Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Interview with Alyson Noel, Author of Evermore!

First off, I wanted to thank everyone who posted questions and, of course I wanted to thank Alyson for all of her help this month. You rock, Alyson!

Without further adieu, please welcome Alyson Noel!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer full time?

Alyson Noel:

In sixth grade when I finished reading Judy Blume’s ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET. I was always an avid reader, thanks to a mom who introduced me to the magic of books, but Judy Blume’s were the first I could directly relate to—and I knew that someday, I wanted to do that too!

You wrote Fly Me to the Moon (which I loved by the way!), a book written for adults which was published after writing for teens. What made you write a story for adults?

Alyson Noel:

Well, I really wanted to try my hand at an adult novel, and since I worked as a flight attendant for Delta Airlines for over a decade, I’d always thought that would be a fun world to set a book in and luckily my publisher, St. Martin’s Press, agreed! But it was funny how it was actually way more difficult for me to get into the voice of an adult than that of a teen—I guess that says a lot about me!

What gave you the idea for Evermore and the Immortals series?

Alyson Noel:

Grief. Pure and simple. I’d lost three people I loved in five months, and shortly after that I nearly lost my husband to leukemia (he’s in full remission now!). Experiencing that sort of intense grief and fear got me thinking a lot about life and death, mortality and immortality, the bonds that tie us even after a loved one is gone, and how our youth loving culture sort of seeks physical immortality by trying to remain youthful looking for as long as we can—and yet, what would happen if we really could achieve it? What would it mean for us, our loved ones, society in general? And since I’ve been interested in all things paranormal since I was a kid, Ever and Damen’s story seemed like the perfect vehicle to explore all of those themes.

How much research went into the Immortals series?

Alyson Noel:

A lot! I read tons of books on near death experiences, psychics, life after death, past lives, mediums—you name it! I also underwent hypnosis to view my past lives, and took a 3-day psychic development class with world-renowned medium, James Van Praagh, which was really, really fun and eye-opening too!

What inspires you to sit at your computer everyday and see a project to the end?

Alyson Noel:

My love of creating worlds, characters, and telling stories—my readers whose e-mails, b-board posts, and letters, inspire me to keep going—and the fact that I’ve dreamed of this career since I was a kid and there’s nothing else I’d rather do!

Describe your workspace? I love hearing where authors spend most of their time writing.

Alyson Noel:

I work at home, in an office that doubles as a workout room. So along with the usual desks, computers, overcrowded books shelves, faxes, printers, phones, and chairs, there is also a treadmill, a recumbent bike, a small TV on the wall in case I need to watch Oprah, and one of those huge rubber balls that you’re supposed to use for . . .well, I’m not really sure, but sometimes I sit on it! It also has an ocean view, but I keep the blinds closed because I like to focus on my work without that kind of distraction!

What is your favorite YA book that you’ve read this year (or recently)?

Alyson Noel:

Well, my reading has been so limited lately, mostly relegated to research type books, but I was lucky enough to get an early read on some great books this year, like Courtney Summers, CRACKED UP TO BE, (in stores now!), Amanda Ashby’s, ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH (available now!), Cindy Pon’s SILVER PHOENIX (out in May), and Lauren Baratz-Logsted’s CRAZY BEAUTIFUL (out in Sept)—all fantastic reads!

Alyson was kind enough to answer the readers questions!

Judith Graves asked:

Writing in the paranormal YA genre - how do you feel about the inevitable comparisons to Meyer's Twilight?

Alyson Noel:

Hey Judith- I have the utmost respect for Stephenie Meyer and the TWILIGHT phenomenon. I think she’s done a remarkable job of getting a whole new generation of teen girls (and some boys!) interested in reading, and as an author, I’m grateful for that!

I think the comparisons are inevitable when one chooses to write in this genre, so I can’t say I really mind. I just aim to tell my stories in the best way I can and hope my readers enjoy the ride!

Kayleb asks:

How many books will be in the series please? Love the book already and I’m only like 150 pages in!

Alyson Noel:

Hey Kayleb- There will be five books in total, the second, BLUE MOON, will be in stores on July 7th, and I’m currently working on book #3, SHADOWLAND!

Heather M. Riley asks:

Did she have to kill the dog? I mean seriously wasn't it sad enough that her parents and sister died?


What made you decide to write about a non-traditional immortal (not a vampire/werewolf/etc.)?

Alyson Noel:

Hey Heather-

Well, to be honest, as an animal lover that did give me some pause, but I decided to do it because I wanted Ever’s loss to be as devastating as possible—and it was!

And as far as writing about a non-traditional immortal- well, that actually stemmed from going through my own loss. A few years ago, I lost three people I loved in five months, and just when the dust began to settle my husband was diagnosed with leukemia (he is now in remission) and it felt like my entire world was crashing down. Going through that period of extreme grief got me thinking a lot about life and death and what, if anything, really separates the two. It also forced me to face my own mortality, something I’d successfully avoided ‘til then. So when it came time to write my next book, I really wanted to explore those themes even further than I did in SAVING ZOE and CRUEL SUMMER, and the idea of “normal” people being thrown into extraordinary circumstances by becoming immortal really appealed to me.

Jordan_Morris asks:

Is evermore going to be a TV series or movie? WHERE WILL THE AUDITIONS BE?! I would love to play Riley. :D

Alyson Noel:

Hey Jordan- The dramatic rights to the entire series were purchased by Spring Creek Productions and Warner Horizon who would like to turn it into a TV series. But since they own the rights now, it’s all out of my hands. It’s also in the very early stages so I don’t think auditions will be held anytime soon! But if I hear of anything, I promise to post it on my website!

Thanks again, Alyson, for being a part of this month's YAedge Book Club! You've been awesome!