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Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Conversation with Noelle August [Author Interview]

I am happy to welcome to the blog today the authors of my favorite New Adult series, Boomerang! Noelle August, (Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger) have stopped by the blog to share some insight. 

Bounce, the final installment to Boomerang is out this week! 

Let's Begin! 

1.) What are your perfect writing conditions?

            V: I love this question. It makes me happy just thinking about my reply. Okay, for me, the perfect conditions for writing involve: comfortable clothes, a desk with a window facing inclement weather (rain, snow, or even just gray clouds) and some form of view (mountains or beaches are my favorites.) I would have hot tea by my desk, and my dog at my feet. I'd have no interruptions, plenty of inspiration, and a comfortable bed to dive into when I'm exhausted and satisfied with the day's work. Now. Can you please arrange this for me?

            L: I like to write in my bed, with a million pillows around me, but the bed in otherwise placid, unrumpled condition. My energy levels hit Code Sloth when it’s rainy or cloudy, so I love it to be sunny, to have the windows open so sounds of squirrels and leaves rustling, and my fairly busy urban-ish neighborhood can drift in and provide some background noise. A slowly dripping caffeine IV would be most appreciated, as would a looming deadline and a waiting check. Those are highly motivating factors!

2.) What changes about the writing process when collaborating and co-authoring a project like the Boomerang series? 

            V: Well, a number of things. We're working together, so we can rely on each other to puzzle out plots, or deepen character arcs. I personally have loved this aspect of working with Lorin. In addition to being a great writer, she's a superlative editor, so I've learned a lot from working closely with her. On the flip side, there are the practical considerations of us syncing up our busy work schedules. We had some challenges there, but we made it work!

            L: Aw, thanks, V! I feel just the same. One of the interesting elements, for me, was the slight shift in dynamic from editor to collaborator, the way one’s ownership of a project transforms with that different title. Some of the real positives, in addition to having two minds at work for plot points and character discovery, was this feeling of being surprised and delighted by what I’d discover on the page from Veronica. It was kind of the best part of writing AND the best part of reading at the same time.

3.) What is one of your most embarrassing moments? 

V: I'm just going to say what comes to mind first: once, when I was waiting for my coffee at Starbucks, I took a sample of brownie that had been left on the bar and ate it--AND ONLY THEN realized it was someone's used plate, which they had left there. That was fun! I couldn't leave, either. I had to just stand there and laugh it off until my coffee was ready.

L: That actually made me LOL, reading that, V. Something I didn’t know!  As for me, once on a family trip to Israel when I was eighteen or nineteen, I went to flop down on a deck chair near a pool. Which I did. But I also fell over backward. And the chair also closed up around me, so my legs were trapped pretty much somewhere around my ears. And it’s possible other things happened, involving bodily noises, but I like to leave that part to my siblings to break out at parties and other events. Suffice to say, I felt super smooth.

V: That is awesome. We’re a smooth pair, obviously.

4.) How do you deal with writer’s block?

V: Yes, Lorin. How? No really. Tell me now. (Says the writer with terrible writer's block at the moment!) Kidding aside, I usually take a break, or try to write through it. Those are my two tactics.

L:  Honestly, I think most writer’s block is really, “I have no idea where I’m going with this” block, and it hits more pantsers than plotters. BUT, I also think it’s possible to reach a point where one’s just burned out on the writing (or any other work), and our bodies and minds force us to take a break.

Usually, I recommend a couple of things: First, I think it’s important to bear in mind that the way one FEELS while writing generally has no relation to the QUALITY of the writing, even though it feels so much like it does at the time. Divorcing oneself from the notion of having to be “in the zone” or “in flow” can be helpful. Sometimes, it’s about gritting your teeth through a scene you know you have to take from point A to point B, and that’s it.

Secondly, it can be a great idea to actually FORBID yourself from writing for a period of time but make a commitment to experience other forms of art. Tell yourself that you’ll do something in an unrelated discipline every day for “X” days. Listen to music, see shows, go to museums, browse galleries, watch someone make glass unicorns, play with an instrument, put your hands in clay, sew, dance—try any and all of it. That helps get other synapses firing and can stir the creative juices in a way that feels less complicated and fraught, which can then open the door for a return to writing work.

5.) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

V: I think I officially knew twelve years ago, on the very first day I sat down to write a story. Prior to that, I was an avid reader, and an artist. I used to fill sketchbook after sketchbook. Now I fill journals. The desire to write was always inside me, but that first day was when it hooked me.

L: I’m one of those people who pretty much always knew. I literally have a memory of this moment where the squiggles in “One Fish, Two Fish” resolved into the actual words being read to me, and the magic of that hooked me for life.

6.) I love how the world of Boomerang is so connected, what character(s) do you most relate with?

V: I think I might relate to Cookie the most. Or maybe I just want one ounce of her self-confidence.

L: I do NOT see you as a Cookie, except for the fierce loyalty. I think I’m sort of half-Mia, half-Grey, weirdly enough. Well, maybe more of a 65/35 ration. J

7.) If you could describe Bounce in one word, what would it be? 

V: Passionate

L: Musical

8.) What is your advice for aspiring writers? 

V: Read, write, repeat!

L: Amen. I’d add that you can shave off a lot of painful years by truly understanding scene structure and deep point of view. Also, find great workshops, great craft books, and learn the joys of down-to-the-bone editing and reconstruction of a work. The best writers I know are deep revisers.

Thanks so much for having us!

--Thank you so much for agreeing to be here! 

Be sure to check out my reviews for the first two installments Boomerang and Rebound! My review for Bounce will be posted very soon. 

NOELLE AUGUST is an anagram for Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger. Just kidding, it’s a pen name!

VERONICA ROSSI is the author of the New York Times Best-selling UNDER THE NEVER SKY trilogy for young adults. The books are available in more than thirty countries and the film rights have been optioned by Warner Bros.

Veronica completed undergraduate studies at UCLA and lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons. She is fond of dresses with pockets, fluffy dogs, and cheese and chocolate — but not together.

LORIN OBERWEGER began her storytelling career by captivating her first-grade class with tales of her summers on a kibbutz in Israel.

Lorin had never been to Israel.
While teacher/parent night put an end to her first experiments in fiction, she’d already caught the bug and eventually made a career of all things story.
As a long-time independent editor and story development guru, Lorin’s client successes range from small press publications to major bestselling novels. She’s an award-winning author and has also worked behind the scenes as a ghostwriter on a variety of projects. Her work has received starred Kirkus reviews and glowing mentions in The New York Times.
Oh, she did get to see a kibbutz, eventually, and found out she had it pretty much right all along.
Veronica and Lorin met at a writing workshop and just knew they were destined to create awesome things together.

**The above is found on Noelle August's website. 


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