Thursday, February 05, 2009

Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Presents Alyson Noel

I had a big breakthrough yesterday in figuring out the other main character for The Nagging Idea, and now I think I know what makes him tick. It's fun to feel things starting to fall into place. It's like learning a Mozart choral work, where there are all these complicated things going on that don't seem to have anything to do with each other, but then once you've got your part down, it suddenly seems to snap into place with everything else, and then you can't imagine why it wasn't obvious from the start. Or maybe that's just me (I think I was annoying the people in my section last night at rehearsal when I started giggling madly after suddenly getting how it fit together so that this part that had seemed really hard became really easy because obviously that was the only way it could go).

Those who've been around here a while may remember me talking about a book called The Anatomy of Story and pondering the author's assertion that the characters needed to not only have a psychological failing (a character flaw that mostly hurts themselves) but also a moral failing where they're actually hurting others in the way they insist on doing things. This may be the first book I write where I actually have some element of that. We'll see if I can pull that off.

In the meantime, I'll talk about other people's books! This must be a big book-release phase because I've got another Girlfriends Cyber Circuit author on tour, Alyson Noel. The last time I went to New York, I went with Alyson and her husband to this really cool swing club where she knew the bandleader. So now I guess it's my turn to play hostess in a virtual cyber sense to talk about Evermore, the first book in her new Immortals series.

Sixteen-year-old Ever used to have two parents, a little sister, a dog, and a nice house in Oregon. She used to be a varsity cheerleader and go to school dances. But that was before the horrible accident that claimed the lives of her family.

Now Ever blares the Sex Pistols through her headphones and hides under her hoodie in class. She doesn’t need to listen to hear, or see to know. All she needs is to touch someone to know their entire life story, not to mention always seeing their auras and hearing their thoughts. She’s been branded a freak at her new high school in Laguna Beach as she goes out of her way to avoid human contact, but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste.

From the moment Ever first looks at Damen, she feels an instant recognition. He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head. She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is. Damen is equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies, and nothing is as it seems…

And now, the interview:
Was there any particular inspiration behind this book?
Well, a few years ago I lost three people I loved in five horrible months, and just when the dust began to settle my husband was diagnosed with leukemia and it felt like my entire world was crashing down. A year later, when he was in full remission, I wrote SAVING ZOE and CRUEL SUMMER, both of which explore the subject of grief and unavoidable change. But when it came time to write my next book, I realized I wasn’t finished exploring those themes though I wanted to do so in a much different way, by giving the story a paranormal twist and pushing the boundaries between life and death, and EVERMORE just came pouring out of me.

What, if anything, do you have in common with the heroine of your book?
Despite the fact that I’m not currently 16 years old or psychic, I totally get how Ever feels in the world—sort of jolted, misplaced. That’s exactly how I felt when I was her age.

Being able to read the thoughts of others and know everything about them makes life difficult for Ever, but I think there might have been times when I was a teen that I would have wanted to do that. Would you have wanted that kind of power as a teen, and what would you most have wanted to find out? Or is there something you really wouldn't have wanted to know?
As a teen, I definitely would have wanted that power, but now—not so much. As Ever says, “Sometimes even your best friends can think some pretty unflattering things, and not having an off switch requires a heck of a lot of forgiveness.” Though I’m sure I would’ve just squandered that kind of power back then. Using it primarily to peer inside a certain boy’s head, instead of, you know, getting answers to a test or something truly useful like that!

This is your first novel with paranormal elements. What led you to delve into the world of the "woo-woo"?
You know, I’ve been fascinated by all things paranormal since I was a kid—seriously, CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST was my favorite cartoon—so I’m actually kind of surprised that it took me so long to write one of my own. But I’m so glad I did because writing this series has been an absolute blast, allowing me to delve into all sorts of mystical things I’ve always been curious about. I took a three day psychic development seminar with world renowned medium, James Van Praagh, and went under hypnosis in a past life regression with bestselling author, Dr. Brian Weiss—all under the guise of “research” of course!

What are you working on now?
I recently finished BLUE MOON, the second book in my IMMMORTALS series, that’ll be in stores on 08.04.09, and I’m about half way through the next book in the series, which, for the moment I refer to as UNTITLED BOOK #3, though I’m sure the title will change! And then there’s UNTITLED BOOKS #4 & 5 following that!

Is there anything else you'd like to say about this book or the process of writing it?
Not only is this my first foray into the paranormal, but it’s also my first stab at writing a series, which I’ve found to be completely different from writing a stand-alone. And since I’ve never been any good at goodbyes, it’s been really nice to just settle into this world I’ve created and hang out with my characters a little longer than usual.

(I think that's the main reason everything I write seems to turn into a series.)

For more info, visit Alyson's web site. Or buy the book from Amazon.

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