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Alyson Noel Alyson Noel

FAQ: the Riley Bloom Series

In what ways are you similar (or different) to Riley Bloom?
Actually, Riley and I share a lot in common. I know what it's like to be the "baby" of the family, and though I hate to admit it, I've also been known to hog the microphone while playing Rock Band on the Wii!

How do you come up with your characters?
Honestly, I'm not really sure! The story idea usually comes first, and then as I'm busy working on all the ins and outs of the new world I'm creating, the cast just sort of appears.

What was your inspiration for the "Here and Now," the magical realm where Riley lives?
Back when I first started working on The Immortals series, I did quite a bit of research on metaphysics and quantum physics and ghosts and spirits and the afterlife, etc, all of which sort of fed into the concept of the "Here & Now." I guess in a way it's how I hope the afterlife will be.

Do you believe in ghosts?
In a word—yes. I've definitely experienced enough unexplainable phenomenon to ever rule it out.

If a ghost tried to scare you with your own worst fears (the way the Radiant boys try to scare Riley), what fears might they use against you?
I definitely drew upon all of my own worst fears while writing that scene—a crazy snake-haired clown wielding dental instruments is about as bad as it gets for me! The only thing missing was a really high ledge with no railing (I have a major fear of heights) but I wasn't sure how to fit that into the context, so I spared Riley that.

Did you grow up with an older sister the way Riley did? How many brothers and sisters do you have?
I have two older sisters, both of whom I completely idolized. There's a bit of an age gap between us, one is ten years older, and the other five years older, and trust me when I say that I did my best to emulate them. I listened to their music, watched their TV shows, and read their books—all of which was way more appealing than my own, more age appropriate stuff. And like Riley, I used to try on their clothes and make up when they were out with their friends, though I suspect that revelation will come as no surprise to them!

Where do you write your books?
I have a home office where I put in very, very long hours seven days a week—but I have the best job in the world, so I'm not complaining!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Well, first I wanted to be a mermaid, and then a princess, but ever since sixth grade when I finished reading my first Judy Blume book, Are You There God? It's me Margaret, I decided I'd rather write instead. I'd always been an avid reader, but Judy Blume's books were some of the first that I could directly relate to, and I knew then that someday I wanted to try to write like that too.

What would you do if you ever stopped writing?
Oh, I shudder to even think about it, I truly can't imagine a life without writing. Though I suppose I'd probably start traveling more. I've traveled a good bit already, both when I was working as a flight attendant and just on my own, but there are still so many places left to explore—oh, and I'd probably enroll in some art classes too—painting, jewelry making—crafty stuff like that.

What would your readers be most surprised to learn about you?
Not long ago, every time I finished writing a book I would "celebrate" by cleaning my house, which, I have to say, was sorely in need of it by then. But recently I've come to realize just how very sad and pathetic that is, so now I get a pedicure instead (and save the housecleaning for another day!)!