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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway with Aubrey Coletti, author of Altered

Hi, everyone!

I am pleased to participate in Aubrey Coletti's Altered Blog Tour hosted by What's Your Story Book Tours. 

About Aubrey:

Aubrey Coletti is a nineteen year old author, choreographer, and singer-songwriter originally from Milton, Massachusetts.

She began working on Altered when she was fifteen, and completed it at seventeen, during the summer before her senior year of high school.

She currently attends Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, and is working on the sequel to Altered.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Aubrey! Please tell us a little about yourself.

I'm an enormous geek: X-Men, Joss Whedon, TimeLords, superpowers, sci-fi... my biggest dream for myself (apart from a movie version of "Altered") is to have a panel at Comic Con!

Do you have a specific writing style? Do you write an outline, or do you write more “by-the-seat-of-your-pants”?

My writing style is a bit of both. Sometimes I'll have an idea for what should happen in a chapter, or in the foreseeable future of the story, but I'll have to "write my way" towards it, and oftentimes things will change as I go alone. When I am writing my X-Men TV show fanfiction (RE: Massive Geek) I plot out what is going to happen in advance, because it's meant to be a TV show, and fill it in later, because I have a definite story arc for the whole season. But with "Altered" I very much went piece by piece, and often had no idea how things would end!

Do you discipline yourself to write a certain number of words daily? Or do you ever have dry periods where you do not write? 

I definitely have to discipline myself, but it's not by a set number of words. I have dry periods, but I find the best way to overcome them is to force myself to write a little, and I'll either get back into the swing of things and it will start flowing, or I'll have done enough and then pause, but the ideas will germinate and I can go back to work sooner.

What is your ideal writing environment? Do you prefer music or solitude? Is there a time of day (or night) that you prefer?

Oh, I definitely like to have my music on whilst writing! A lot of scenes were written with very specific music, a good deal of them to different musical tracks from the Star Wars prequels (See, you CAN put at least one thing in those movies to good use besides cheap fuel!). I'm generally a night owl, but I've written well during the day too.

Are there any authors that influence your writing?

The single most influential author for me was Anne Lamott. Her book "Bird By Bird" was what enabled me to start and keep writing. Just the basic tenets of that book, like focusing on your characters and letting the plot come up around them, or not worrying about editing until the basic draft is done, and accepting that as a writer you will have mini-breakdowns, all of that was incredibly useful to me. "The Mists of Avalon" is my favorite book, but probably my favorite author, just beating out Toni Morrison, is Tamora Pierce. Her characters are just so vivid, and she has a lot of very sophisticated story lines and themes in her books which nevertheless are done in such a way that they are easily understandable for young adults.  Her Alanna the Lioness series is probably my all time favorite. I was actually reading over and over her book "Trickster's Queen" many times during the early writing, and later editing, of "Altered."

Where did you come up with the idea for Altered?

"Altered" arose out of the characters, but the idea for  J. Alter Academy came when I discovered the existence of behavior modification centers, camps, and 'boarding schools' designed to 'deal' with children and teens who have behavioral, mental, and/or emotional problems-or who are perceived as having them. Most of the tactics used in "Altered" by the Academy are actually utilized by many of these centers and camps, which is a terrifying thought, especially when one examines the number of deaths attributed to many of these institutions, or the fact that their tactics often do not line up with what is considered medically safe and sound. Basically, I was looking for a place in which to "put" my characters, and once I started researching these centers I had the template for J. Alter right there.

Are any of the characters based on someone you know?

Oh yes, yes, yes! Almost all of the characters are composites: mixes of two or more people I knew, with a hefty dose of my own imagination. Realism is very important to me, which is why so much of the character's dialogue is made up of real life quotes from real live people! I can say with (minimal!) fear of a lawsuit that Toni was partially inspired by one of my oldest and best friends, though she would be quick to remind people that Toni differs from her in many crucial ways! For me, in writing you simply have to make your characters and situations as rooted in real emotions and emotional situations as possible, even if they are on a spaceship fighting a race of magical geckos, because that is how you get people to truly care, how you reach that heart of the narrative and get that powerful, bittersweet reaction that makes it something people will remember and love even after they put it down.

Can you tell us about your current or upcoming writing projects?

Upcoming is the next book in The Academy Series! I have a tentative title, and a general idea of what will happen. It will definitely raise the stakes for a lot of the characters, as they will find out more about why they were brought to the school, and just what exactly is being done to them and why!

What book(s) are you reading now?

I'm actually reading a book called "How to Hepburn" which my friend lent to me, by Karen Karbo!

Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers?

For me, the most important thing about "Altered" is how free I wanted anyone reading it to make their own choices. I always hated books or shows where a writer was 'guiding' you to like a certain character or agree with a specific position. All my favorite TV characters (Xena from 'Xena Warrior Princess', Jayne from 'Firefly', Omar from 'The Wire', Spike from 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', Gambit from 'X-Men' ) were not intended to live long and/or be so beloved by fans, but low and behold they were. To choose to love or hate (or both!) any character within it, to choose what they believe is right or wrong about what the characters do and have done to them, without feeling I am guiding them one way or the other; this is the freedom I want my readers to have. I wrote "Altered" in such a way that the reader can step into the shoes of different characters and feel free to choose who they love, who they hate, and what they take away from the book.

*Fun Facts*

Favourite music?  Christina Aguilera, Stevie Nicks, Emilie Autumn, Barenaked Ladies, Loreena McKennitt, Medieval Baebes.

Dog-lover or cat-lover? I love dogs, but I am SUCH a cat person. I adore cats, I've had three over the course of my life. Love the way they move, how they sleep all the time, how they are such total 'em!

Vanilla ice cream or chocolate? Vanilla, but couldn't I have pumpkin please?
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or dead, who would it be and why? Gah! Just one! Christina Aguilera.

I can't live without my... Anti-Anxiety Medication. Wish it were a cuter/funnier answer but...c'est vrai! 

The craziest thing I ever did was... Uh...I can haz the Fifth Amendment, pleaz?

If I could take an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, I would go to... Comic Con! Over and over and over again!

 Thanks so much for joining us today, Aubrey! It was a lot of fun getting to know you better!!

One lucky winner will win an e-book copy of Altered.

When Toni, Joseph and Charlie arrive at their new boarding school, they are glad to leave their families — and respective problems — behind. Isolated as boarders, they meet a handsome senior with a personality like iced snake’s blood, teachers with a penchant for physical punishment, and four other outcasts who reveal that their being brought to the Academy wasn’t random at all. When the arrivals discover that their new school is engaged in “behavior modification” through electric shocks, isolation, restraints, and an ever-evolving set of methods to “fix” them, they declare war on their Academy. During their campaign of sabotage, they fight, hate, scorn, love, and begin to uncover the reasons why they were brought to the school. But as their war against the school escalates beyond their control, will they become the very things the Academy believes they are: dangerous, delinquent — and mad?

To enter the giveaway, please fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is open to entrants worldwide until 12:01 AM EST on April 10, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tour Participants

April 1st- What's Your Story?
April 2nd- Books and Beyond
April 3rd- Darlene's Book Nook
April 4th- Books With Bite
April 5th- Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
April 6th- JJ iReads


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