View our feature on Skyler White’s and Falling, Fly.
An edgy, erotic blend of fantasy and romance-from a debut author whose star is on the rise.
In a dark and seedy underground of burned-out rock stars and angels- turned-vampires, a revolutionary neuroscientist and a fallen angel must pit medicine against mythology in an attempt to erase their tortured pasts…but at what cost?
Olivia, vampire and fallen angel of desire, is hopeless…and damned. Since the fall from Eden, she has hungered for love, but fed only on desire. Dominic O’Shaughnessy is a neuroscientist plagued by impossible visions. When his research and her despair collide at L’OtelMathillide- a subterranean hell of beauty, demons, and dreams-rationalist and angel unite in a clash of desire and damnation that threatens to destroy them both.
Thanks! The world of and Falling, Fly is a strange mash-up of Ireland, alternative culture, and Dante. To be honest, it started with Olivia, my vampire/heroine; the world grew to house her.
I wanted to pry open a space between how the world today looks and how it would feel to someone who remembers Eden. I wanted to play between the beauty we experience every day—the gorgeous detail, the loving attention given to the nested hearts on the top of my coffee —and the alienating scale of the machinery that brought the beans to my local guy who roasts them.
It’s commonplace to talk about how the world is shrinking now, and also to acknowledge how vast time and the universe are, but somewhere on that continuum, there’s a hitch—a place where my understanding and my acceptance hang up, if only for a moment. I wanted to house my story there, where I’m not at home, where there’s both beauty and pain for me.
How did you come up with your protagonist, Olivia? Is she based on anyone you know?
Olivia is based on one of the darker sides of myself. She’s that dissatisfied, hungry, searching part of me that wants what she can’t have and is half irritated and half in love with that wanting. I wrote and Falling, Fly as an opportunity to interrogate her, to poke around in my relationship to desire —with wanting and being wanted, with wanting and getting —or not getting.
I wanted to try to understand why desire can be both motivating and crippling, where it can get twisted into craving or addiction, and where it can open up into liberation and love. That’s why she’s the angel of desire.
What drew you to the theme of fallen angels?
The un-fallen kind aren’t any fun.
No really, there’s no tension in perfection, no eroticism in the ideal. I want to write about the kind of people I love in my life —the complicated, imperfect types. This is why my cover art pleased me so much. There’s something in the stone wings that exactly captures the paradox of a fallen angel —the symbol of flight fashioned of the one thing that you know can’t fly. It’s paradox that drew me to fallen angels —that draws me to people —that is so tied up in how I understand love and anything I could call god.
What do you look for in a good novel? Which genre are you personally drawn to?
I am utterly promiscuous in respect to genre. I’ll read twenty pages of anything. Beyond that, the story has to take me. I’m a sucker for beauty —although I tend to shy away from “pretty” beauty. I like terrible beauty, tragic beauty. I like strong women, surprising plotlines and richly visualized writing. I want to get lost in a story world, but more than anything else, I want a story to affect me emotionally. If a book can upset me or turn me on, scare me or make me laugh, or alter my perspective, then I’ll go back to that writer again and again, faithfully.
Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next?
My next book, In Dreams Begin, coming from Berkley in December 2010, is a dark time-travel romance/horror in which a contemporary graphic artist wakes up on her wedding night in the body of Maud Gonne, the Irish revolutionary and suffragette, only to fall wildly, Victorianly in love with the poet and occultist WB Yeats.
It’s been a very intense book to write. It’s a very personal story, but it’s also highly accurate historically and required a lot of research, both from a mountain of books and travel in Ireland, England and France. You can read more about my research trip on my blog.
Also, you can visit my website for more info at www.skylerwhite.com.