Alyson Noël treats you to a fresh read with “Laguna Cove”! Catch the wave and follow her!
Hi Alyson! Nice to meet you there! If you could describe yourself with three words…
Mirthful, perceptive, compassionate
You are Sagittarius, aren’t you? They are known for being optimistic, straightforward but really careless. Would you define yourself as a typical Sag?
Um, yes. In fact I should have used those three words to answer the first question!
Now let’s talk a bit about your latest teen novel, Laguna Cove…
Laguna Cove was a really fun novel for me to write, and the experience was somewhat different from my others in that it was written in the third person, and involves more of a group protagonist. It’s about four teens, who on the surface, appear to have it all- looks, talent, brains, and a cool zip code. But they’re each faced with some major issues to resolve like divorce, death of a parent, painful break ups, changing friendships, securing a place in a new school when the most popular girl hates you, competition and the high price of winning and staying on top, and walking the fine line between pleasing your parents and being yourself. I grew to really like these girls and they became very real to me!
Your debut adult novel, Fly me to the Moon, will be out in December 2006. Tell us a bit more about it!
Well, since it’s my first adult novel I’m really excited about it. It’s a fun, funny, romantic comedy about a 28 yr old flight attendant living in NYC and traveling the world as she tries to mend her broken heart, build a new life, and follow her dream. I had a lot of fun writing this one as I worked for a major airline for over ten years and there’s no shortage of drama and humor at 30,000 feet. Also, oddly enough some people are still under the impression that it’s a glamorous job, so I wanted to set the record straight on what it’s really like to wear those wings.
THE PITCH or “Why should we read Laguna Cove” ? 🙂
Well, my nephew tells me it’s really good and “not at all boring”- which is high praise coming from him! But it’s also a fun, funny, poignant, and realistic look at what it’s really like to live in “the real OC.”
Art Geeks and Prom Queens (Alyson’s second novel) won prestigious prizes. Can you tell us more about this novel?
Well, this book is pretty special to me since I know what it’s like to be the new girl in school and have all the other girls hate you! It happened to me when I was a kid, and I’ll never forget how bad it felt. I always wanted to write a book about girl bullying, yet I wanted it to be about a girl who on the surface appears to have everything, yet feels just as unsure and insecure as everyone else. In high school, where conformity rules, it can be a real struggle to feel okay with just being yourself, but I wanted to show that it’s still the best way to go.
You have a really exciting life, you travel a lot. Can you tell our readers, how did you start writing?
Exciting? Really? Hmmm. Well, I’ve always wanted to write, ever since I finished my first Judy Blume book. And in my high school AP English class I used to turn in the short stories I’d written instead of the actual assignment- luckily, I had an understanding teacher! But I didn’t start writing seriously until just after 9/11 when I was working as a flight attendant and living in NYC, and I knew it was time for a change. So I signed up for an online writing class, and gave it all of my attention. Then on 2/4/2004, I was returning a rental car after a long weekend in Las Vegas when my agent called to tell me that I was just offered a two-book deal with St. Martin’s Press- it was one of the best days of my life!
You’re a great traveler…you lived in the USA (of course 🙂 and Europe…what is your best traveling memory?
A few years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Morocco. And after an incredibly long journey of planes, trains, and automobiles (literally!), we were dropped off in the middle of the Medina in Marrakech. The sun had just set, the entire square was lit by the full moon, we were surrounded by snake charmers and women in veils, and it all seemed so mysterious and exciting. We contacted our hotel and they sent a boy with a wheelbarrow to carry our bags. He loaded them up, then took off down these narrow, unmarked, dirt streets, making sudden twists and turns as we struggled to keep up. Finally we came to these huge wood doors, which opened to the most beautiful courtyard I’d ever seen. And after we got settled in our lush and amazing room, we enjoyed a seven course meal in that fragrant, candle lit courtyard. We had it all to ourselves, and it was magic.
How do you usually work (when, where…)?
I write at home, in my office and I’m pretty much at it all day- only stopping for the occasional coffee break!
How do you react to the writer’s block?
Well, I don’t really get writers block- at least not the kind where I’m completely shut down and out of ideas. Though I do sometimes get a little stuck, but I can always remedy that by doing more research about the place, the story, or the characters I’m creating- that always gets me back on track.
How did you get published?
My debut novel, Faking 19, started as a short story for a writing class I took many years ago. When I finally got it into manuscript form I shopped it, unagented, and with no idea of what I was doing. I received a lot of rejection letters, but most of them were very encouraging. So I took a few more classes, found an agent, revised the whole book, and submitted it again, eventually getting the deal with St. Martin’s Press.
What’s the most difficult when writing a novel?
Having a life outside of the novel! I tend to get a little obsessed, spending days on end in front of my computer, engrossed in my characters lives, and rarely answering the phone or leaving the house. So finding a balance between work and play is an ongoing project for me!
How do you imagine your reader? You know, when you think: “there’s somebody reading my book right now”. Who do you picture then?
I don’t really picture anyone in particular, I just try to write the kind of book that I would’ve wanted to read at that age- one with relatable characters and real situations. And from the letters I get and the readers I’ve met, there’s no set type, they’re all very different. Some are passionate readers, some are reluctant readers, but I really love hearing from them and learning about their lives and what they take away from my books.
Could you tell us more about your upcoming projects?
Kiss & Blog is my next teen novel, and it’s coming out in Spring ’07. It takes place in my hometown of Laguna Beach, and is the story of Winter and Sloane, two best friends and life long nerds who make a pact to do whatever it takes to become popular in their sophomore year, promising each other that whoever makes it into the cool group first will hold the door open for the other. But once Sloane gets a taste of life on the A list, she leaves Winter behind. So Winter gets revenge by divulging all of Sloane’s dirty little secrets on an anonymous blog, which becomes more popular than she ever dreamed. Forcing Winter to decide if her retaliation is really worth the consequences. And if the price of popularity is one she’s willing to pay. And of course there’s a whole love story subplot between Winter and cool, dreamy, Rey.
Would you like to add something?
Other than Thank You for this opportunity, I have nothing else to say- you know all of my secrets now!
And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, what will you do with it?
Oh I love found money- and since it’s like a gift from the universe, I’ll try to spread the good karma forward. So I’ll give $20 to one of my favorite charities, then I’ll stop by Starbucks to get a venti skim latte, then I’ll head for the bookstore and pick up more books for my overflowing “to be read” stack!
“Tea or Coffee?”
Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ?Going out for a nice dinner with my husband, but still getting home early enough to read before bed!
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ?Even though I live at the beach, I still like to vacation at the beach!
Country or City ?I LOVE big cities! The energy, the shopping, the restaurants!
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ?Dramedy!
Shy or Easy-going ?Easy going, with the occasional bout of inexplicable shyness.
Serious or Funny ?I’m always looking for the funny!
Traveler or not ?Traveler. Big time.
Sporty or not ?Clumsy, uncoordinated, and so not sporty!
The leader or not ?Always the observer.
TV show: Tie between The Office and Entourage.
Movie : I have so many favorites, but if I have to choose one then, American Beauty
Book : This is torture! Again, I love so many books from so many genres! But since I’ve read “Catcher in the Rye” a gazillion times I’ll pick that one.
Music : ‘80’s rock and Classic rock- The Jam, Led Zepplin, The Stones, David Bowie, The Pretenders. . .
Food : French bistro.
City : Paris
Favourite place to write : My home office, it’s got everything I need.
Quote or motto: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it”.- Yogi Berra
Thank you, Alyson!
You can visit Alyson’s site http://www.alysonnoel.com