Rafael Angelos just got handed the greatest gift any teenage boy could ever dream of. Upon arriving at his new boarding school for senior year, he discovered that he is the ONLY male student. But what should have been a godsend isn’t exactly heaven on Earth.
Raffi’s about to learn that St. Mary’s is actually a hub for demons-and that he was summoned to the school by someone expecting him to save the day. Raffi knows he’s no angel-but it’s pretty hard to deny that there’s some higher plan at work when he wakes up one morning to discover a glowing circle around his head.
Helen Keeble’s debut novel, Fang Girl, has been praised for its pitch-perfect teen voice, and VOYA called it “refreshing and reminiscent of Louise Rennison’s Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series.” No Angel brings you angels and demons like you’ve never seen them-complete with the wry humor of Vladimir Tod, sinfully irreverent romance, and some hilariously demonic teenage dilemmas.
1. Describe your new book No Angel in a single Tweet.
Boy thinks life at an all-girls school will be heavenly, but it’s hell on earth. And he’s the angel sent to fix things. Help!
2. Do we need to have read your first novel, Fang Girl, to enjoy No Angel?
Nope, they’re entirely unrelated to each other. Well, apart from containing the same brand of humor!
Even though No Angel isn’t a sequel to Fang Girl, I hope that readers who enjoyed the way I affectionately mocked vampires in my first book will get the same sorts of giggles from the way my new one makes fun of the whole ‘angel boyfriend’ subgenre of paranormal romance.
3. Is No Angel a stand-alone novel or the start of a series?
It’s definitely a stand-alone novel. Not to give away any spoilers, but the plot is very much wrapped up at the end of the book.
4. Why did you decide to set No Angel at a boarding school?
My dad went to various VERY traditional English boys’ boarding schools from the age of seven to eighteen, and although he doesn’t talk much about it, he’s told me a few horror stories. I’m fascinated by old-fashioned boarding schools as these little self-contained worlds, with their own history and culture, completely isolated from normal life. Due to Harry Potter, I think most of us now have a pretty romantic idea of boarding schools as a magical wonderland, but they could just as easily be (and often were) utter hell-holes. Bullying is bad enough, but when you can’t even get away from your tormentors at the end of the school day…? Scary!
5. Your vampires in Fang Girl have some unusual (for the paranormal genre) traits based on traditional Eastern European folklore. Have you done anything similar with the angels and demons in No Angel?
Definitely! I had a lot of fun researching angels in early Christian traditions. I took a lot of inspiration from De coelesti hierarchy, a 5th Century text on angels that is utterly cracktastic to modern eyes. Let’s put it this way: When you think “angel”, do you think:
a. A noble, handsome/beautiful protector with big white wings, glowing with pure, holy goodness
b. Two massive bicycle wheels jammed crossways into each other, set on fire, and COVERED IN EYES
Let’s just say that Rafael Angelos, the hero of No Angel, is not exactly happy about his newly discovered angelic tendencies…
6. Fun fact about No Angel?
I guarantee it’s the only light, fluffy YA comedy you’ll ever read that includes higher-dimensional mathematics as a pivotal plot-point.
(Don’t worry, there are no equations)
7. Would you rather be an angel or a vampire?
Definitely an angel! I’ve always wanted to fly. I, uh, may have spent an entire year hooked on a computer game called Aion just because it let me play a character with beautiful big wings. *blush*
Although I have to say I would prefer to be an angel from someone else’s book, not my own. The angels in No Angel are… not exactly eye-candy.
8. What are your favorite books, shows, or movies about angels and demons?
For books, Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I’m also very fond of The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan.
9. Favorite funny movie or TV show?
Galaxy Quest, which is a movie about a group of actors from a second-rate, long-cancelled TV science-fiction series (which is of course in NO WAY based on a real TV show *cough* Star Trek *cough*) who get abducted by real aliens, who have based their entire culture on the show. Or, as the aliens call it, “the historical documents”, as they believe it’s all real. Hijinks ensue!
If you are at all aware of science fiction fan culture, Galaxy Quest is screamingly funny. The fact that I went to Star Trek conventions as a teenager, owned a lovingly-painted collection of Enterprise models, and once won a Halloween costume competition with my home-made Spock outfit, may go some way to explaining my deep and abiding love for this movie.
(no, you can’t see pictures of me in my Spock costume)
No Angel excerpt
In which Rafael Angelos — high school student, would-be Casanova, and unexpected angel – attempts to get to grips with his awesome new powers
So I was, for want of a better word, an angel, possibly with a holy mission to protect the world from the forces of evil. Obviously there was one thing I had to do as soon as possible.
The next morning I got up at the crack of dawn, liberated a helmet from the communal bike shed, and set off to learn how to fly.
A half-hour hike found me a nice wide clearing in the woods, well away from the school buildings. With a last glance around to check for onlookers, I shrugged my wings out. Early morning mist scurried along the ground as I lofted them to full vertical extension, the glowing pinions reaching for the sky like outstretched hands. I crouched, looked up, and took a deep breath.
“Okay,” I said softly, and swept my wings down.
It was a good thing I’d worn a helmet.
“Right,” I muttered to myself, spitting out dirt. “Less sideways, more up.”
After another ten minutes of running, leaping, and rather unangelic swearing, I was still resolutely earthbound. I brushed the mud off my knees, scowling. Maybe what I needed was motivation. I’d certainly had plenty last night. Unfortunately, I didn’t think Faith would appreciate her own guardian angel pushing her out a window, not even in the interests of science. And I wasn’t quite confident enough in my wings to want to throw myself out of a window, either.
I crouched down in a sprinter’s stance and squeezed my eyes. Just think of all the things I’d be able to do once I mastered flight. I’d be able to confirm my suspicions about the true threat to the school. I’d be able to save Faith if she fell again. I’d be able to sneak out in the evening and find the nearest pub-
“Oh my God,” said a voice behind me.
I leapt into the air in alarm — literally. A short mid-teens girl in a baggy cardigan and unflattering glasses stood frozen in the bracken, staring at up me with her mouth hanging open. “You’re… you’re an angel,” she said.
As I was hovering six feet above her on glowing, slowly-beating wings, this did not seem like something I could deny. The rising sun highlighted the girl’s tear-tracked face and red eyes. She took a hesitant step forward, holding up a hand to shield herself from my light. “Who are you?” she breathed.
With my head backlit by my incandescent feathers, she must not have been able to make out my features. If only I could get away quickly, she need never know my identity. “Yes, I am an angel,” I said in the deepest voice I could manage, while frantically trying to work out how to go up. I wobbled dangerously in the air. “Sent from Heaven to, uh…”
“Smite the wicked?” the girl suggested hopefully. She sniffed, swiping her sleeve across her nose. “Because I can totally give you a list. Starting with that bitch Joanne.”
“Er, no.” What the hell did angels talk about? Half-remembered bits of the few Christmas services my dad had forced me to attend drifted up out of my memory. “I come bearing Good News! For unto you a child shall be born!”
The girl stared at me. She did not look like she considered this to be Glad Tidings.
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