Posted on June 18, 2011 in Fantasy
, Young Adult
with 39 Comments
Joining me today is the super talented Alyson Noel! Alyson is the author of the Immortals YA series and the middle grade series featuring Riley Bloom! Up for grabs is a ARC copy of Shimmer (Riley Bloom #2) to one lucky winner (please see giveaway deets at the bottom of the post.)
I don’t read a lot of middle grade fiction, but I was mesmerized by Radiance! What made you decide to step away from the popular trend in teen fiction right now and write a book that, frankly, despite the fact that the main character is a ghost, is quite a joyful and happy book?
I had so much fun writing Riley in Evermore that she ended up getting a much bigger part than I’d planned. She just kept showing up—usually in some crazy costume and wig—and I kept allowing it because she was great to have around. So when my publisher approached me to write an Immortals spin-off series featuring Riley, I jumped at the chance, and I’m so glad I did because writing her series has been an absolute blast! Riley is an especially fun character to write—partly because she’s such a bundle of contradictions. She’s over-confident, sassy, more than a little bit snarky, and not one bit happy about dying just shy of her 13th birthday—but she’s also incredibly vulnerable in the way she misses her old life and her sister. Also, her being dead means she has no boundaries at all. She can travel anywhere she wants and deal with ghosts from any period in history, which keeps the storylines fresh and fun.
For those that haven’t read Radiance, can you tell us a bit about it in your words?
Radiance is about twelve-year old Riley Bloom’s adventures in the afterlife, which is far from the eternity of cloud-lounging and harp lessons she envisioned. She’s assigned a job—Soul Catcher, a guide—Bodhi, a curious boy she can’t quite figure out, and for her first assignment, Riley, Bodhi, and Buttercup return to earth to convince the Radiant Boy—a ghost who’s been haunting a castle in England for centuries—to cross over to where he belongs. A task Riley thinks will be easy-peasy (her words!), until she confronts him…
You managed to capture perfectly Riley’s innocence and capriciousness that’s so common to that age. I know it’s hard for me to put my mind in the right place when reading YA fiction, so I’d love to know how you write “kid” so well!
Despite my eagerness to create a series for her, the moment I sat down to write I had a moment of panic. I was so used to writing teenaged characters that I wasn’t sure I could get into the mindset of a twelve year old. But once I realized I didn’t have to write a “twelve-year old” per se, as no two are alike—I just had to write Riley, a character I already knew and loved—the story flowed from there. In a lot of ways, I can really relate to Riley. I know what it’s like to be the annoying little sister who totally idolizes her older sister, and then chooses to express that admiration by “borrowing” her clothing, makeup and jewelry! And I’m still very connected to that time in my life—despite the number of birthdays piling up behind me, I never really feel like a grown up—but more like a person who just happened to end up with a husband, a mortgage, and credit cards!
Is there any “musts” that you absolutely have to have in order to write, or get the creative juices flowing?
I have a home office where I write. It’s comfy, warm, and I painted the walls purple so I’d have something nice to stare at while I’m thinking up new ways to torture my characters. My writing ritual involves a scented candle, a cup of green tea, a playlist created for whatever book I’m working on, and a crystal necklace a reader gave me—once those things are all gathered and ready, I’m good to go!
I noticed in your bio that you like to travel. If you could take a month off and go anywhere, where would you go?
I’d probably head for Asia, I’ve never been to that part of the world and it would be fun to explore a new place!
Can you give us a bit of a teaser from book two in the Riley Bloom series, Shimmer?
In Shimmer, Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi are enjoying a well-deserved vacation after dealing with The Radiant Boy in Radiance, when Riley comes across a young ghost named Rebecca, and soon learns Rebecca’s not at all what she seems. The daughter of a former plantation owner, she is furious about being murdered during a slave revolt in 1733. Mired in her own anger, Rebecca is keeping the ghosts who died along with her trapped in their worst memories. Forcing Riley to find a way to help Rebecca without losing herself to her own nightmarish memories. I’m excited to share that book three in the Riley Bloom series, Dreamland, will be out in stores 09.13.11, with book four, Whisper to follow on 04.24.12!
Is there anything you’d like to share about upcoming or future projects?
Everlasting, the sixth and final book in The Immortals series, is in stores now! And I’m thrilled to announce that the dramatic rights for both The Immortals series and its spin-off Riley Bloom series have been optioned by Summit Entertainment. I’m also working on a new YA series, Soul Seekers, set to debut in May 2012. The series will take place in New Mexico and it’s about a sixteen-year-old girl who is able to walk among the Underworld, the Upperworld, and the dead—oh, and of course there’s a smokin’ hot romance too!
Visit Alyson at her website
Read my review of Radiance
Read my review of Shimmer
*Giveaway is for one ARC copy of Shimmer to one winner!
**GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED**
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