Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Rebel Angels

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Rebel Angels

by Libba Bray

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray X
Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2005, 560 pages

    Paperback:
    Jan 2007, 592 pages

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Beyond the Book

This article relates to Rebel Angels

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Q: From the beginning, you envisioned Gemma as a heroine who kicks butt and takes names–all in a corset and crinoline. What changed about the character after you began writing the book? What stayed the same?
Libba Bray: It's hard to believe, but I actually envisioned Gemma and the book as being much lighter and funnier. Yeah, right, because dealing with supernatural visions, secret societies, and lots of not-quite-dead people is always a real laugh riot, right? Okey-dokey. Moving on ... I did always see Gemma as sardonic, a social commentator in the vein of a Jane Austen character, and I think that stayed the same. But as often happens in the course of the writing, the character took over, and I discovered that Gemma was much more vulnerable and conflicted and infuriating and all those yummy things that make people into people. And for that, I am glad.

Q: What do you think of the term chick lit? Would you categorize your books as chick lit?
LB: Argh! Okay, here's the thing: I hate the term chick lit because it feels demeaning. Nobody calls the work of John Updike and Philip Roth old white guy lit. By and large, the writing of men is not categorized and compartmentalized in this way beyond specific publishing genres, i.e., mystery, horror, science fiction. I have the same problem when movies are referred to as chick flicks. It's dismissive; it says that the themes that often show up in women's novels and films and the perspective of women artists are somehow less than.....

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This "beyond the book article" relates to Rebel Angels. It originally ran in September 2005 and has been updated for the January 2007 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

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