Ali: Please introduce yourself.
Sarah & Molly: We’re Sarah Biglow & Molly Zenk. Together we write Urban Fantasy, Dystopian, and Academy books. We have a Fairy Tale Retelling coming soon too. Individually, we write all those genres plus Sarah writes Cozy Mysteries and Molly writes Historical Fiction. Sarah lives in Boston and Molly lives in Denver. Our writing process involves each working in the same Google Doc or passing a Word file back and forth.
Ali: What’s the premise of Lucifer’s Emblem?
Sarah & Molly: Lucifer’s daughter, Zuri, discovers a thief stealing her father’s powerful angelic relic and follows them to Celestial Academy — a school for the children of angels and saints. She goes undercover as a student to find and stop the thief from breaking the relic’s seal and bringing about the Apocalypse. Along the way, she is forced to be roommates with Miryam (“Miry”), Archangel Michael’s daughter. An uneasy friendship and alliance blooms between them which may lead to more in future books.
Ali: Zuri is a real kick-ass character, what are the qualities of a strong female character in contemporary storytelling?
Sarah & Molly: Important qualities are self reliance but an ability to accept help when needed, not tearing other women down, and portraying female friendship in a positive light. Zuri also has a very strong sense of self. She’s the most self aware character, but also willing to bend her views on others once she gets to know them. She wants to understand people (especially Miry) and not write them off based on first impressions.
Ali: One of my favorite things about Miryam is her byline, is that byline based on someone in real life? (I’m Miryam bat-Michael. I got this.)
Sarah & Molly: The byline isn’t based on anyone in real life. For Miry, she needs to believe she can safe herself. She doesn’t need a man or her friend to save her. She’s got this.
Ali: Could you explain the naming conventions for those who aren’t familiar with ancestral familial naming conventions?
Sarah & Molly: For the Celestial Academy series, we pulled from a lot of different sources — mainly Jewish and early Christian. In the Hebrew tradition, girls last names are bat-<dad’s name>. Boys would be ben-<dad’s name>. Zuri and Miry’s last names literally mean “daughter of Lucifer” and “daughter of Michael”.
Ali: And this is a bit of a prefaced question. Still, Lucifer’s Emblem is perfect for Cassie Clare fans. It offers a bevy of similar young adult questions and a diversity of characters; you could go so far as to say that the theme of this overall book is the ‘crisis of identity.’ Do you feel that books that look unflinchingly at broader aspects of identity give readers more space to become a part of and more freedom to interact with the real world?
Sarah & Molly: In terms of crisis of identity, that’s a good point. Everyone is trying to figure out who they are in this world and whether they want to be defined by what society says they should be. Not just race or sex or sexual orientation, but class too. You have the right to change how people see you. Whether that allows readers to really dive into the world, well, we hope so. We hope that some readers might see themselves a little in some of the characters. Quite literally, there was a crisis of identity with Beelzebub. They didn’t feel as if they fit in anywhere. Even the so called “bad guys” aren’t all bad. They have understandable problems. Villains think they are the hero of their own stories.
About Sarah Biglow:
USA Today bestselling author Sarah Biglow is a lawyer, tv addict, wife and mother.
With a passion for cozy mysteries, urban fantasy and paranormal romance, she is the author of the Geeks and Things cozy mystery series and the co-author of the bestselling Captivity series.
She owes much of her writing career to National Novel Writing Month (find out more here) and has been an active member of the Boston region since 2009. NaNoWriMo as it’s known by its participants not only gives writers an outlet to get their stories down on paper, but it helps promote literacy worldwide.
Sarah adores connecting with readers so reach out any time!
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About Molly Zenk:
USA Today Best Selling Author MOLLY ZENK was born in Minnesota, grew up in Florida, lived briefly in Tennessee, before finally settling in Colorado. Molly is married to a Mathematician/Software Engineer who complains about there not being enough “math” or info about him in her author bio. They live in Arvada, CO with their daughters.
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