Falling Under (NAL, March 1, 2011) by Gwen Hayes is the story of Theia Alderson, a
teenager who’s drawn into a shadowy dream world by the gorgeous new guy in school. California
I recently had the opportunity to ask the author some burning questions about herself and about Falling Under and here’s what Gwen had to say.
I read somewhere that your inspiration for Falling Under was a song. Does music often inspire you or was this one of those bolt from the blue moments?
Actually, while music does inspire me, there was no certain song that got me juiced up for this book. It was the first line that kept playing over and over in my head…Everything changed the night the burning man fell from the sky. It wouldn’t go away and I had no idea what it meant. So finally, I just typed it out…and thus a book was born.
That said…I sometimes keep “Neverending White Lights” on repeat.
You’re not a plotter, so says your website bio – have you ever written yourself into a spot you weren’t sure how to get out of?
Only every day. J Sometimes, I have to write out of order, which is really confusing, but if I’m stuck in one spot, sometimes writing the chapter that comes after it helps me get unstuck. Really, I would caution everyone not to take writing advice from me. I’m a hot mess until somehow everything magically works out. I’ll never write a “craft of writing” book.
How do you balance writing and “real life”?
This is something I struggle with a lot. I also go to college, work part time, have a family…it gets overwhelming. I’ve found that if I write 1000 words a day, I still have writing momentum and have time for the other things I need to pack in before bedtime. Since this quarter started, I’ve been sticking to 500 words in the morning and 500 at night.
Some writers like a quiet space to work, others need to be surrounded by action – are you a social butterfly or a loner when it comes to writing?
I like a quiet spot on the couch and Twitter in the background…so both I guess. My family is great about respecting me when I’m writing, and we all like it pretty quiet in the house anyway. My living room is super relaxing, and the television is on a different floor. At the same time, I rely on Twitter a lot. It’s my water cooler—I do some work, socialize for a few minutes, get back to work etc.
I understand you’re working on the sequel to Falling Under – can you tell us a little bit about that story?
Getting back up after you’ve fallen under is a lot harder than the fall itself.
(Was that cryptic enough?)
There were some loose threads left in the first book that get yanked out, unraveling even more danger for Theia and Haden. And Varnie gets more screen time. People seem to really like Varnie. I know I do.
So who would you pick to play your main characters in a movie?
This one is really hard for me! See the thing is—I can’t get all swoony over teenage boys anymore or people will call the cops, so I don’t really know who the young actors are that swoonworthy. In my head, the characters are usually not celebrities. Maybe the commentors can help me out. Who would YOU guys pick to play the main characters in a movie? (Although, I wrote Falling Under before Glee came out, I think that Jenna Ushkowitz, who plays Tina, would be perfect for Amelia. Maybe the whole cast could do a musical of Falling Under?)
What advice would you give your high school self if you had the chance?
1. You are not fat. I promise.
2. Don’t put away all those stories. Keep writing and don’t wait until you are 37 to start again.
3. I know it’s the 80s, but fluorescent yellow shaker knit sweaters are not flattering on anyone.
Thanks for inviting me to your blog!
Thanks for chatting with us, Gwen!
More about Falling Under:
In FALLING UNDER, painfully shy seventeen-year-old Theia begins experiencing dark, hauntingly real dreams of the most gorgeous boy she has ever seen. When he shows up for real at her high school, she thinks she’s going insane. And when he touches her, she is sure she has lost her mind. Why would Haden, this devastatingly attractive boy, even look at her?
Theia isn’t the only one interested in Haden. Every girl in the school is after him. Yet somehow its Theia he gravitates to. Even though he knows it’s wrong, it’s Theia he wants to be near, Theia whose presence he craves more than his next breath.
Theia knows the pull between them is stronger than mere chemistry; it’s otherworldly. She fears how strongly she is drawn to him and yet she doesn’t really want to escape. She has always felt Haden is much more than just a normal teenage boy, but when she learns where Haden is truly from and what he has come to
to do, Theia realizes she might lose more than just her heart—she may lose her soul. Serendipity Falls
Gwen Hayes bio: