This girl really needs no introduction, but I’ll give her one anyway. Way back in 2006, publishing giant HarperCollins took to the ‘slushpile’, gave some attention to a 14 year old’s unsolicited manuscript – and the rest is history.
My, how things have changed … they grow up so fast, don’t they? Now, with the Strangest Adventures series under her belt, Alex has hitched her writing harness to a very different idea with Halo, a YA fiction focusing on a bunch of angels who get in touch with their ‘human’ side.
ME: Hi Alex, thanks for the fabulous opportunity to chat to you about your upcoming novel, Halo, and letting readers in on what’s happening in your life at the moment. On a scale of 1-10 (1 being ‘not very’ and 10 being ‘super, uber’) – how excited are you to have Halo published and ready for the public?
AA: Um…11? Super-uber excited sounds about right. I’ve been working on the HALO project with my publishers for a long time now and it’s been a very intense process. We’ve gone through so many different drafts of the manuscript and numerous cover ideas, so it’s wonderful to finally have the book out there on the shelves.
ME: What’s the biggest difference this time around as compared to your first publishing experience with The Strangest Adventures trilogy?
AA: HALO is a YA novel and completely different to my first series. I’ve also been in the publishing industry for five years now so I’m familiar with all the processes. I’m working more closely with my publishers in terms of marketing and promotion as well as the editorial side of things. I’m writing as a teenager about the world of teenagers – that is the biggest difference.
ME: For all the potential readers out there who haven’t had a chance to learn what Halo’s all about, let them know…in limerick form:
AA: Three angels descend from above
They represent heaven’s white dove
But the youngest one
Who God may now shun
Goes and falls head over heels in love….with a human
That last bit doesn’t really fit but it’s essential to the plot-line! A battle between heaven and hell breaks out and Bethany and Xavier (our two lovers) are caught in the crossfire.
ME: Bethany, as the protagonist, is what I’d politely term as a ‘goody-two-shoes’. She’s incredibly sensible most of the time – did you have someone in mind as you wrote her character? Was there a sense that your character should be a good role model for YA readers, for instance?
AA: Bethany is actually based on me (apart from that fact that’s she’s an angel) so I guess that makes me a goody-two-shoes! I’m a teenager so it’s not hard for me to imagine the life that Beth finds herself thrown into. In fact, most of her feelings for Xavier and her interactions with family and friends are based on my own personal experiences. Being a teenager is a time of drama and heightened emotion and I’ve tried to convey that to my readers.
ME: What made you decide to go against the grain, and write about angels that are actually, erm, angelic?
AA: I had a religious upbringing so in my mind I view angels as classic, righteous, biblical creatures, who are both graceful but also formidable when they want to be. To me, fallen angels are too similar to the idea of vampires. I wanted to stick to the classic ideas of Heaven and Hell that I’m familiar with and I find that the bible is an amazing reference-point. Throughout history angels have been icons of hope and salvation. They’ve been used in literature, art and film and I think they’re very powerful symbols.
ME: You’ve been fairly outspoken in the media in the last couple of years about your political/ religious/ personal views – how do you feel about the myriad of reactions you’ve received in relation to those articles, and does it deter you from voicing publicly any ‘controversial’ opinions in the future?
AA: I realise that I have fairly conservative beliefs and they’re not going to be shared by everyone. There have been some very strong reactions to my articles, but I think those people forget that I am only expressing my personal opinion on various subjects. I am definitely not deterred from expressing my beliefs – we all have a right to do that.
I like a girl who speaks her mind! Itching for more, blog readers? I promise you Part 2 tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled!