Thursday, November 12, 2009
“Up Close and Personal.” For every interview I will be introducing a literary personality discussing his views and insights, as well as upcoming literary events around the world.
Today’s interview is with Alyson Noel. She has a new sequence of novels call the Immortals series is well received by her fans. The first book, Evermore, is a New York Times Bestseller, and it was released in February 2009. The next book in the series, Blue Moon, was released in July 2009. It is another New York Times Bestseller. Ms. Noel’s third book in the series, Shadowland is now available for Pre-order at Amazon. The third book in the series Shadowland, will be released November 17th 2009.
Ms. Noel, has also written the novels Saving Zoey, Kiss & Blog, Art Geeks and Prom Queens, Cruel Summer, Laguna Cove and Fly Me to the Moon.
E.I. Tell us about the Immortals series for Young Adult. What drew you to attract YA readers with a different concept? What sort of feedback do you get from readers that have contacted you about the books?
A.N. Like most of my books, The Immortals was inspired by my own life. I’d gone through this horrible period of grief where I lost several loved ones in quick succession and then almost lost my husband to leukemia. In an attempt to deal and make sense of it, I started writing Evermore on the side (I was under contract to write Saving Zoë and Cruel Summer at the time), and I knew that in order to explore the themes I was interested in, it would have to be a paranormal tale. And since I’ve always been a fan of anything mystical and/or paranormal, I dove in headfirst!
As for the feedback, well, it’s been wonderful! I admit to being a little worried about its release as my first seven books were all realistic fiction, but I couldn’t be happier with the enthusiastic response of readers and how eagerly they’ve embraced Ever and her world!
E.I. What challenge or obstacle did you encounter in creating “Ever” while writing and creating her in your novel?
A.N. Ever was actually very easy to write. The grief I’d experienced easily mixed in with hers, and she just sort of grew and took shape in my mind. Her sister Riley was the biggest surprise, as she ended up getting a much bigger role than I first imagined, and I enjoyed writing her so much I was sad to see her go. Which is why I’m thrilled to announce that she’ll be getting her own series set to debut in Fall 2010!
E.I. How much creative control did you have with Ever and Damen in comparison to your previous teen novels? Do you always know a story's ending when you begin writing?
A.N. I’m lucky to work with such a fabulous editor, Rose Hilliard, who gives me full reign and only enhances but never interferes with my voice or my vision. And while I almost always know how a story will end (it’s the journey that shifts and changes along the way) I have to admit that while writing Evermore, I was so focused on the story at hand, it wasn’t until I’d reached the end that I realized it was really just the beginning, and so we decided to make it a series.
E.I. How do you weave so much information into your stories and yet you keep them so fast-paced?
A.N. That’s actually something I really used to really struggle with, but reading Robert McKee’s fabulous book, Story helped me immensely. He urges the writer to dole out the info only as we need it and not a moment sooner, which really helps avoid those much dreaded “info dumps!”
E.I. What was your biggest challenge in developing the characters, Damen, Jude and Ever? Did you work them out in advance, or did they evolve as you wrote the story? How did you overcome these challenges?
A.N. Damen is the one who evolved the most. In my first draft he was far too “good” and “nice” and “perfect” and it just wasn’t working for me—not that I have anything against good and nice and perfect, but it’s not always very interesting! It wasn’t until I really pondered his history, and the fact that he’d been around for 600 years, and I realized he’d probably accumulated his fair share of baggage along the way, and he suddenly became far more complex and more fun to write.
As for Jude, well, I love writing him. He’s so complex, and, at the moment anyway, we’re unsure just whose side he’s really on, and even though he’s pretty much just how I pictured him from the start, he’s definitely taken on more depth as the story evolves.
E.I. If you were asked to read a page from “Shadowland” is there one that you would personally select to share with your fans?
A.N. Page 233 because it shakes up everything Ever thought she knew for sure—it sets her whole idea of herself, her destiny, and her relationship with Damen off balance.
E.I. Do you find that the real story magic comes in the editing? Does the story continue to evolve for you even beyond the first draft? Do you have any particular approach to editing your work?
A.N. I love the editing/revising part—that’s when it all really comes alive! Though with my deadlines as tight as they are, I also revise as I go. I start each day going over what I wrote before, then I continue on to the new stuff. Then I revise several more times before I turn it into my editor.
E.I. When did you get the first inkling that your books might become wildly popular? Can you describe your feelings upon realizing this?
A.N. Just before Evermore was released a few things happened that hadn’t happened with my previous releases: I sold the foreign rights to Germany at Auction, the dramatic rights were optioned by Spring Creek Productions, and my publisher started getting really large orders from booksellers and retailers, and, we knew it had to be some kind of sign.
When I get the news that it had debuted on the New York Times Best Sellers List for Children’s Paperbacks I was at the dentist’s office getting my teeth cleaned (but I took the call anyway!), and on the way home I learned it had also hit the USA Today list, and that the film option deal had been finalized (it took several months to close), and I couldn’t help it, I just broke down and sobbed like a baby—thinking about the whole, long, difficult journey, from a pretty tough childhood and beyond, and I could hardly believe I’d really just realized a dream.
E.I. With ten books under your belt, how have you evolved as a writer?
A.N. Well, in some ways the writing process has gotten easier, but mostly because I’ve allowed myself to trust in it, to just go with it, and to get the story down, because I know I’ll revise it over and over again later. And in other ways, I feel like it hasn’t evolved at all! I just finished my 12th book, am starting my 13th, and as soon as I filled up the title page with the usual info, I got that same horrified, panicked, sinking-gut feeling—wondering how I’d ever find a way to fill up the next 300 and some odd pages! That, unfortunately, is something that never changes!
E.I. What can fans look forward from you in the coming months? Can you give us a hint as to what it's about?
A.N. Well, sometime in spring/summer 2010, Dark Flame, (book 4 in The Immortals series), will be in stores, then Riley’s series (no title yet) will debut in fall 2010, and there’s a good chance that book five in The Immortals series will also be released in 2010 (though I’m still waiting for a confirmation on that). And I’ll also have a short story in the Kisses From Hell anthology that was really fun to write. 2010 is going to be a very busy year!
Thanks so much for the interview!!
To learn more about Alyson Noel, please visit her website at: http://www.alysonnoel.com/
To purchase her books please visit http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_0_6?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=alyson+noel&sprefix=alyson
Posted by E. I. Johnson at 12:51 PM