author of The Immortals series
Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I was born and raised in Orange County, California, but left home at nineteen to travel the world and ended up living in Mykonos, Greece for seven years, before moving to New York City where I lived for several more, before meeting my husband and ending up right back in Orange County again!
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
At twelve I read my first Judy Blume book, ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET, and decided then and there that I wanted to be a writer. At eighteen, I read JD Salinger’s brilliant, CATCHER IN THE RYE, and confirmed that yes, I did indeed still want to be a writer. At thirty, I was dabbling with a short story I’d written at twenty-five, that I’d always wanted to turn into a book. That short story eventually became my debut novel, FAKING 19.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
That my life was so difficult and my financial struggles so great that there wasn’t much point in pursuing my dreams. Luckily, I was able to prove myself wrong.
4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
Early on I showed a shocking lack of talent for acting and dance, and while I love music, I limit my own performances to playing Rock Band on the wii. As for art—I’m not sure anyone but me needs to see my efforts, though I’ve always loved books and the thrill of immersing myself in a great story, so I decided to take a stab at creating my own.
6. Please tell us about your latest novel…
EVERLASTING is the sixth and final book in THE IMMORTALS series and it was an absolute joy to write! Not only does Ever face her greatest obstacle yet—one that will risk everything, including her future with Damen—but all the events from the five previous books come full circle—all the loose ends are tied up.
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
I hope they’re able to immerse themselves in the magic of Summerland, the transcendent, redemptive power of love, and the idea that thoughts really do go a long way in shaping and creating the life we experience.
I admire any author who’s been able to carve out a long lasting career. It’s a very tough business—much tougher than I ever realized it would be—but I love telling stories, so I’m in it for the long haul!
9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
To stay published—and to keep creating stories that I enjoy writing, and that my readers enjoy reading!
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Also, go easy on yourself. It’s so easy to get discouraged when your story fails to match the vision you hold in your head, but it’s important to remember that the majority of writing is rewriting—there’s no such thing as a pretty first draft, so cut yourself some slack and keep at it!
Alyson, thank you for playing.
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection.