'Starcrossed' Author Josephine Angelini Talks Love And War -- YA Style

For my fellow bookworms out there, I know you suffer from my pain: so many books, so little time to read them all! Especially in the evolving and increasingly intriguing genre of young-adult fiction. That's why we must rely upon one another to make noise about can't-miss reads. This post is dedicated to a book and an author who, if they're not already, MUST be on your radar from here on out.

Meet Josephine Angelini and her debut novel "Starcrossed," whose protagonist I highlighted recently in our Badass Supernatural Heroines of YA post. I don't want to get into too much plot detail here, because I really want you all to read this fantastically entertaining book, but in a nutshell, "Starcrossed" is the story of Helen Hamilton, a young woman who all her life has struggled to fit in due to the fact that she is different—in both appearance and seemingly abnormal abilities. All that changes when the Delos family moves to town and Helen meets the tall, dark, and "swimming pool blue-eyed" Lucas Delos.

I devoured this book in one sitting and absolutely HAD to track down Josephine for a chat about her captivating debut, the first part of which I present below.

After geeking out about our love for all things mythology, I asked Josephine to explain how she took the famous Helen of Troy and Paris saga from Homer's "The Iliad" and adapted it for modern times, in a way in which we actually empathize with the two lovestruck teens rather than flat out hate them.

"That was one of the hardest parts," she admitted. "I went into this [thinking], 'Why the heck hasn’t anyone done "The Iliad" with teenagers?' It's so easy to translate into the modern day, and then I thought about it, 'Because [Helen and Paris are] loathsome,' so I thought that I’m going to have to have a really good reason for people choosing love that is going to start a war. How can I make that into something that translates into our modern sensibilities?"

Josephine's answer to that problem was to make it all about the unshakable bonds involved with family—pride, prejudice, vengeance and everything in between. (FYI—her two lead characters are super-hot and very easy to fall in love with, not to mention the rest of the Delos family.) I'd also like to point out the fact that Josephine thought up SO much mythological goodness for this story, that she has to tell it in three books, not one. But we'll get into more detail about the next two books in part two of this excellent interview.

I'll conclude this first part of our in-depth discussion with the fact that Josephine is a huge fan of YA fiction and all its authors. She is also just as excited as I am about the current wave of supernatural romance-dystopian stories making their way into the mainstream markets.

"All the [supernatural] stuff is really a parable about finding your power," Josephine explained. "And for young women that is an extremely important lesson. Claiming that power and not being ashamed of it. 'Yeah I’m different, this is something that makes me different and powerful and special.' It’s just wonderful for that to be out there," she said. "I couldn’t be more behind it. I say, 'More YA, more supernatural romance, until everybody is behind it."

What do you think of Ms. Josephine and her debut novel "Starcrossed?" Tell us in the comments or on Twitter!