Aurora historian turns Austrian author’s fantasy into literary reality

As president of the Aurora Historical Society, Mary Ormond never considered herself a fan of the fantasy genre.

The retired librarian and Aurora resident loves books of all kinds, of course. But if someone were to have told her she’d be consulting on a romance novel for young adults about angels and demons she probably would have kindly suggested you take a flying leap.

For the last couple of months, however, that’s exactly what Ormond has been doing — lending her expertise to the literary talents of Austrian author Angelina Steffort, whose “The Wings Trilogy” is based in, of all places, Aurora, Illinois.

“I honestly can say this is one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done,” said Ormond, a longtime volunteer with the Historical Society and wife of recently retired West Aurora School Board President Neal Ormond.

The 35-year-old Austrian author, who also is an engineer and professional singer living with her American husband and their 10-month-old in Vienna, says she was enrolled in an intense MBA program at Indiana University in the summer of 2010 when, on a weekend trip to Chicago, she fell in love with the landscape and the people of the area.

Because Steffort had started writing “White,” the first book in the trilogy, shortly before her trip to the States, she said her mind was “continuously searching for settings that could fit the story.”

By screening Google maps, she “stumbled upon Aurora.” And after doing some research on the history, architecture and imagery of the city, Steffort found what she was looking for: “A beautiful city with character and a touch of mystery.”

“There is something about Aurora that caught me,” she said in an email exchange this week from her home across the pond. “And now I’m living part of my life there — at least in my imagination when I am working on ‘The Wings Trilogy.'”

Steffort says when she started out, she was cautious about using detail, as she did not want to make mistakes. For…

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