August 4, 2009
Interview with Alyson Noel
Today I have an interview with author Alyson Noel!
Where do you get your inspiration?
I steal from my life all the time, and the inspiration for THE IMMORTALS series was no different, it was derived from grief. A few years ago I 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.
What kind of research did you do for the Immortals series?
The research I’ve done for this series has been eye opening, mind-blowing, fascinating, and fun! I took a three-day, psychic development course with world famous medium James Van Praagh that exceeded all my wildest expectations, and I went under hypnosis for a past life regression with best selling author, Dr. Brian Weiss where I saw things I never could’ve imagined! I also read a ton of books on psychics, mediums, ghosts, reincarnation, near death experiences, past lives, chakras, crystals, you name it! I also took a few field trips, going to The Getty museum where I checked out an exhibit I reference in SHADOWLAND, as well as a really fun trip to the “Shake Shack” in Crystal Cove where I pretty much had no choice but to consume a variety of milk shakes to ensure I got the flavors just right. Oh how I suffer for my art!
When did you seriously decide to become an author?
Well, I wanted to be a writer ever since I finished reading Judy Blume’s ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET back in sixth grade. But other than some truly dreadful poetry written in junior high, and some short stories penned in high school, I mostly just talked about it, until the tragic events of 9/11 hit and I was working as a New York City based flight attendant, and figured I’d wasted enough time already and decided to go after my dream.
What in your opinion makes the Immortals series different from other Paranormal books?
Well, I tried to create a world that is both fantasy and very real at the same time. I’m fascinated by Summerland, psychics, ghosts, crystal power, manifesting, chakras, immortals, the philosopher’s stone, etc. So I drew upon those existing ideas and gave them my own spin. Also, aside from all the romance and suspense, there are much deeper questions at hand: Just what is true immortality? And is it worth the price?
How long does it usually take you to write a book?
My first book, FAKING 19 took approximately 15 years. Now I’ve got it down to a few months!
Where you a big reader or writer when you were growing up?
Big reader. Huge. I devoured every book in site. Though I didn’t start writing until junior high when my parents got divorced and things really started to fall apart in my world. And though my sad little poems were dreadful at best, they did get me through some pretty tough times. Then later, in high school, I used to hand in short stories instead of the essays my teacher assigned, and lucky for me, he didn’t grade them any differently. (PS- Don’t try this at home. Unless your English teacher is Mr. Sawaya, then feel free!).
What do you do when you have writer's block?
I refuse to believe in writer’s block. I won’t give it that kind of power. But whenever I get “stuck” I just go back and do more research into my characters and their world. I learned that from the genius that is Robert McKee (author of STORY) and it works every time!
What motivates you to go and finish a book? Is it the characters, the plot, ect?
The deadlines! (Only half joking!) That and the wonderful feeling that comes from seeing the characters through to the end of their journey. It’s such a bold, happy, swooshy type feeling—typing those two little words—The End—is the best!
If you could travel anywhere from a book where would it be?
I would really like to go to Summerland. I mean, I suppose if it’s real, then I’ll get there someday, but I’d really like to get there without dying! I think that would be really cool!
Thanks so much for such a great interview!
Thanks for answering my questions!