20-year old Aussie wunderkind Alexandra Adornetto has another bestseller in the wings

At twenty – an age when many young people are just starting out in their careers – Alexandra Adornetto is already a hugely successful international author.  Since publishing her first book at fourteen, Alexandra has written five more bestsellers, moved to the United States, started university, and is  now also pursuing an acting and modelling career in LA.

Heaven is the third and final book in the acclaimed Halo trilogy – one of the original angel romance novels published both in Australia and internationally.  In this page-turning and eagerly anticipated conclusion to the series, angel Bethany and her mortal love Xavier are faced with their most daunting challenge yet – The Sevens, a military order of angels designed to maintain balance in the universe. These soldiers won’t stop until their job is done – capture the wayward angel and send her home.

Age: 12+

Buy the book here…

Praise for Alexandra Adornetto’s Halo

‘Adornetto’s dialogue feels fresh and real, without any need to prove relevance … If it were not for young adult readers like her, the YA boom never would have happened and publishing would be much gloomier’ The New York Times Book Review

‘It’s remarkable how well-turned the language is, and how assured the plot, in this zippy and evocative young adult fantasy ’ The Age

‘Teenage wunderkind Alexandra Adornetto’s first foray into mass-market young adult fiction is a major achievement – commercial, sophisticated and hugely enjoyable’ Sun-Herald

About the Author

Alexandra Adornetto was born in Australia and now studies at the University of Mississippi. Her first novel was published by HarperCollins when she was fourteen and she has worked as an author ever since. Alexandra’s first series THE STRANGEST ADVENTURES was inspired by Peter Pan and written because she refused to grow up! The HALO series marks her international debut. Halo debuted at #4 on the New York Times Bestseller List and is now published in over 22 countries. Alexandra is passionate about country music, theology, acting and her dogs, Tinks and Ollie.

Alexandra Adornetto: Angel Aficionado (Part 2)

Continuing on from yesterday’s post:

ME:  So Alex, what should we expect from Book 2 in the Halo series?

AA: A lot more action and drama! As you can tell from the title (Hades) Book II is a bit darker in terms of themes and part of it takes place in Hell. There will also be a big twist at the end, but I have to keep that a secret!

ME: Halo has a definite romance to it – what do you believe are the elements of writing a good romance story?

AA: I think having personal experience of dating, physical attraction and heartbreak are very useful tools for writers to draw on in a romance novel. Usually, in all good romances, the protagonists are desperately in love with one another, but there are obstacles which have to be overcome before the lovers can be together. These obstacles test their commitment and add tension to the story. There is usually a threat or some imperfection in an otherwise perfect scenario. I think that’s what makes a good romance, the struggle for two people to be together in the face of any adversity. 

ME: Some think that angels are just trending, the same way vampires are. What do you say to that?

AA: Well everything has phases of popularity. I think the supernatural genre in general will always have a strong appeal. Anne Rice originally drew people to the idea of vampires and then Stephanie Meyer brought it back into fashion. JK Rowling rekindled our interest in magic. The same thing is happening with angels right now. But in five years it could be zombies or mermaids that dominate the scene.

Now for the most important questions…

ME: Best smell in the world is?

AA: My Chihuahua Tinkerbelle after I’ve just given her a bubble-bath. Otherwise she smells pretty bad.

ME: Your favourite curse word, that isn’t actually a curse word?

AA: Hell and fudge.

ME: OK, it’s the ‘if you were alone on a desert island’ question…which 3 books would you take with you, and why?

AA: “Wuthering Heights” because it’s an all time favourite, “Peter Pan” because then I could pretend I’m a lost boy and the Bible because it would keep me occupied and offer some hope of getting off the island!

ME: Which character from Shakespeare is most like you and why?

AA: Probably Juliet, given the way she falls in love so quickly. I tend to think with my heart not my head just like her.

ME: Savoury or sweet?

AA: Definitely savoury. I love anything salty.

ME: Favourite TV show as a child?

AA: The one with the hippos called George and Martha. Can’t remember what it was called…actually I think it was called George and Martha. 

ME: What do you think about the future of e-books? Should we embrace them; will they take over the world; should we stage a rebellion on behalf of poor paper- and hardbacks?

AA: It really depends on the person. For some people e-books will never replace the feeling of holding a book in your hands, but for those who for use the internet regularly and don’t have time to sit down with a book then it works really well.

ME: Tell us one thing your readers would be surprised to learn about you.

AA: Probably my taste in music. I’m a huge fan of old-school American country music (outlaw country/Bakersfield sound.) I love artists like Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, David Allan Coe and Johnny Cash. I play it 24/7 at my house and it really gets me the right mood to write.

ME:So what’s next for Alexandra Adornetto?

AA: At the moment I’m working on HADES and HEAVEN, the next two books in the HALO series. But I’m passionate about acting and performing so I would love to pursue that in the future. 

ME: Imagine you had a very specific time machine that could only take you ten years into the future. Describe what you see of yourself, and what you’re doing.

AA: Hopefully married with children and working as an actor/writer. I’d like to live on a ranch in Nashville or Austin, Texas and have a horse named Brandy.

***

If you’d like to keep tabs on Alex, you can check out her Facebook page. I’ll also be doing a book review on Halo here in the near future, where Alex will also be talking about her gruelling tour routine in the U.S.! Thanks to Alex for her valuable time, and HarperCollins for the opportunity!

Alexandra Adornetto: Angel Aficionado (Part 1)

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!

Angels versus Vampires – Alexandra Adornetto Weighs In

You may remember me discussing author Alexandra Adornetto’s new YA book Halo in an older post – and now Halo is released in Australia! Whoohoo! Check it out here.

 Since Halo signifies a rather grand departure from her Strangest Adventures days, I thought it might be nice to have Alex’s thoughts on the celestial beings occupying her brain…particularly since that other paranormal author Anne Rice has totally blown her cover and ruined my theory altogether (erm, thanks Anne).

So what does Alex think of angels in teen literature? Are they the next big thing…or has it already happened?

AA: Angels in teen literature are being hailed as the new vampires but that’s not entirely true. After all, they are two entirely different creatures. Vampires were once human; angels have never been human. Whilst vampires have a deadly and seductive nature – angels embody perfection to which humans can only aspire.

I think the current interest in angels reflects an interest in the paranormal in general. Angels have always been fascinating celestial beings who make appearances in the Bible to either deliver earth shattering news or warnings. They act as mediators between God and those on earth. Any being that transcends the limitations of mortality is bound to fascinate us.

HALO explores what happens when angels are sent to live and interact with humans on a daily basis. It describes the intensity of human emotions and how that can impact on these creatures that are supposedly completely impartial and detached from anything that might interfere with their heavenly duty. The aim of the novel is to show that humans can be so complex and so enthralling that even an angel falls in love with one.

Me: I’ve been definitely noticing a turn from the ‘dark angels’ idea to characters which are more ‘heavenly’ . Do you think this change represents a transformation in the YA generation’s psyche? A need to be closer to God, or religion/spirituality in general, perhaps?

AA: I think we’ve had a huge surge of vampire novels recently where the primary themes are blood, sex and violence. Maybe readers are just ready for a change. Also, I think there’s something refreshing about a book that doesn’t spell impending doom for all of humanity. Messages of hope and redemption are really important for young people. I think we all have a spiritual side, whether we associate it with religious belief or not and that’s what I’m trying to tap into.

***

Stay tuned for my extended interview with Alex, where we talk all things Halo…and random other stuff.

Angels in YA Literature (Part 2) – Closer to Godliness

An article in The Guardian, published April 2010, discusses Philip Pullman as a possible trendsetter for the current onslaught of angels in YA fiction. One of the voices of the article claims that “on the ladder that goes up from the mushroom to God, angels are one rung above us”– angels are seen as superior to vampires because they are superior to humans and thus, are “more fertile ground” for the inspired author and the greedy YA reader.

In the second book of the His Dark Materials trilogy, Pullman introduces a pair of supernatural lovers in the form of homosexual angels, who meet with the tween protagonists in one of the parallel worlds featuring prominently in the trilogy. Whilst the angels are not major characters in the series, their presence is significant not only for the connotations to Milton’s Paradise Lost (Pullman cites the story as one of his major inspirations), but also because their description is a massive departure from previous religion connotations of winged beings. The ‘nouveau angels’ from Pullman’s books in their own unusual manner and description express a need for companionship, and feelings of desire and love – previously human-only traits.

Angels in YA literature, as touched on in Part 1 have become like teen humans, hormones-a-racing and usually with something to prove. It should come as no surprise then, that teen protagonists in these supernatural novels are now being written by their contemporaries – teens themselves.

On the homefront, Alexandra Adornetto, at the tender age of 17 has three books to her name from when she signed a publishing deal with publishing giants HarperCollins, and is now embarking on an entirely different journey with Halo, due for release later this year. The twist lies in the way the angels in this book are portrayed – they’re not the tortured, dark supernaturals we’ve come to expect, but rather have their own more ‘heavenly’ reasons for investing themselves in earth’s affairs.

But Alexandra’s not the only teen Aussie on the brink of international angel fiction fame. When I first picked up Charlotte McConaghy’s Arrival (Book 1, Strangers of Paragor) mid-2009, I’ll admit it was total cover lust, and not much else. It was only when I’d finished reading, and completely fallen in love with the characters and the world-building of Paragor, that I discovered the author finished writing the book when she was 16! The heavily-anticipated second book in the series by Miss McConaghy, aptly titled Descent, has been released this month. While angels play a fairly small part in Arrival, there’s the promise of more angel action in the later books, portraying angels as the hero messengers – not so far from its original religious context as one would expect from a teen growing up in the age of Twilight, Hush,Hush and Fallen.

The overwhelming feeling one garners from these books is that new Australian YA angels in fiction don’t fit the Edward Cullen mould. They seem, strangely, to be moving away from the tortured and tragic Byronic teen love interest. With Aussie teens themselves weighing in on the heavenly side of the angel craze, the character of the angel in literature lends itself to a new interpretation – is the craving for angel fiction in YA circles not in fact a generation looking for the new vampire, but rather the evolving natural rebellion of a generation in need of a character closer to God?