Tuesday, July 7, 2009

10 Questions with Alyson Noel

Alyson Noel is here to talk to us about Blue Moon, book 2 in the Evermore series:

Just as Ever is learning everything she can about her new abilities as an immortal, initiated into the dark, seductive world by her beloved Damen, something terrible is happening to him.  As Ever’s powers are increasing, Damen’s are fading—stricken by a mysterious illness that threatens his memory, his identity, his life.

     Desperate to save him, Ever travels to the mystical dimension of Summerland, uncovering not only the secrets of Damen’s past—the brutal, tortured history he hoped to keep hidden—but also an ancient text revealing the workings of time. With the approaching blue moon heralding her only window for travel, Ever is forced to decide between turning back the clock and saving her family from the accident that claimed them—or staying in the present and saving Damen, who grows weaker each day...

Hey Alyson! Tell us a little about yourself as a writer. Do you outline, or wing it? Do you write daily, or in snatches?

I usually start with a brief outline that lists the general plot idea along with all the major turning points then I set it aside and get to it. And though I usually end up where I thought I would, the journey often changes as I get to know the characters better and they reveal knew parts of themselves.

Oh, and I pretty much write all day, everyday, whether I feel like it or not!

When – and why - did you begin writing?

I was always an avid reader, raised by a mom who introduced me to the magic of books early on. But it wasn’t until I read Judy Blume’s ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET, that I knew I wanted to be a writer too. So I started writing really dreadful poetry in junior high, and by high school I took to writing short stories that I used to hand in instead of the essays my teachers assigned. And though I took various writing classes through the years, it wasn’t until the tragic events of 9/11 when I was working as a flight attendant in NYC and figured a job change might be in order. That’s when I finally sat down and finished the manuscript that’d been living in my head for decades!

What was it liked getting published originally? What is your publishing journey?

Well, it was a little different from the usual journey, but that’s because I was so green and naïve I didn’t know there were “rules” I was supposed to follow! The short version is, I wrote a book, sent out query letters to publishers but not agents, figured I didn’t need one of those (wrong!) and got requests for fulls from pretty much all of them that were quickly followed by rejections that said basically the same thing—great voice/structure needs work. So I enrolled in some online writing classes where a fellow student led me to her agent who looked at my work, advised me to read STORY by Robert McKee to deal with my structure issues, requested a revision, (which I did!), signed me based on said revision, and a few months later sold it in a two-book deal to St. Martin’s Press and I’ve been writing for them ever since!

Tell us about your process writing
Blue Moon. What inspired you, and what did you struggle with?

I had a lot of fun with BLUE MOON because it gave me a chance to delve into the characters in a much deeper way. Damen was kept purposely mysterious in EVERMORE, but in BLUE MOON I got to reveal a lot more of him, his past, and what makes him tick. And Ever starts to really come into her own as well, and is faced with some heart-wrenching decisions between her past and her present and must summon the strength to do what’s right on a bigger, more universal level, and not just what’s right for her.

The challenge was that I’d never written a series before since my previous books were all standalones. Which means I hadn’t really kept track of all the little details like hair and eye color and rules of “the world.” So I had to go back and reread EVERMORE, taking notes along the way that I keep in a notebook that grows with each book!

What’s the vision for your
The Immortals series? Where do you see it going?

There will be six books, and though I’ve known the ultimate end since the start, the journey keeps growing and changing along the way, which makes the writing really fun!

I’m sure over the years you’ve gotten your fair share of good reviews – and bad ones. How do these reviews impact your writing? How much do you really take under consideration?

I celebrate the good ones and ignore the bad ones. Seriously, you can’t please everyone, so why bother trying—it’s fruitless. Writing to please reviewers can only lead to trouble, so I just concentrate on writing for my readers, and myself and hope for the best!

Here on Headdesk, I have a minor obsession with the rules of writing. Is there any particular rule you write by?

I’m not one for rules, I find them really limiting. The only one I subscribe to is “Thou Shall Not Bore!”

What’s next for Alyson Noel?

Well, right now I’m working on book #4 in THE IMMORTALS series, (no title yet!), and I’m thrilled to announce that I’m also starting a new middle grade series, the first of which will be out in Fall of 2010, starring Riley Bloom, Ever’s ghostly sister from EVERMORE.

If knew you a teenager who aspired to be a novelist, what would you say to them?

I’d say, “Read!”  The most helpful tools a writer has are other people’s books. The books you like—the books you don’t like—they all have something to teach you!

And then I’d follow that with, “Write!” Get in the habit of writing, whether it be stories, poems, in your journal, whatever. The more you read and write—the better you’ll get!

And lastly, “Live!” Don’t spend all of your time reading and writing, get out there and explore the world. Story is life—life is story. The two feed each other.

How do you hope to see yourself growing as a writer?

I just hope I can continue to write books that connect with readers. Ones that entertain, inform, and, hopefully, inspire. That’s all I ask!  

Thanks for coming, Alyson!

Thanks Mandy!!!

Alyson Noël is the author of Evermore and seven previous novels for St. Martin’s Press.  She lives in Laguna Beach, California, where she is at work on the next book in the Immortals series.  Visit her on the web at www.alysonnoel.com.


beth said...

Great questions! What a wonderful interview--thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

For someone who is taking a break from blogging you are kicking booty left and right! Great job on those interviews.

Creative A said...

Thanks both of you! I was terribly excited to get Noel over here. And thanks ralfast for the encouragement :)

Alyson Noel said...

Thanks so much for the interview!!

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