Alyson: The moment I finished reading Judy Blume’s ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET back in sixth grade, I knew I wanted to be a writer too. I’d always been an avid reader, but Judy Blume’s books were the first I’d read that addressed the kind of issues I could relate to, and I knew someday I wanted to write like that too.
So I started writing really dreadful poetry in junior high, and short stories in high school, but mostly I just talked about writing until the tragic events of 9/11 when I was working as a flight attendant in New York City and thought a career change might be in order! That’s when I dusted off a short story I’d written long ago, and turned it into what ultimately became my debut novel, FAKING 19.
Martha: Please tell us about your latest book SHADOWLAND.
Alyson: At the start of SHADOWLAND Damen and Ever travel to Summerland in search of an antidote to reverse a powerful poison that turns their touch lethal. But instead of the cure they seek, they find something far more sinister: the truth about their existence and the fate lying in wait of an immortal’s soul.
As Damen fights to save them from the Shadowland, Ever turns to magick, hoping to break Damen’s curse. Along the way she encounters the mysterious Jude Knight, and finds herself drawn to him in a way that will test her love for Damen like never before . . .
Martha: Do you believe in crossing over?
Alyson: I do believe that some sort of energy survives long after the body is gone, yes.
Martha: Would you mind sharing your experience when your first book was accepted?
Alyson: Well, my route to publishing wasn’t the usual one, and the truth is, in the beginning I was so incredibly green and naïve I didn’t query any agents, I just went straight to the publishers and received a slew of rejection letters in return. Though the good news was that most of them said they’d love to see it again if I was willing to revise. So I set out to do just that, enrolling in an online writing class to try to figure out what I was doing wrong, and it was through a fellow student in that class that I met my first agent, who told me to read STORY by Robert Mckee to get a handle on some of my structure problems, and then revise my manuscript accordingly. So I took the next three weeks to do just that, then I sent it back to him, he signed me, and a few months after it went out on submission I was offered a two-book deal with St. Martin’s Press, and I’ve been writing for them ever since!
Martha: Where do you get the inspiration from for your books?
Alyson: I steal from my own life all of the time. Like Alex, the protagonist in my debut novel, FAKING 19, I was pretty lost my senior year of high school too. Like Rio in ART GEEKS AND PROM QUEENS, I know what it’s like to be the new girl in school and have all the other girls instantly hate you. Like Hailey in FLY ME TO THE MOON, I was also a NYC based flight attendant. Like Colby in CRUEL SUMMER, I lived on a Greek island for several years. And like Ever in THE IMMORTALS series, I know what it’s like to lose the people you love and to question the meaning of everything.
Martha: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Alyson: This is a really tough business, if I’d had any idea what I was getting into I may not have tried! That said, writers write, it’s what we do, and in the end, perseverance is key. Rejections are a given, the one thing you can count on. And even after you’re published they still come in from Hollywood, foreign publishers, reviewers etc, so it’s important to learn early on to not take them personal and to just keep on keeping on—it’s the only way. And never forget it only takes one “Yes!” to get you where you want to go!
Martha: Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?
Alyson: They can find me on my websites:
Martha: Anything else you'd like to add?
Alyson: Thanks for the interview!!!