{Author Interview} Magan Vernon, Author of How to Date an Alien

Today, I’m honored to feature an interview with author Magan Vernon. Her young-adult novel, How to Date an Alien, is being published by Darkside Publishing and will be released December 2011. Be sure to check out Magan’s blog, follow her on twitter, and friend her on Facebook.

Could you tell us a little about your book, How to Date an Alien, and what inspired the concept?

The official synopsis: High school senior Alex Bianchi’s estranged father gets her an internship at Circe Operations Center to pad her college applications. But Circe isn’t your typical military base. It’s an alien-run operation center and not all of the aliens are friendly, especially the one that tries to kill Alex on her first day. When Ace, a dark-eyed Caltian, enters and saves the day, she can’t help but be drawn to him. Can these star-crossed lovers survive when they’re on the brink of intergalactic war?

After graduating college in 2009 I finally started to read for fun and read the Twilight series, which was when I realized that the YA market had a ton of vampire books. I thought, what’s next? I sat down with my cousin and we started talking about how we haven’t read a good alien book in a while, so I decided to write one. I actually wrote a contemporary YA novel, queried that for a year and then started HOW TO DATE AN ALIEN, which fared much better.

What are five random facts about yourself (e.g. what you do, where you live, etc…)?

I have a four year old dog named Pittsnogle after a basketball player from West Virginia, I have a degree in Political Science and Women Studies, I despise pickles and won’t even touch something if it has touched a jar of pickles, When not writing I work in claims for a major insurance company, and the town in which my main character is from in HOW TO DATE AN ALIEN is my hometown. That’s why it was so easy to write about.

What is your overall writing process, from start to finish (e.g. do you start by plot an outline, or write character summaries)?

Think of an idea, mull on idea, start writing randomly, write the crappy first draft (sometimes I don’t even know where it’s going), let it sit for a week, read over it, add and delete a bunch, get to critique partners, and then edit more. Critique, edit, critique, edit, lather, rinse, repeat.

What kind of characteristics do you feel a character needs in order to come to life for the audience?

Relatability. If I don’t like the character or feel that I can relate to them, then I can’t root for them.

Which character from How to Date an Alien did you enjoy writing about the most? Could you tell us a little about them?

Ace, hummanah, hummanah, hummanah. Making an alien attractive was a hard task, but it was worth watching hours of Roswell to make it happen;.

You had mentioned on your blog that you had been searching for representation from an agent for two years. What was this process like for you? How did you get over hard times and rejections? What finally made you decide to submit to a small press or Indie publisher?

Oh the agent search. With my first manuscript I came very close to landing an agent and then that agent left the business. HTDA had a lot of interest from agents, but ultimately I kept getting the same rejection that it wasn’t right for their client list. Finally, I met author GP Ching and she convinced me to submit to Darkside. I’ve never looked back. I’ve read each of the Darkside girls’ novels and I love them all. They are all so different from anything that I have ever read and am so happy to be a part of the group.

What would be your dream cast if How to Date an Alien ever became a movie?

Oh, I may just happen to IMDB possible characters all day long.

Ace: Adam Lambert
Alex:  Melissa Farman
Alex’s Dad: Christopher Meloni
The Queen of Calta: Katy Perry

And there are a lot more, but I won’t list every character, ha.

What would you consider to be your novel’s theme song?

ET by Katy Perry, definitely.

Rapid-Fire Questions:

What’s your favorite science-fiction novel or movie? Novel – Across the Universe by Beth Revis; Movie – The X-men movies

Who would win an epic battle between undead pirates and aliens? ALIENS, duh, they have all the equipment.

Are you a cat-person or a dog-person? I heart my puppy.

Which would you choose: cake or pie? Cheesecake, boom.

What is the best thing in the world? My daughter’s giggle.

I don’t know… I’m tempted to say undead pirates because they cheat, but I’m just a little biased, maybe. LOL. Thanks so much, Magan, for responding to my interview questions! Live long and prosper!

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