Today's Delightful Debutante is Cynthia Hand, author of Unearthly, which is one of my absolute favourite books of 2011. I could go on and on about how much I loved this book, but if you really want to know, you can read my review. Honestly, this one is amazing, and if you haven't read it yet, you are missing out! Unearthly was released in the US back in January, and is coming to the UK in May from Egmont. You can see an exclusive reveal of the UK cover below!
Over to Cynthia...
I read Unearthly in one sitting and totally fell in love with the plot, setting and characters. Where did you get the inspiration to write the story?
My inspiration this time was a mysterious thing. One day I started to hear Clara's narrative voice in my head, talking about her purpose, and I followed her through that and everything just start to come to me. The book unrolled like a carpet in front of me, and I merely had to walk down it. I will say that I've always been fascinated with the idea of Nephilim, creatures who are part angel, ever since I read Many Water (Madeleine L'Engle) as a child.
The Angel trend is huge in YA fiction at the moment, and is set to continue. What do you think lies behind this fascination with angels? Why do readers find them so captivating?
I think readers are sometimes looking for something that isn't quite as dark and brooding as vampires or werewolves, but still intriguing. The angel mythology is such a rich, detailed tradition for so many cultures, and angel stories often speak to us about hope and redemption in a way that's a bit different from the other types of supernatural stuff out there. I think, at this point in history, people want to hear stories about hope and redemption.
Unearthly has a great female protagonist in Clara, and there are plenty of hot boys to go round. I know the movie rights have been sold, so I'm going to ask you my favourite the movie cast question! Who would you cast in the roles of Clara, Christian and Tucker in the movie of Unearthly?
Hmm, well I can approach this 2 ways: practically and how I was originally considering the characters. Practically, I'd choose someone like Dakota Fanning or AnnaSophia Robb or Saoirse Ronan for Clara, someone at the right age of 16ish who's expressive and talented! When I was writing I saw Clara as kind of a cross between Rachel McAdams in her younger days, her spirited nature and fire, and Amanda Seyfried, with her huge expressive eyes and funny sense of humor. Christian was a bit Zac Efron, but there was no one specifically that's the right age who quite fits him, that I know about. And Tucker was Kellan Lutz, but maybe a little younger there, too. I'd like my movie cast to be the right age, real 16 and 17 year olds, not 25 years olds playing 17 years olds, if I could choose.
Can you name three other books that readers of Unearthly might also enjoy?
Hmmmm. What comes to mind is Bad Girls Don't Die, by Katie Alender, which I think has a similar humor to what I was thinking about for Clara, Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White, and The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan, which is about zombies but has this lovely first person present voice that so inspired me when I was working on Unearthly.
The Unearthly series is set to continue with Hallowed in 2012. I'm already counting down the days to this one! Can you give readers any clues as to what they can expect from the next book? Anything at all??
Well, I'm pretty tight-lipped when it comes to Hallowed, but I will say that in this next book we get to learn a lot more about the purposes of the other angel-bloods, Including Maggie and Jeffrey, who people seem to be particularly curious about. There will be more fun in the great outdoors, although not quite as much as Unearthly, since that happy summer is over when we begin Hallowed, some rodeo, and oh yeah, some kissing, although I won't say between which two people!
And here is the UK cover for Unearthly!
Thanks so much to Cynthia for the great interview! I seriously cannot wait to read Hallowed in 2012!