Sarah Rees Brennan was born and raised in Ireland by the sea, where her teachers valiantly tried to make her fluent in Irish (she wants you to know it's not called Gaelic) but she chose to read books under her desk in class instead. The books most often found under her desk were Jane Austen, Margaret Mahy, Anthony Trollope, Robin McKinley and Diana Wynne Jones, and she still loves them all today.
After college she lived briefly in New York and somehow survived in spite of her habit of hitching lifts in fire engines. She began working on The Demon’s Lexicon while doing a Creative Writing MA and library work in Surrey, England. Since then she has returned to Ireland to write and use as a home base for future adventures. Her Irish is still woeful, but she feels the books under the desk were worth it.
The Demon’s Lexicon is her first novel.
1. Nick uses swords, Alan uses guns, but what type of weaponry would you prefer when battling demons?
I would like a giant titanium robot suit, with laser beams where the eyes should be, and one machete hand and one machine gun hand. I am a huge fraidy cat - I would want to be safe in the control seat of the suit, away from danger! I am also very lazy, so I would probably never get out of the suit. I would just sit in it waving my machete and machine gun hands at my flatmates, going 'I have been killing demons all day! I need a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit! THE SUIT COMMANDS YOU!'
2. Have you ever wanted to dye your hair pink like Mae?
No, but I did dye it screaming fire-engine red for two years. I really like bright colours, so I used to fiddle with my hair on buses like a cat with string and be perfectly happy. I admit in retrospect it probably looked a little strange with black eyebrows...
Pink was just something I came up with for a lot of reasons - partly because girls get stereotyped based on hair colour - fiery redheads, dumb blondes, and so on, and that's ridiculous, but a lot of redheads in books are pretty spirited... Pink hair wouldn't let me or anyone else fit Mae into a stereotype.
3. What made you write with a male lead character?
I think I'd seen a lot of books from female points of view in teen fantasy lately, and while a lot of them were excellent, I thought it would be fun to diversify. Plus I wanted to get inside the head of that guy - tall, dark, handsome and mysterious, in the know about the supernatural and who knows what he's thinking - and take him apart from the inside out. Of course, it turns out he's thinking 'Who knows what everyone else is thinking?'
4. Where do you like to travel most in the world?
Oh, I just love travelling anywhere. I live in Ireland, which is my beloved homeland but which is approximately the size of a pea, and my favourite city in the whole world is New York, which has the Strand and its miles of books, the Village and its restaraunts with excellent jazz, and a certain cocktail bar slash library. My favourite building in the world is the Duomo in Florence, which leaped out at me once from pouring November rain like a pink fairytale palace and which I visited every day I was there. And I got the settings of The Demon's Lexicon from a walking tour around England I did with a friend, visiting various cool and spooky places, and from living near London for a year going to Stonehenge on weekends!
There are millions of places in the world I'm waiting to fall for, too: my best friend and I are planning a trip to Japan in September, and one day I will convince someone to come to Egypt with me and I'll have adventures there!
5. So I read on the back of the book's Q&A that you enjoy country music. Any favorites? And how does swing dancing sound to you?
So many. Dar Williams, Hal Ketchum, the Dixie Chicks, and I will admit to a new fondness for Taylor Swift. Don't look at me like that - she writes her own songs!
I went swing dancing once, at a wedding. I had a great time, but after I hurt several of my fellow dancers, I slunk back off to dip strawberries in the chocolate fountain. That was also a great time, and involved much less pain for the other guests!
Hey, maybe my swing dancing is the weapon I should use to defeat the demons...
This has been a production of Traveling to Teens.