Monday, August 11, 2008

Interview with Alyson Noël!

I know, I know, I haven't blogged in a while! But I've been so, so, so busy writing, and also, the library near my house is closed for a year, so going to the other one is kind of hard, considering I can't get there by myself. It sucks, I know. Anyway, I have an interview with the amazing Alyson Noël, author of Faking 19, Art Geeks and Prom Queens, Laguna Cove, Kiss & Blog, Saving Zoe, First Kiss (Then Tell)- an anthology, Cruel Summer, and the upcoming Evermore series, out in 2009. She's an extremely talented author, and I've read the first three books I mentioned and they were excellent. So here's the interview!

Why did you start writing?
I started writing really bad poetry that thankfully, no one will ever read, back in seventh grade. I was going through a very turbulent time dealing with junior high, my parent’s divorce, etc. and writing was a good way for me to deal with my feelings. Then later, in my high school AP English class, I used to hand in short stories instead of the critical essays my teacher assigned (don’t try this at home!). And I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful teacher (shout out to Mr. Sawaya!) who graded them as though I’d written the assignment. Then after graduation, I somehow switched from actual writing to talking about writing, until 9/11 happened and I was working as a flight attendant in NYC, and I knew that from that day on, my job would never be the same, so I figured it was as good a time as any to go after my dream--- and I’m so glad I did!

Who/What inspired your stories?
Most of my stories are inspired from my own life. In my senior year of high school I was sort of lost—just like Alex in my debut novel, FAKING 19. And like Rio, in ART GEEKS AND PROM QUEENS, I know what it’s like to be the new girl and have everyone hate you. SAVING ZOE came after a period of intense grief when I lost three people I loved in five short months and was faced with the serious illness of two others, and like Colby in CRUEL SUMMER, I lived in Greece too, Mykonos actually, for seven years!

Did you always want to be an author?
Well, first I wanted to be a mermaid, and then a princess, but after I read my first Judy Blume book, ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET, I knew I wanted to try to write like that too. Even though I’d always been an avid reader, Judy Blume’s books were the first I could directly relate too. They felt like they were written just for me, and my friend’s and all of the things we were going through. I was lucky enough to meet her last year, and I’m happy to report she’s as awesome as I hoped she’d be!

Could you see yourself doing anything else?
Well, I could see it, though I don’t like it! I’ve had so many jobs before this- babysitter, department store sales clerk, administrative assistant, office manager, tour guide, jewelry designer/T-shirt painter, flight attendant . . .but this is the only one where they actually pay me to make stuff up. And the fact that I get to do it in my sweatpants and slippers makes it pure heaven!

Is it difficult to write stories about fields of which you know nothing?
Actually, I really enjoy the research part—learning something new is one of the best perks! For my new paranormal series, EVERMORE, (coming Feb. 2009), I took a three-day seminar with world-renowned psychic/medium James Van Praagh. And though I myself didn’t see any dead people, I was completely amazed by a lot of the other exercises he put us through, and I learned a ton of stuff that helped with the book!

How time consuming is it?
Very. No, scratch that. Extremely. Seriously. But I love what I do so I am not complaining!

Do you feel it’s rewarding?
Absolutely! Writing young adult is the coolest experience ever! I get so many e-mails from teens saying they used to hate to read until they read one of my books, and for me, there are no sweeter words than that!

I was so surprised when I saw this email, I didn't think I'd ever get an interview with someone as awesome as her! And I know the pictures are out of order, but I couldn't do anything about it.


Alyson Noel said...

Aw, thanks so much! Your questions were great!

keri mikulski :) said...

Great interview!

Caryn said...

Great interview! I had to laugh when I saw that you used to hand in short stories instead of essays, too. I HATED analytical writing with a passion but I loved to spin stories, so I made every essay assignment as creative as possible. It usually took a few assignments before the teachers each figured it out and told me that it was all very well and good to be creative, but I did have to write an analytical piece, too. They were right, I suppose, but it's just no fun.

And as for writing being the only job where you've been paid to make things up, are you saying that you never, ever, ever used your imagination to embellish or even entirely fabricate a story while tour guiding? Ever? Or maybe that was just me. I used to get so bored with the same old stories when I was guiding that I couldn't help slipping a little of my own imagination into the retellings.

pamwritesromance said...

Would anybody affected somehow by Judy Blume please raise their hand?

*raises hand*

Thank you.

(Great interview, great answers--thanks!)

Alyson Noel said...

Caryn- Make stuff up--while tour guiding-- who me??? I'll never tell! And I still abhor analytical writing to this day!

Hey Pam- I met Judy Blume last year at ALA and she was so amazing, and I was a blubbering, gushing, embarrassing fool . . .oh well.

Amy Addison said...

Great interview!

viabloomington said...

Great interview!

stuck in the suburbs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stuck in the suburbs said...

alyson noel is so kewl!
i just finished reading kiss and blog and now i'm starting saving zoe.
i also have faking 19 in line -i hear it has some veronica mars charm ^^- and already read art geeks and prom queens.
thank you alyson for the good times.
and thank you interviewer! the interview is awesometastic!