And, speaking of goodies, I'm thrilled to announce the winner of the Riley Bloom book signed by Alyson Noel is...YoungAuthor67! Congrats!
I've had my eye on Illuminate since back in January when I added it to my list of "Books to Look Forward to in 2012." The cover of this book is stunning and so are the pages that follow!
Check out the Illuminate trailer here:
I had the chance to interview the author, Aimee Agresti, who's a former US Weekly reporter and has met everyone from George Clooney to New Kids on the Block (I have serious career envy right now!).
1. Before you became an author, you were a writer for US Weekly. What inspired you to make the transition from writing for magazines to writing novels? And can you share a favorite celebrity story you worked on during your US Weekly days?
Hi! Thanks for having me! I absolutely loved my time at Us Weekly—what’s not to love, right?! It was a fabulous place full of wonderful people, and I do miss it. But I always, always dreamed of writing novels and even during my magazine days, I was always writing short stories on the side. Though none of them were ever published, I know all of that work made me a stronger writer.
But, yes, there were all sorts of fun celeb-filled times at Us! Let’s see, one of my favorite moments had to be when the New Kids on the Block came to have lunch at the office! I LOVED them when I was a kid so it was kind of like living out my childhood fantasy to get to meet them! And I’m happy to report they were all incredibly nice. I took a picture with them and sent it off to my friends who had been equally obsessed with them and we reminisced!
2. One of the reasons I love Illuminate is that it’s essentially a story about a shy, outcast girl learning to believe in her herself—a journey I think a lot of teen girls (and adults!) can relate to. If you could go back in time and give advice to your teen self, what would you say?
That’s such a great question and you’re exactly right, the book really is about a girl learning to have confidence! So I would definitely want to tell the teen me to believe in herself. I’d tell her to stand tall and not be scared to speak up, that she’s got plenty to say!
3. If you could spend a day with one of your characters from Illuminate, who would it be and what would you do?
Well, of course, I’d love to hang out with Haven, I know we’d hit it off and be great pals. Maybe we'd hit some of the sights in Chicago--I'm sure she'd want to take pictures! But, who could resist spending time with Lucian?! He’s so alluring and yet so tortured, torn between these two worlds. And he's so trapped at the hotel, it would be nice to break him out of there!
4. If you were sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel like Haven is, what three things would you take with you?
That’s so much fun! Hmmm, I suppose I’d need to look the part, right? So I’d take a cute outfit and an angel wing necklace in Haven’s honor, and then, of course, a good book to break into when I had downtime on the job. I always have to have a good book with me everywhere!
5. Can you tell us about your journey to publication? Any advice for aspiring authors?
The best advice I ever got was just to keep writing—write, write, write! And to not give up, knock on as many doors as you need to, one will eventually open. I wrote a bunch of short stories before this, and even a whole adult novel, and nothing quite clicked and then with ILLUMINATE, it did and it’s been such a thrill. If you keep at it, you’ll get where you want to be!
6. What projects can we look forward to from you in the future?
I’m polishing up the sequel to ILLUMINATE right now. After that it’ll be on to Book Three in the Gilded Wings trilogy. You can keep tabs on it all at aimeeagresti.com!
Aimee is graciously donating some signed bookmarks and a super cute, Illuminate mock hotel key card to one random commenter. Comment below within one week for your chance to win! Please be sure to leave your email address. The winner will be announced here on 04.29.12. Best of luck!