Swoontini Interview: Michelle Hodkin

Hello, sweeties!! How are you? How was your summer? We’ve missed you. Why are you all so pretty???

Now some of you might remember the Swoony Boy Alert we did for Noah Shaw, from THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER. And if so, then you probably got that we’re a *little* smitten with him. Well today we have a special treat because the author, Michelle Hodkin is here and OMGSHESTHEMOSTADORABLETHINGEVER.

Lo & C: HI MICHELLE! *tacklesssss* Oh, sorry. Meep. Let us just… help you back up. *dusts of Michelle*
You’ll have to forgive us for fangirling, but you see… we happen to like swoony boys around here. A LOT. And Noah has to be one of the best swoons in YA. How quickly did his character come to you? Did you feel like he grew as you wrote, or did he start out ALL NOAH ALL THE TIME pretty much from the first line?
MH: I love that you love him :) Noah developed as I wrote; I had a solid handle on Mara from the beginning, and knew, because of who she was and how she would end up, who Noah would have to be and how he would have to seem when the story began in order for their dynamic to work. But there was so much that I learned about him as I wrote and I’m still learning about him, to be honest. He’s definitely the character who surprises me most.

Lo & C: You’ve said that The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was the first book you ever wrote. Does that mean there are no forgotten or incomplete manuscripts in the drawer somewhere?
MH: That is what it means…don’t hate me? I had an idea and started writing the book that night. It just poured out.

Of course, about 3/4 of the way in I realized that I had to throw out almost all of it. And then I did that again a few more times. So I did pay my dues in revisions.

Lo & C: thank god, we were worried we might have to break up with you over that one. CRISIS. AVERTED.

So, Michelle? The book trailer for MARA DYER is um… sort of…well… how to put this delicately… SMOKIN. Did it fit your image of the book (and perhaps more importantly, would that be considered an accurate portrayal of Noah’s abs???)

MH: *Jumpy claps* I am always super excited when people see the trailer and love it. It absolutely fits the mood of the book, which, to me, is the most important thing for the medium. The trailer was orchestrated by my genius little bro, Jeremy; he created the shot list, prop list, made sure everyone knew where they were going, coordinated with the actors, the directors, and on and on. I couldn’t have done it without him.

As for the actors, an awesome high school friend who produced the trailer with my brother found Daryl Eisenberg, casting genius, who in turn found Justine Cotsonas and Bradley Rose to play Mara and Noah. The audition process was wild—about 200 people showed up and there was a real studio and everything—Daryl is a pro (she was the casting assistant on Gossip Girl. GOSSIP GIRL). So then Daryl videotaped the callbacks; when Bradley started reading (it was the Lolita scene (Lo & C: !!!!!); the audition sides were taken from pages 59 and 60), my producer friend, Aaron, started to laugh out loud because not only is Bradley adorable (obvs) but when he opened his mouth, my friend realized he was ENGLISH.

So it was a done deal from that moment on (even though we don’t hear Bradley’s lovely English-accented voice in the actual trailer. Boo.). Funny thing: Bradley thought he DIDN’T get the part because my friend cracked up during the audition. He thought he screwed up in some way. But it was an LOL of “OMG WHY SO PERFECT.”

Lo & C: What upcoming 2012 release are you MOST excited for?
MH: The Twelve by Justin Cronin. I was obsessed with The Passage and it came out two years ago, so, I AM READY GIVE IT TO ME. Also, PS, if you think the Mara Dyer cliffhanger is evil, you clearly haven’t read The Passage and have not been forced to wait TWO YEARS for the sequel. JS.

Lo &C: Speaking of upcoming releases, book two is called THE EVOLUTION OF MARA DYER. When will it hit stores? Will we find out more about what Mara and Noah can do? Will we find out what’s up with Jude? Why the hell is he wearing a Rolex?? And of course, will there be kissing?
MH: It comes out on October 23, 2012, which seems at once VERY SOON and NOT AT ALL SOON ENOUGH. I’m so ready for people to read the next chapter of Mara and Noah’s story because there’s SO much more to learn about both of them—about everyone, really. The Unbecoming was told from Mara’s first person point of view, and so every observation in the books is colored by her (unreliable) perspective. But in The Evolution, you get a glimpse of Noah’s point of view as well (surprise!), and I’m especially excited for readers to see what her world looks like from a completely different vantage point.

Also, kissing? Most definitely.

Lo & C: What bit of praise for MARA DYER will be the one you remember when you’re old and hanging on the porch drinking sweet tea?
MH: I have been beyond lucky to have heard people I admire intensely say really nice things about my book and I will remember them ALL when I’m old and such because I cherish them and have a long memory. BUT one thing that stands out, and will always stand out, was Lev Grossman saying that it rocked and that he couldn’t resist it. Which…do you know Lev Grossman?

*dies*

They are the books I wish I could have written. Of all the books I have ever read. They are in my top five favorite novels of all time.

So clearly I died. Then died again. (Lo & C: we might be dying for you rn)

Lo & C: What makes you fall head over heels in love with a book?

Characters. I am (almost) always about the characters; I need them to be fascinating and different and to feel like real people. If I can’t get invested in them, chances are I can’t fall for the book. My favorite characters aren’t even “likeable”; Humbert Humbert, Arturo Binewski, Eva and Kevin Katchadourian, Gollum, but I love reading about them so much. They’re so interesting and twisted and getting into the mind of people who are so unlike me is, for me, one of the things I love most about reading.

(Exception: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. That book won me over on the sheer amazingness of the plot alone).

Lo & C: yes yes yes, couldn’t agree more. If you’re invested in the characters you’ll follow them anywhere.

Quickfires:
You get to pick your dream car and go for a ride with the author of your choice, talking about all kinds of fun book things. TELL US WHAT CAR & WHO: I’d love to talk scary with Stephen King. Maybe in a Smart car. For the lulz.

Team Butter Popcorn Jelly Bellys Are The Best Food Ever or Team GTFO?: http://nooooooooooooooo.com/
  (C: yesssss Lo: noooooo)

What book are you reading now?: The Diviners by Libba Bray be jealousssss

You’re making dinner for Agent Sisters Holly Black and Cassie Clare. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO COOK?: Hot and sour soup. It’s like the one thing I can make delicious.

Any viewing Plans for Breaking Dawn 2 weekend?: Opening night in Vegas, baby.

PS: I’m not joking. (Lo & C: brb, packing…)

Last question: When the hell do we get to read that scene you tweeted? You know the one, we almost died. DIED, WE TELL YOU: OCTOBER 23. It was a deleted scene originally but then it crept back into the book. So. YES.

Lo & C: And thank you so much for stopping by! We love you so hard, girl. THANK YOU FOR GIVING THE WORLD NOAH!
MH: Thank you for having me and for GIVING THE WORLD YOU! You are the best.

And because we want everyone to know the epic UNF that is Noah Shaw, we’re giving away a pre-order of The Evolution of Mara Dyer. THAT’S RIGHT! You can order a copy here (which you should totally totally do) or leave a comment and it could be yours. And did we mention THAT SCENE will be in there? Go go go!

Wanna love on Michelle a little more? You can follow her antics on twitter, facebook, her websitegoodreads, pinterest, tumblr and deviantart.