Author Interview - Libba Bray

by 7:12 PM 2 comments
Libba Bray is the author of The Diviners and other wonderful novels - Today she stops by to have a chat with us!

Tell us about The Diviners in one sentence!

THE DIVINERS is the first in a four-book series set in 1920’s New York City about a group of teenagers with supernatural abilities who are being drawn into an epic battle of good and evil in a story filled with politics, ghosts, serial killers, religious cults, jazz, the Harlem Renaissance, the Ziegfeld Follies, Prohibition, con men, conspiracy, and great clothes—and it all fits in one sentence.

What inspired you to write The Diviners?

Besides my deadline?
Lots of things, actually. I love history, and I’ve always been fascinated by the 1920s because it was such a rich period in American history filled with bootleggers and flappers, bathtub gin and Follies girls, organized crime and radio evangelists, anarchists and industrialists, wild parties and an eventual fall. And I’m a big fan of TV shows like “X-Files,” which manage to mix the paranormal and the political, a “Big Bad” (thank you, Joss Whedon) resting atop layers of conspiracy. (Wow. That sounds like the weirdest dessert ever: “Mmm, taste that serial killer soufflé with just a soupçon of possible treason!”) Anyway, I really wanted to play in that sandbox because, hey, I’m a fan of that sandbox. Last but certainly not least, I really wanted to find a way to write about/explore America’s deeply conflicted post-9/11 identity.

Did you have any major road bumps along the way?

I had some literal bumps—or breaks, rather. While I was finishing up my last book, BEAUTY QUEENS, I took a spill on the New York City streets and broke both of my elbows. That put me out of commission for a bit and made meeting my deadline for THE DIVINERS into its own crazy race against time. Fun!

We are all very excited now for Book 2 – can you shed any light on that one for us?

Yes. It will have too many pages. ;-)
There’s a character who shows up briefly in Book One, and she has a very big part in Book 2, as does Henry. We learn more about Project Buffalo and The Man in the Stovepipe Hat. And, of course, there’s more gin and ghosts. (As to whether or not the ghosts are drinking gin, I can’t say.)

I have to ask, who would you dream movie cast be?

I’ve been asked that a lot and I’m always embarrassed that I don’t have a great answer. I suppose because most of the characters are seventeen, and I’m not really familiar with the under-twenty actor set. I do happen to think that Saoirse Ronan who held her own in HANNA would make a great Evie. And Viola Davis would be a kick-ass Sister Walker. If you have any ideas for the dream cast, please feel free to send them my way.

Any other future books in the works?

You bet—THE DIVINERS is the first of a four-book series, so I’m guessing I should probably write up books two, three, and four at some point, eh?

Random Questions!

Any hobbies?

Besides procrastination and watching Dr. Who? I’m in a band, Tiger Beat. It’s comprised of all YA authors (Dan Ehrenhaft, Natalie Standiford, and Barnabas Miller). It’s a criminal amount of fun. We’ve got a gig coming up at the end of the month. I suppose I should learn those new songs…

Any special writing habits?

Like, “I’ll only write when there’s a southerly wind blowing” or “I must now don the panda hat of thinking. It is the way of things”?
I suppose I do have some habits now that I think about it. I’m very much a morning writer—I get started right after my son leaves for school, so around 7:30. I have a favourite coffee shop that I frequent. And I make up a playlist for every book I write. When I’m having a hard time getting into it, I just put my headphones on and press play. Oh, and snacks. I’m a big believer in writing with snacks.

Favourite book?(Apart from your own of course!)

I have so many favourite books that it’s impossible to choose. But I’ll give you the first one that came to mind: PASTORALIA by George Saunders. My standard description of this short story collection is this: If Samuel Beckett and “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” had a love child, and that love child was raised in a strange theme park commune by Uncle Frank Zappa with an occasional visit from Thomas Pynchon and Warren Zevon, that love child would be this book. That description either frightens or thrills you. It is funny, weird, surreal, heartbreaking and redemptive. It’s the book I give most as a gift—and not just because it’s cheaper than a nice houseplant.

About the author:

Libba Bray is the New York Times bestselling author of The Gemma Doyle trilogy (A Great and Terrible BeautyRebel AngelsThe Sweet Far Thing); the Michael L. Printz Award-winning Going BovineBeauty Queens, an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist; and The Diviners series. She is originally from Texas but makes her home in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, son, and two sociopathic cats.  You can find her at…oh, wait. You already did. Nevermind—you are a genius!

Author Links:

Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads -

The Diviners - 
Libba Bray
Released: November, 2012
Publisher: Allen and Unwin

Synopsis: 1920s New York. A teen clairvoyant. An old evil. It has begun...

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old home town and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City - and she is pos-i-tute-ly thrilled! New York is the city of speak-easies, rent parties, shopping and movie palaces, and soon enough Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfeld girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult - also known as 'The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies'.

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of it. Even Evie's new pals - hoofers, numbers runners and activists, but all swell kids - are drawn into the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer - if he doesn't catch her first...

Buy Links:

Claire Blennerhassett

Reader, Blogger

Twenty-something | book-blogger | tea-drinker | procrastinator | wannabe-writer | student


  1. Great interview, thanks. I've just discovered Libba Bray when I read Beauty Queens and tore through it. I can't wait to get my hands on this one.

  2. Great interview. I have one of her books, and I am looking forward to reading it as well as The Diviners.


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