Member Spotlight: Meet Writer Alys Arden

Posted by September 23rd, 2013

alysarden_bookcountryAlys Arden is a Book Country writer from New Orleans. We first came across Alys’s young adult paranormal novel-in-progress THE CASQUETTE GIRLS a few months ago, and it was the first book Lucy reviewed when she joined us in July! We wanted to catch up with Alys and learn more about the inspiration behind her young adult book.

NG: Thank you for joining us. How did you become a writer?

AA: I made a 2012 New Year’s resolution, never thinking that anything would come of it other than a bunch on fancy to-do lists. But once I started writing, it kind of became an addiction, like going to the gym can be if you can just manage the pain of the first couple of weeks.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00037]NG: THE CASQUETTE GIRLS is set in post-hurricane New Orleans, as sixteen-year-old Adele is trying to rebuild her life amid the chaos. It’s a paranormal story loosely based on several New Orleans legends. Can you tell us more about what inspired you to pursue these legends and what went into building the paranormal world in the book?

AA: At the time I started THE CASQUETTE GIRLS, I had been traveling for two straight years for work, and living mostly abroad. I became homesick and bought a place in New Orleans, to try and ground myself a bit. I hadn’t really been home for more than a long weekend since college. I’ve always been fascinated with mythology and the urban legends in your own hometown are the best kind! Especially because in New Orleans some of the legends are older than dirt and others seem to materialize from the thick, humid air. The paranormal world is something that I spent a lot of time working out. Like you said, it’s post-hurricane (a fictional storm, by the way, not Katrina), but I wanted to pay homage to some of the places that no longer exist because of Katrina or various other hurricanes. So, the setting is a blended reality, both in the paranormal sense and a historical sense. I’d say it’s paranormal with a high dose of realism, depending on your tolerance for mystery. A New Orleanian might just call it normal.

NG: One of my favorite parts about the book is Adele’s voice, which is witty and mischievous. How did you go about writing her character and perspective?

AA: The book is written in a close first person POV, (and the book is thick!) so I wanted Adele’s head to be a place where I wouldn’t mind settling into for incredibly long periods of time. I also really want her to have a voice that was authentically YA, but didn’t speak down to teenagers by being overly cliché, which is something that drove me nuts as a teen, and still does today.

NG: The excerpt of the book you have on Book Country ends on a note of mysteriousness and foreboding. What’s your technique for keeping readers on their toes?

AA: Hmm, personally, I love surprises. I loathe spoilers to the point where I likely will stop watching/reading something if someone ruins the ending for me. So in that regard, I kinda put myself in the readers shoes and ask, what would I want? Or what would drive me absolutely mad? And then I work that out.

NG: Who are your literary role models, the young adult writers who’ve influenced your work?

AA: Such a hard question! My tastes are all over the place. I grew up reading Anne Rice as a kid, who I still love, but now it’s anyone from Dorothy Parker to Patti Smith to John Green. I read mostly non-fiction, which freaks people out sometimes, LOL. THE OUTSIDERS is hands down my favorite YA book of all time. We had to read it in the 5th grade and I can still remember feeling like such a nerd for liking, no loving a *gasp* school book. I also love all of the really big blockbuster series that I can trap myself into for a week and forget about the world, like HARRY POTTER, THE HUNGER GAMES, etc.

NG: What is your writing routine like? Any favorite writing tips or resources you want to share with us?

AA: My routine is crazy! I am super-duper routined. Most of THE CASQUETTE GIRLS was written between the hours of 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. At first it was the only time slot that I could fit into my hectic work schedule, but then I quickly realized that it’s my most creative time of the day—before the world’s had a chance to bombard my mind. My biggest tip would be just to write! Even if it’s garbage. It’s the most simple tip, but still seems to be the hardest to grapple with.

NG: Why are you on Book Country?

AA: My favorite part about Book Country is the community aspect. I’ve gotten some great feedback from members and the staff has been so welcoming, too!

I joined Book Country for several different reasons, the most obvious one being that I was writing a book. Actually, I was editing the book at that point. Second, because I have a general interest in Internet culture and how it’s influencing business and disrupting entire industries. I’m always looking to test new sites, start-ups, blogs, whatever. It’s such a fascinating time for the publishing industry—a writer can really hone their skills and their stories on sites like Book Country, and then if they want to and feel ready, make a jump into publishing. Which is where my New Year’s resolution will come full circle! The full version of THE CASQUETTE GIRLS will be coming to print and e-readers on Halloween 2013!

NG: What is something fun that we don’t know about you?

AA: My hair is fifty shades of violet, which is well documented on my Facebook page!

Connect with Alys on Book Country and follow her on Twitter @AlysArden. Learn more about THE CASQUETTE GIRLS at http://thecasquettegirls.com.

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6 thoughts on “Member Spotlight: Meet Writer Alys Arden

  1. wendy

    I first read The Casquette Girls on Wattpad and loved it! What a great, original story from a fresh, new writer. I loved Adele and the supporting characters, but my favorite aspect of this story was how Miss Arden was able to weave the past and the present together to tell an amazing story of supernatural elements. It was funny, scary, thrilling, and tense in all the right parts. A fabulous story in every way. So glad to see her interview within the community!

    Reply
  2. Alex Rosa

    I adore this book and the author. When you read it, it’s so obvious that the connection and passion of the writer is there right with the story, and I mean every curiously nail-biting page. It’s always wonderful to read that a book is personal to an author, I mean, basing it in your own home town and your fascinations with it, you really can’t go wrong <3. Not to mention the near perfect structure, and added suspense. Awesome job Alys, I look forward to seeing this book on my shelf. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Lisa G

    I came across The Casquette Girls the day Alys Arden posted the very first chapter. In the beginning, that was a curse because the story is so riveting that it seemed impossible to wait until the next chapter, and the next, and the next. I was going nuts even though they were usually only a week apart! The blessing of it is that Alys is such an interactive author with her readers that we had a lot of in depth chats about The Casquette Girls, New Orleans, and the legend that is the basis of the book. Once the draft of the book was completed, Alys created a group Facebook group page separate from the book Facebook page for group discussions. In the group, she chatted us up chapter by chapter with inspirations for the scenes and characters and more about the legend. The Casquette girls is a must read, an experience as well as a book, and I cannot wait until I am holding my own copy and reading the final output on Halloween.

    Reply
  4. Len Webster

    I have had the greatest privilege of getting to know Alys through Wattpad and several writing groups. She is amazing and one of the most talented writers I know personally. I got the chance to read The Casquette girls first on Wattpad and then during her editing posts on a different platform. I am with everyone who has commented, I loved The Casquette girls. However, I haven’t finished the story (I’ve had life craziness and travels consuming me) so I’ve been patiently waiting for its release. I loved Adele, I got to about half way and the mysteriousness had me hooked. Ummm, I didn’t enjoy the ‘death’ of Adele’s Chanel dress. I gasped because … well its a CHANEL dress! Haha. It is so good to see how far Alys has come since I first met her. Her success is a testimony to her. She deserves every ounce of it and more. I am so proud to have her as not only my friend but someone I look up to when it comes to writing. I read through this interview smiling. Congratulations, Alys! You deserve it! I can’t wait to see The Casquette Girls become a best seller 😉

    I honestly can’t wait for Halloween. I’m Australian, we don’t have a connection to Halloween, its a little non-existent here. But I am counting down the days for Halloween, so I can have a copy on my ebook and a paperback to add to my bookshelf. I’ve got a reserved space for this story <3

    Reply
  5. Emma V. Leech

    I read The Casquette Girls on Wattpad and Alys Arden was the first writers I followed there, she’s very generous with her time, always responding to varied, and often inane, comments from her readers. The thing that really stuck with me about this tale though, apart from the very original take on the whole vampire concept, was the sense of place. I really was in New Orleans, I could not only see it but smell it, taste it… that is the mark of a very fine writer.

    Reply
  6. Caoimhe

    I haven’t been this excited about a book in a long time! I know there’s a version of this book available online, but I’m forcing myself to wait until Halloween so that I can actually hold the book in my hands and lose myself with in the pages.

    While the premise and the tantalizing glimpses of the story have caught my attention, I think my excitement is down to the author herself. Alys, you’ve got a beautiful presence online and if your prose is anything like your online personality, this book will be a truly beautiful thing <3

    Reply

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