Saturday, February 25, 2012

Author interview with Aimee Agresti

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and the book?

Of course! ILLUMINATE is about a smart, shy 16-year-old named Haven, who discovers she's an angel-in-training forced to battle a pack of alluring devils as they attempt to buy souls all over Chicago. There's drama, romance, and loads of glamour because the action unfolds at a historic hotel. Sounds fun, right? 

As for me, let's see, I'm new at this. I spent years as a magazine writer--most recently at Us Weekly, which was such a blast!--but this is my first novel. Though I have to admit some of my magazine experiences did creep into the book. Whenever you see Haven at a fabulous party feeling awed by it all, that comes from how I used to feel covering movie premieres. I was always pinching myself and couldn't believe I was there!

2. What is your favorite chapter and why?

I absolutely loved writing the end of the book. The last 50 pages were a total whirlwind, I could barely type fast enough to get it down. It's just so exciting when the pieces start falling into place and all that work you put in outlining and laying this foundation pays off.

3. Where did you get your ideas for your book?

I wanted to write the kind of book I would've loved as a teen--one where the heroine starts off a bit unsure of herself but learns to tap into her inner strength and have some confidence. I always admired the strong, adventurous, independent girls on the bookshelves: Jo in LITTLE WOMEN, Sara Crewe in A LITTLE PRINCESS, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and, above all, Nancy Drew.   

4. Was there any certain thing you listened to while writing, music? tv? silence?

Having the right soundtrack is HUGE. I started off listening to a lot of Coldplay and 30 Seconds to Mars. I needed a mix of dreamy tunes and anthems. Sometimes I would just put one song on a loop and listen to it for hours like some kind of crazy person. I got obsessed with the song "Norway" by Beach House. It's so haunting!

5. What do you do when you are not writing?
If I'm not writing, then I'm reading. And if I'm not writing or reading then I'm probably running to keep myself busy while my mind is working through whatever I'm writing. I also love museum-hopping. I live in DC so I'm always ducking into the Smithsonian museums, especially on weekday afternoons when I sometimes have them all to myself. So peaceful!

6. Which author would you most like to meet?

Oooh, do they have to be living? Because I would have LOVED to have met Hemingway and been part of that whole scene in Paris in the '20s. You know, like Owen Wilson in "Midnight in Paris"? How fantastic was that movie?! Anyway, Hemingway was my first author crush. He was like my summer boyfriend when I was in high school because we never actually read him in class for some reason, so I would just wait for summertime and read so much Hemingway. I loved his adventurous spirit.

7. What is your favorite food?

Chocolate, anything chocolate. If there are M&Ms anywhere near me, it's serious trouble.  

8. Who was your favorite character and why?!

My favorite character of all-time? Definitely Nancy Drew--she was so clever and strong and fearless, she was always a step ahead of everyone. She was everything I always wanted to be. 

9. What state/country do you want to visit the most?

That's tough, there are so many places I'd love to tour and then a whole category of places where I'd love to just disappear for a while with my laptop and write. I'd love to go to Provence, I have this romantic idea of it as just so beautiful and charming and full of great characters. 

10. Is there anything else you would like to mention to us?

Thanks for the great questions! Feel free to drop by my website and have a look around!

This book comes out March 6 so keep your eyes open :

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