The many worlds of Alyson Noël
MANILA, Philippines - "I've always wanted to be a writer, but a mermaid or princess first," says Alyson Noël with a twinkle of girlish excitement in her eyes.
But with the way things are going now, she has already become a combination of all three.
You see, Alyson Noël is an author and a very successful one at that, having already written 20 published books for young adults.
Her fantasy fiction series, The Immortals, is a number one New York Times bestseller. All 6 of the books in the series, along with 4 more from another series, have been optioned to be made into films by Summit Entertainment, the same production company who brought the Twilight saga to the silver screen.
That's the author part.
And though Alyson isn't about to be proclaimed long-lost princess of a far-flung European kingdom or suddenly grow a mermaid's tail, she is as close as you are ever going to get to a magical being — one with the power to enchant the world and make us believe that there is more to ourselves and to our relationships than meets the eye.
Her talisman aiding her in these wonderful deeds are her fabulous books: tales of magic and occultism, thickly-woven plots, empowered young female protagonists and, of course, hot romance.
It was The Immortals series that sky-rocketed Alyson to fame, spinning the tale of Ever Bloom, a girl who falls in love with a mysterious, handsome immortal named Damien Auguste. He is an alchemist who has achieved immortality by successfully creating an elixir.
A hopelessly-in-love girl protagonist? Immortal beings? A cross-species, out-of-this-world love triangle?
If it's beginning to sound too much like Twilight, relax — the similarities end there.
Alyson, eager to disprove such comparisons, exclaims, "It's nothing like Twilight at all."
For one thing, there are absolutely no vampires in the book. For another, it takes as its central theme the nature of the soul and the price you pay for immortality.
Alyson's interest in becoming a writer sparked when she was 12 years old, after reading Judy Blume's Are you there God? It's Me, Margaret. She would then write a couple of short stories but nothing more.
Then struck the tragedy of 9/11 and Alyson had to face the deaths of 3 people she loved. It was her experience of trauma, fear and grief that finally convinced her that "It was time to go after this dream."
She worked odd jobs to support her writing, sometimes writing chapters while strapped to the jump seat of a plane before take-off back when she worked as a flight attendant.
In the process of achieving her dream, she has woven more dreams for others.
Alyson's books have captured the imagination of her mostly young adult female readers. When asked why she writes for teenagers, she enthuses, "(Young adulthood) is such a rich time to write about. It's when a person experiences so many firsts: first kiss, first love, first betrayal.
"That kind of intensity only comes once."
"Intense" is definitely one word you can use to describe her latest book, Fated, the first of the Soul Seekers series.
What else do you get when you mix a witch's brew of a girl who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead, lots of ravens and a boy with unearthly blue eyes who might just be her destined lover as well as ally to her worst enemy?
If alchemy is the occult art that inspires The Immortals series, shamanism is the heart and soul of the Soul Seekers series. Alyson even traveled to New Mexico to experience shamanism first-hand as practiced in Native American culture.
Daire Santos, the spunky female protagonist in Fated, is a "seeker"; or, in Alyson's fictional world, a modern-day shaman. She is aided by her spirit animal (another central belief in shamanism), the raven. Young readers (and even older ones in similar situations) will be able to relate to Daire, a 16-year-old traveling the world with her mother, deprived of a real home, lonely and unsure of who she is or how she fits into the world.
An avid reader since her pre-teens, Alyson is a staunch believer in the power of reading to broaden worlds and worldviews.
"Books allow you to experience different things through different characters without sacrificing your personal safety," she says.
That can definitely be said of her new book which brings readers not only to different parts of a world but from one world to another.
And so in many ways, Alyson is a seeker herself, navigating between a world where there is magic in the ordinary and another where magic is the ordinary. - Rappler.com
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