Alyson Noel is the best-selling author of Fly Me to the Moon, a book for adults, and several books for teens including Cruel Summer, Saving Zoe, Kiss and Blog, Laguna Cove, Art Geeks and Prom Queens, Faking 19, and The Immortals Series: Evermore, Blue Moon, and the upcoming Shadowland (available November 17). Here is the official bio from her site: “I was born and raised in The OC (although I never actually called it that until the TV show), but after high school I was so desperate to flee suburbia and see the world I took off for Europe, eventually settling in Mykonos, Greece where I lived for several years before moving to Manhattan where I worked as a flight attendant for a major airline, writing my debut novel, Faking 19, during long weather delays and boring layovers until the day I visited a friend in Newport Beach where I met my future husband and found myself right back in The OC where I live and write full time. There! Whew!” Alyson Noel is an incredible talent and her books provoke thoughts worth having in the minds of her readers just as surely as they keep the reader in suspense from start to finish. She’s a big-time writer and I’m honored she took the time to do this interview.
And now Alyson Noel faces the 7 Questions:
Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?
Well, believe it or not this list is constantly changing, but this week’s top three are:
WUTHERING HEIGHTS - by Emily Brontë
CATCHER IN THE RYE – by JD Salinge
THE ALCHEMIST- by Paul Coelho
Question Six: How much time do you spend each week writing? Reading?
Writing- Well, I’m on a pretty intense deadline schedule so I write everyday, pretty much all day, so my guess would be around 60 hours a week.
Reading- Well, the only downside to being an author is that I don’t read near as much as I used to, and most of the books I do read are of the research variety. I read them while I work out, while I’m waiting in line, and before bed—it’s sort of an accumulative thing that’s hard to track!
Question Five: What was the path that led you to publication?
The day I finished reading Judy Blume’s ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Judy Blume was one of the first to approach adolescence in such an open, real, frank way and I aspired to do the same. So I started writing poetry (really—bad—poetry) back in junior high, and short stories in high school, and though I took the occasional writing class through the years, it wasn’t until 9/11 when I was working as a NYC flight attendant, that I thought it might be a good time to change careers and pursue my dream. So I took some online writing classes where I expanded a short story I’d written years ago into a novel (which ultimately became my debut novel, FAKING 19), and met up with a fellow student who led me to my first agent, who, after a major revision, landed me my first, two-book deal with St Martin’s Press and I’ve been writing for them ever since.
Question Four: Do you believe writers are born, taught or both? Which was true for you?
Born. I think you can teach the fundamentals of writing, show someone how to structure a story, and all that—but that special way writers (all artists really) have of looking at the world, noticing all the details, assimilating them, adding, subtracting, and adding their own, unique, storytelling spin—that’s something one is born with. It’s a way of living, of being, that cannot be taught.
Question Three: What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite thing?
My favorite part is when I’m so immersed in the world I’m creating that everything around me fades into the background and the words are flowing faster than I can type them—those moments are magical!
My least favorite part is plotting. I’m always eager to just jump in and get going! But plotting is essential, it’s the map that’ll get me through the rocky terrain I inevitably find myself in, so, I plot, whether I like it or not!
Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)
I think it’s important to just let yourself write without judging. Nothing’s ever perfect the first time around or even the fifth. Writing is all about rewriting, but you can’t revise a blank page so you have to allow yourself to start somewhere.
Also, if you truly want to write for a living then it’s important to educate yourself about the business. Join professional writer’s groups, read agent blogs, read books on writing, whatever you can to learn the ropes. It’s a really tough business filled with lots of rejections and a long line of people who seem like they’re just waiting for the opportunity to say No to you. But if you really want it, you’ll learn to scale those brick walls, and keep going. Stay positive, stay focused, and remember it only takes one Yes to get you where you want to go!
Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?
David Sedaris, and it’s my treat! Because he is absolutely hilarious and brilliant and has the ability to make me laugh and cry in the span of one paragraph!
Actual Interview Date: 9/20/2009