Thursday, May 29, 2014

Alex Marestaing, Author

Author Alex Marestaing loves to create. He's written for media outlets such as The Walt Disney Company, Lego, Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins, and The Los Angeles Times and has authored three YA novels. His latest, I’m Nobody: The Lost Pages, recently won an honorable mention at the London Book Festival and was nominated for a 2014 Epic Award. Though he spends most of his time imagining ideas for the youth market, he's also written for faith based publications and has covered his favorite sport, soccer, in Europe and the U.S. for Sports Spectrum Magazine and Yanks Abroad. When Alex isn't writing or speaking at conferences, you'll most likely find him hanging out in California with his wife and three kids…

Who is your favorite author/inspiration?

When I was around five, my family and I went on a camping trip to the UK.  And each night, after days spent exploring the British countryside, my dad would read C.S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to me. Reading Narnia in England, where the whole wardrobe experience began for the Pevensie kids was pretty cool. So, because of that, I would have to choose C.S. Lewis as a favorite.  I appreciate the way he creates settings full of "wonder" and the way he weaves deeper truths into his work without sounding preachy. I think that's what's made his work last through the ages.

Where do you like to write?

I have this big desk that I write at. It's decorated with objects that remind me of important events, things like:
…a Mickey Mouse wind up toy (since Disney gave me my first freelance writing job)
…Izzy's Pop Star Plan (My very first novel)
…a sticky note from my wife that says, "Fear Not," (flying used to make me nervous, and I found it in my backpack on a flight to Germany. She had snuck it in there before dropping me off at the airport.)
…and, of course, my latest book, I'm Nobody: The Lost Pages.

How do you maintain thoughts and ideas?

Ideas come at all times of the day and night, so I'm often scrambling for a piece of paper to jot them all down on.  If I'm lucky, I'll have my idea journal with me, and I can write them down there.

Music also inspires me. I don't think anything inspires me more than hearing a song that moves me, whether it be instrumental or lyrical. For some reason, songs just open up the side of my brain where possibility and wonder hide, both essential ingredients when it comes to penning a good tale. But whether I'm inspired or not, I keep writing.  Writing "through the silence" is a necessity in this job.

What are you currently writing?

Besides getting the word out on my latest release, I'm Nobody: The Lost Pages, I'm working on a new YA series. It's about a sixteen year old who has to take care of his kid sister under the most extraordinary of circumstances.  A publisher might change the name down the road, but for now it's called Sketched. I wish I could tell you more about the series because I'm totally excited about it. But I can't yet!  When I can, I'll tell readers all about it on my website,

Are your characters based upon personal events?

My stories aren't really based on personal events, but I'm sure that there are bits and pieces of people I've met sprinkled across the pages. For example, the main character in I'm Nobody is extremely shy, as I was as a kid. And the girl he meets, Iris Elliott? Well, she's a total extrovert like my wife.

What is the gist of I'm Nobody: The lost pages'?

I guess the gist would be: Emily meets Caleb, Caleb meets Iris, and a broken world turns Technicolor.

And here's the official synopsis for you:

Agoraphobic Caleb Reed is about to step outside for the first time in seven years, meet indie filmmaker Iris Elliott…and definitely not fall in love. It’s all because of the notes, the weird and wonderful notes he keeps finding on his front porch, notes signed by someone claiming to be long dead poet Emily Dickinson. Caleb’s parents think he’s losing his mind, but he knows they’re wrong. Something’s going on outside – something strange, something terrifying …something beautiful. 

Do you have advice for novice writers?

My advice would be that they need to memorize one word - TENACITY.  I speak at writing conferences and one thing I tell my audiences is that it is impossible to succeed in this business without being tenacious.  Every great author has had to have tenacity in huge doses. Whether it be Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries, who kept all her rejection letters in a bag under her bed until the bag became too heavy to lift, or C.S. Lewis who was said to have been rejected over 800 times before The Chronicles of Narnia was published, grabbing hold of that dream and never letting go is an absolute must.  

List 10 things that people may not know about you...

…I love The Adventures of Tintin comic books, and my dog is named after the main character's dog.

…After being on a plane once that tried to take off but didn't, flying freaked me out for a while (but I'm good with it now).

…I once helped Lego set designers in Denmark brainstorm new ideas.

…My wife, three kids, and I lived in Europe for a year.

…While working freelance as a sportswriter, I got an unexpected call from a famous soccer coach when I was completely sick with the flu and lying on the floor. Luckily, I was able to crawl to the phone and get through my interview in one piece.

…I love CANDY, and my kids and I often drop everything to go out and buy some.

…When I was little, I got stuck in a gas station bathroom. The gas station owner, and my sisters, were cracking up when he finally got me out.

…I speak three languages, English, Swedish, and Spanish.

…My favorite city in the world is Tokyo.

…I have more writing ideas than I have time to write!

Connect with Alex…

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