Alyxandra Harvey is the author of numerous YA paranormal books, including the ongoing Drake Chronicles. Here she talks about some aspects of her chosen genre and how she relates to her fans.
First, an apology.
I’m sorry if I’ve become homework.
And I’m sorry if part of me finds that pretty freaking cool.
I get many requests for help on school assignments. Unfortunately, I’m rarely able to answer them— not because I don’t want to, but because when it’s school project season, I get handfuls of those requests every day. Enough so that I’ve added a section on my website with the kind of information students might need. I write about vampires, Victorian ghosts, Fae, zombies… that’s a lot of ground to cover!
Like all writers, I get asked about the craft.
The bad news is: there’s no secret handshake.
The good news is: there’s no secret handshake
So, my advice is pretty basic: write. Sounds simple, right? But a lot of people want to be writers— they don’t necessarily want to write. If you love to write, you’re halfway there already.
Keep at it. Like anything else, you need practice. Learn to finish something: a poem, a short story, a novella. The fire at the beginning of a story can flicker once you’re a few chapters in. You can get distracted by shiny idea #15, and that one over there., and wait is that Dean Winchester? Mr. Darcy? (okay those last 2 might just be me!)… so learn to finish. It’s a skill like any other.
And because I write vampire YA, I often get asked about Twilight, vampires, and cute boys. When I went on book tour in the UK, I was asked at least once every day if I know Justin Bieber (this is because I’m Canadian. And the answer is no, just in case you’re wondering). I also get asked what kind of supernatural creature I would be, which is so much more interesting than your average interview or essay question. And the answer: I would like to be a time traveler. I’m not sure if that counts as a supernatural creature but I’d just really like to visit different periods in history (Regency, Victorian, Ancient Egypt, Iron Age Celts, Middle Ages…) but still come home for my hot shower and ice cream. A girl has to have her priorities, after all.
The really wonderful thing about writing YA fiction is that every so often, I get to travel around visiting libraries and schools. I get to chat with anywhere from 20 to 300 students, all of whom have brilliant insights that would put university lit profs to shame. I am consistently impressed by the calibre of those questions. They make me think about my characters, the reading culture, and writing in general. You are such a brighter star than you think you are. Don’t be afraid to ask those questions.
Another reason I love all those questions? I basically spend my days alone talking to my imaginary friends…and then suddenly on book tour I have to think of interesting things to say to people who actually talk back! So those questions? They save my poor shy writer’s brain.
And I usually have questions of my own to ask…Principally, if you could live in a book, which one would it be? (So far, Harry Potter is winning). Discuss.
Oops. That sounds like more homework.
Alyxandra Harvey’s books include Haunting Violet, Stolen Away, and most recently, Blood Moon. You can find out more at her website here.