Alyson Noël is the #1 New York Times best selling, award-winning, author of FAKING 19, ART GEEKS AND PROM QUEENS, LAGUNA COVE, FLY ME TO THE MOON, KISS & BLOG, SAVING ZOË, CRUEL SUMMER, FOREVER SUMMER (a LAGUNA COVE/CRUEL SUMMER 2-in-1), KEEPING SECRETS (a SAVING ZOË/FAKING 19 2-in-1), the IMMORTALS series including: EVERMORE, BLUE MOON, SHADOWLAND, DARK FLAME, NIGHT STAR, and EVERLASTING, the IMMORTALS spin-off and the RILEY BLOOM series.
She is currently working on a new series for teens, SOUL SEEKERS, which debuted with FATED, and will be followed by ECHO, MYSTIC, & HORIZON in 2012/13.
1. Alyson, you’ve now completed two YA series, and are working on your third (The Soul Seekers). When you’re planning a series, do you have a clear idea of the start and finish points, or do you begin with a concept and just see how it evolves? Also, how difficult is it to leave a set of cherished characters when it’s time to wrap up a series?
With my first series, The Immortals, I didn’t actually envision it as a series until I reached the end of the first book, Evermore, and realized it was less of an ending and more of a jumping-off point for a much bigger journey. For both The Riley Bloom and The Soul Seekers series I’ve plotted them through to the end, so that each successive book leads to the ultimate climax.
Initially, I was surprised by how I attached I became to certain characters, and how much I missed them when a series ended. When I finished Everlasting, the final book in The Immortals, I was struck by an unexpected sense of loss, fueled by the realization that it was time for my characters and I to part ways. I’d spent so much time with Ever and Damen over the years I probably talked to them more than I did my own husband! Though luckily, it wasn’t long before I was able to turn my attention to Daire and Dace from THE SOUL SEEKERS, and I’ve grown so fond of them I suspect I’ll go through the same sort of loss when that series ends too!
2. Dramatic rights for both your Immortals and Riley Bloom series (a 10-book deal, no less!) have been optioned to Summit Entertainment. Your adult novel, Fly Me to the Moon, was snaffled up by Ridley Scott’s production company, with Sharon Maguire (Bridget Jones’ Diary) lined up as director. Congratulations! It’s obviously unbelievably mind-blowing news, but how nerve-racking is it to imagine your brainchild being interpreted by another person, in another medium? Do you get to have much input into the adaptations?
Along with the above mentioned deals I’m thrilled to announce that all four books in The Soul Seekers series- Fated, Echo, Mystic, & Horizon – were recently optioned by Cheyenne Enterprises! And as excited as I am by all the film deals, I’ve learned to divorce myself from any expectation for the outcome. Film is such a different medium that it’s never going to perfectly mirror the books. And while I’ve been in contact with Sharon Maguire a few times, it was mostly to answer a few industry questions as I was a flight attendant for over a decade, much like the protagonist in Fly Me to the Moon. Other than that I remain outside of the process. Though I am really eager to see the worlds I’ve created come to life on the big or small screen!
3. You wrote a number of ‘stand-alone’ novels before you began writing series. What was the catalyst for that change of format, and can you see yourself continuing to create series in the future?
Most of my books are inspired by events in my own life. My motto is: If an experience didn’t kill me, I will find a way to write about it! A few years ago I went through a time of deep grief when I lost three loved ones in five months. Then just six months later my husband was diagnosed with leukemia and I nearly lost him as well. Going through that time of loss got me thinking a lot about mortality, our life’s purpose, the soul’s journey, the enduring nature of love, and so I began writing Evermore as a way to grapple with my questions and deal with my grief.
Since then, I’ve found that I really enjoy writing series as it allows me to spend much more time with the characters and to send them on a much bigger journey than I can in the span of a single title. Though that’s not to say I won’t write more stand-alones in the future, I’ve got a few ideas I’m itching to explore.
I’m really enjoying Daire Santos. She’s a complex character with an amazing journey ahead of her. When I first began writing her, I admit to being a bit jealous of her life. Raised on movie sets with her make-up artist mother, she’s spent her entire life traveling the globe and hanging with celebrities—the kind of life I would’ve loved as a teen!
But as I continued to write her, I realized how lonely that nomadic lifestyle has made her. She’s never been to a real school, never had a real home, and never made any friendships that lasted past the final take on the movie set. And while that life has made her fiercely independent, worldly, and sophisticated, it’s also left her quite lonely as well. She’s so used to saying good-bye and changing her address that she’s built up a pretty tough emotional guard to spare her from heartbreak. But all of that’s about to change when she moves to the tiny town of Enchantment, New Mexico to live with the grandmother she’s never met, begins her initiation as a Seeker, and meets the dreamy Dace Whitefeather . . .
Alyson’s photo is courtesy of Nancy Villere