Entertainment Weekly Interviews Susan Ee
Last September, shortly after the release of Angelfall through Amazon Children’s Publishing, Entertainment Weekly talked to author Susan Ee about the creation of Penryn, Raffe, and Penryn’s mom. This interview was published before Good Universe acquired the film rights to Angelfall.
So, what went into creating Penryn? Was she inspired by you at all? Or someone you know?
Angelfall’s a fantastical story, but I wanted both Penryn and her world to be real before the attack happened. So, it’s set in Silicon Valley, California, and it’s in the here and almost-now. Penryn herself is not modeled off anyone, but she is the kind of girl who many of us might know. She sits in the back of the classroom; she’s likeable, but no one really knows her that well. She is the girl who has a lot on her mind and doesn’t have time for typical teenage issues. She has real world family problems that don’t go away just because the world ended.
What about Raffe?
[Laughs] I wish Raffe was modeled off someone I knew. He’s just pure yummy fantasy. He’s a combination of real-world traits that I’ve seen in guys and wishful thinking. Although Angelfallis told in the first person from Penryn’s point of view, I wrote a lot of pages of the story from Raffe’s perspective to get to know him.
Would you ever consider releasing those pages?
I’ve had requests to release scenes from Raffe’s point of view and it’s an interesting possibility that catches my attention, but right now what people really want are the future books. [Laughs] One thing at a time. I think my readers would get mad at me if I spent more time on this other stuff than the next book. But there are a lot of pages written from Raffe’s voice, so that was an interesting experience.
Is that ever frustrating — to sit down and write so many pages you know won’t ever end up being a part of the finished product?
It’s really amazing how many pages go into it. I probably wrote three solid books for the first book. At least two of those volumes were not released. I feel like that adds to the texture of the book that is released. That’s one of the reasons why the readers love it. They get very involved with what happens because it feels more real. The reason it feels more real is because each one of these characters has their own stories going on. Penryn has hers, but so does Raffe and so does everyone else who’s in there. The parts that we get to see are the parts that get weaved into what Penryn sees. So, it sometimes can be painful that it never sees the light of day, but at the same time I feel I need that for Penryn’s story as well.
Speaking of the two protagonists, I love how you wove the romance into the story. It never overcame the basic plot and it just felt really natural to me. So, how important was Penryn and Raffe’s relationship to you? When you set out to write Angelfall, was it as a romance? Or did that come later?
When I started I thought I was writing a romance, but every time I was going there, anarchy and violence exploded onto the page. [Laughs] So I just went where the story wanted to go and let the characters do what felt true to them given the circumstances. I suspected that there would be a romance thread from the beginning, but the story never quite goes where I think it might go. I suspect that what the readers are feeling is the fact that the characters did what they wanted to do and what felt natural to them instead of me planning it out ahead of time.
The interview goes on to talk with Ee about her passionate fans and how much she loves them, which is such a touching thing to read. Like EW’s Tara Fowler, I’m ashamed to have taken so long to find this book too, but the upside is that I have less time to wait for the next book.
To read the full interview, head over to EW.com.