Q&A: ‘Evermore’ author on immortality, teen angst, her next book June 19, 2009Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors.
Tags: Alyson Noel, blue moon, Immortals
Alyson Noel is a grownup, but she captures all of the insecurities, angst and heartache of a teen that I wondered how she did it. So I asked her. The first book in her Immortal Series EVERMORE — a No. 1 NYT bestseller– is about teenager Ever, who
survives a car crash that kills her parents, younger sister AND the family dog. Now she’s not only dealing with survivor guilt but also this new ability to hear thoughts around her. And then she meets Damen, the cute new boy at school. (Book No. 2 — BLUE MOON — is due out July 7.)
Stay tuned: In two later posts, Alyson shares writing tips, and she’ll talk about her blog and why it’s important for authors to be on the Web!!
Q. What gave you the idea for EVERMORE and the Immortal series?
A. Grief—pure and simple. A few years ago I lost three people I loved in five months, and shortly after that I nearly lost my husband to leukemia (he’s in full remission now!). Experiencing that sort of intense grief and fear got me thinking a lot about life and death, mortality and immortality, the bonds that tie us even after a loved one is gone, and how our youth loving culture sort of seeks physical immortality by trying to remain youthful looking for as long as we can—and yet, what would happen if we really could achieve it? What would it mean for us, our loved ones, society in general? And since I’ve been interested in all things paranormal since I was a kid, Ever and Damen’s story seemed like the perfect vehicle to explore all of those themes.
Q. On dealing with grief, how has writing the series helped you heal?
A. It’s helped me work through a lot of the same emotions that Ever experiences — grief, loss, loneliness, and the horrible ache of missing a loved one who’s gone. It also provided a nice escape to a world of my making where the consequences and outcomes are in my control!
Q. I know you research like crazy for your novels. Your blog said you were recently at The Getty looking at a piece of artwork for the third book in the series — SHADOWLAND (expected release January 2010). What types of research did you do for EVERMORE and BLUE MOON?
A. The research I’ve done for this series has been eye opening, mind-blowing, fascinating, and fun! I took a three-day, psychic development course with world famous medium James Van Praagh that exceeded all my wildest expectations, and I went under hypnosis for a past life regression with best selling author Dr. Brian Weiss, where I saw things I never could’ve imagined! I also read a ton of books on psychics, mediums, ghosts, reincarnation, near death experiences, past lives, chakras, crystals, you name it! And yes, I took a few field trips as well, like the aforementioned trip to The Getty museum where I checked out an exhibit I reference in SHADOWLAND, as well as a really fun trip to the “Shake Shack” in Crystal Cove where I pretty much had no choice but to consume a variety of milk shakes to ensure I got the flavors just right. Oh how I suffer for my art!
Q. Does it surprise you that many of your fans are not teens? Why is that? Do you think the idea of immortality weighs more heavily on the older reader’s mind than the teenage mind? (I can’t imagine that many folks wanting to re-live teenage angst! And teens think they will live forever!)
A. I love that I’m hearing from so many adult readers. There are so many good reads on the YA shelves these days and it’s great that those books are gaining a cross-over audience. And while I certainly didn’t pay much heed to my own immortality until a few years ago, I think the real appeal is adolescence itself. It’s such a pivotal, powerful, defining time — filled with so many changes, so many firsts — and once it’s over there’s no going back except through books! Books allow you to relive the rush of that first kiss, the pain of lost friendships, the exhilaration of first love — the universal experiences we all share. And even though most of us are glad to get through our teen years, we’re shaped by them in more ways than we realized at the time.
Q. You live in O.C. and EVERMORE was sprinkled with great local references, such as the date shakes! Will you continue to keep the local references in the rest of the books? (Maybe there will be an Ever/Damen tour of O.C.?)
A. It’s so much fun to include all of the local landmarks, and it’s definitely something I plan to continue! As far as an Ever/Damen tour goes, well all I can say is I’ll be the first in line at the “Shake Shack”!
Q. You’ve got excerpts up from the first three chapters in BLUE MOON. And we know Ever is facing a decision — and wow — you have time travel in this! But anything else you can share about your characters? Ever seems rather annoyed/irritated still with Damen’s past loves. Will she get over this? Are the two really meant to be? Or is there someone else possibly?
A. I really enjoyed writing BLUE MOON because Ever really starts to come into her own and is forced to reach deep within herself to make a heart wrenching decision in order to do what she feels is right on a bigger, more universal, level, and not just what’s right for her. And yeah, she’s definitely more than a little insecure about Damen’s past, but then Damen with the ex-wife and the 600 years of dating under his belt is pretty intimidating to someone as inexperienced as Ever! And while I can’t possibly answer the last part of your question (talk about a spoiler!), I will say that they both will continue to have some very big obstacles to face and whether they make it or not—well—time will tell!
Q. I’ve read the series may now contain 5 novels. How many do you think you’ll write?
A. Well, I now know there will be more than five—how many more, I’m not sure!
Q. If this becomes a movie or TV series, who would you cast in the main roles?
A. Well, it’s funny because on the one hand I’m such a visual writer—I can see my characters so clearly I often feel like I’m merely transcribing the movie in my head! And yet, on the other hand, because I know them so well, it’s hard for me to cast them with real, live, actors in mind! Though a few readers have mentioned Ben Barnes for Damen, and I must say, after Googling him I’ve found him to be suitably dreamy!
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