

That’s what they tell me…

[Comment From another guest, megan ]:

I hope you’ll be using all of that research toward a next novel. Danielle, is there anything that you can let us know that you’re working on?

(the author here went on to mention the next book in the series, Angelopolis, due out tentatively next year some time)

[Comment From another guest, Danielle F ]:

Danielle, what other authors or books have had an influence on you as an author. And, what are you reading now (if you even have time!)

Danielle:

Well, I don’t have much time to read at the moment, although I just read a beautiful book called The Night Circus that is coming out in the fall. The books that have influenced me are, for the most part, 19th century novels, such as the books by Wilkie Collins. Contemporary authors such as AS Byatt (Possession) and Elizabeth Kostova (The Historian) and Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum were all very influential.

[Angelology] took about one year, although when I construct a scene, I like to refresh my memory, and so I tend to do research even as I write.

Lauren:

I’m curious about your a-ha moment with this book, when you thought, wow, now that would make a good story. The whole replacing Noah’s son element was brilliant!

Danielle:

The a-ha moment came when I went to Saint Rose, and when I realized that I could use the history of angels in a dramatic way. So glad you like the Noah story!

[Comment From another guest, William Fraser ]:

Do you think you will ever allow the book Angelology to be turned into a movie. and i would really like to see Evangeline

Danielle:

Angelology has been bought by Sony pictures, with Will Smith producing and Marc Forester directing, so there may be a film soon. fingers crossed

[Comment From another guest, Kim ]:

FYI – I found myself reading the book then running to the shelf to check out some of your biblical facts, locations, etc. It was astounding your skill at weaving these things together.

Danielle:

Kim–Thank you. That was the biggest challenge in writing Angelology. I was always very aware that the research had to be accurate.

Lauren:

What was the hardest scene to write? What was your favorite scene from the book?

Danielle:

Lauren: The hardest scene? Probably the chase scenes, which are less intuitive for me. My favorite section was all of Sphere Two (1939 and 1944)

Lauren:

I know you said research took a year, but from start to finish, how long was the process?

Danielle:

It took about four years to write Angelology, but that includes a whole draft that I didn’t end up using. It was a bit of a long process. I hope Angelopolis won’t take so long!

Moderator:

Wow — do you think we might be seeing some of that unused draft later on?

Danielle:

We could use pieces of the unused draft. Although it gives me nightmares to read some of it!

Lauren:

curious, were you happy with the cover? I’ll confess, when I saw it I thought it was about something totally different than it was.

Danielle:

Hi Lauren, I actually love the picture of the angel (I am assuming you’re talking about the US cover?) It looks like a different kind of book, you’re right, but there is something haunting about the image.

Lauren:

yes, the US cover. I agree it has some sort of power to it–it is what drew me to the book in the first place.

Moderator:

Lauren — what did you think the book was about when you saw the cover?

Danielle:

Good question, moderator.

Lauren:

it was the nudity that threw me. I thought it was a romance-based book, maybe about a relationship between a girl and an angel, the typical stuff.

Gotta say I was pleasantly surprised! :)
Danielle:

Ahh! That is interesting Lauren. Do you think people would have liked that better?

So glad–I like to surprise people. :)
Lauren:

Um, I don’t necessarily think so. I work in this industry, and that vein is pretty saturated. I liked the evil element, the beauty, and the fact that the main character was a nun led me to believe that it wouldn’t be all about sex from start to finish. There was a lot more going on there, and that combined with your precise research made it much more enjoyable than the run-of-the-mill idea, personally.

About your writing, would you mind walking us through a typical writing day? I know nothing is really typical, especially since you said you like to do research while you write so it’s fresh, but in general, do you have a routine?
Danielle:

Hi Lauren, I actually do have a typical day. I’m up around 8 and writing as soon as I’ve had breakfast. I work until 12:00 or so and then have lunch. In the afternoon, I edit what I’ve written. So I have a pretty typical work day.

Lauren:

I’m sitting here trying to pinpoint what my favorite part of the book was, and I think I’d have to say how you blended the past and present. Weaving the characters’ lives together, old and young, getting insight from all these different places, that was my favorite part. I really enjoyed connecting them in my mind as the story continued.

Danielle:

Thank you Lauren. I love going back and forth in time. There is a little bit of that in Angelopolis, but not as much as in Angelology.

Lauren:

Any advice for those wanting to be on the other side, so to speak? (the published writers side)

Danielle:

Lauren–Just write as much and publish as much (in magazine and online) as possible. Building a portfolio will help you get an agent.

There is potential for a more exclusive interview in the future, so stay tuned!

Posted on by Lauren Zurchin