At just 22, Alexandra Adornetto is already the author of seven books. Seven! Best known for the Halo trilogy, Ally has turned her talents to a different facet of the paranormal with her new book Ghost House.
(Side story: I read Ghost House one gloomy and overcast Sunday. When I finished the book, I was pleased and impressed by how brave I had been. Imagine my confusion that night when I found myself jumpy every time I heard a noise in my apartment. Why, I wondered, did the sight of the door wide open into my perfectly harmless (and totally dark) study make me nervous? Why, when I climbed into bed, did I check really carefully that my wardrobe door was slid shut?)
As you may have gathered from the title, the book itself involves both a ghost and a house. Here’s a bit more of an elaboration:
After the death of her mother, Chloe Kennedy starts seeing ghosts again. Spending time at her grandmother’s country estate in the south of England helps Chloe deal with her grief and the spirits that haunt her. Until she meets a mysterious stranger. Alexander Reade is 157 years dead, with a secretive past and a alluring force that draws Chloe more strongly than any ghost she’s encountered before. But the bond between them infuriates the vengeful spirit of Alexander’s past love, Isobel. And she will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who threatens to take him from her.
We chat with Ally here:
Were there particular songs you listened to while you were writing Ghost House?
Yes, I remember playing two songs on repeat: Annie Lennox “Into The West” and Enya “May It Be”. They are both haunting and have themes of passing into different worlds, that represent life and death. YES, they are both from Lord of The Rings and YES, I am a big Lord of The Rings nerd.
Did you have a favourite scene to write?
My favorite scenes were the flashback sequences with Alexander and Isobel in the 1850s. I enjoyed writing dialogue from that time period and those scenes also offer a glimpse into what their life together was like, before they died violently. There is a scene where Alex is painting Isobel’s portrait, which I think is a little window into their world.
If Ghost House were made into a movie, who could you see playing the main characters?
I would like a cast of unknown actors. Alexander, Joe and Isobel would HAVE to be British. The male prototypes I had in mind when writing the book were Jeremy Irvine for Joe and a young Rupert Friend for Alexander. That’s all I’ve got so far! I think Isobel would be the hardest to cast, because she is so beautiful but also deranged!
Do you have any quirky writing rituals?
Ermmm, yes. Writers are pretty quirky people! I usually need total silence to write. Seriously, I can hear it if someone is breathing too loudly. I also can’t write if the house is untidy and things are not in their place!
Did you ever creep yourself out when writing the spookier parts of the story?
YES. It was the worst! It’s pretty hard to write when you have to keep taking breaks to look over your shoulder and make sure there’s no dead woman in the corner! But that really happened. I started writing the spooky parts during the day, because the ghosts were becoming a bit too real!
What’s one book you love that you always recommend to people?
I just read Gone Girl and I was obsessed with it. I annoyed my friends by texting them at 1am to tell them about the plot twists. I have definitely recommended it to a few people.
If you could holiday in a fictional world of your choice, which world would you pick?
That is a very hard question. It would be a toss up between Rivendell or Hogsmeade. But then I have to go Hogsmead because…butterbeer. Although I suppose I could get that in Florida!
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading The Spectacular Now. I haven’t seen the film yet.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as a writer?
Don’t be precious about your work. Let people dissect it and question it and criticize it and grow from what they are telling you. Obviously, there is a difference between constructive criticism and people just being rude. Also, learn to differentiate between the two!
What’s one question you wish we’d asked but didn’t?
What I’m working on next! Right now, I am working on the trailer for Ghost House with a view of hopefully developing it into a feature film. It will be out in a few weeks and I can’t wait for everyone to see it! We are shooting a love scene in a mausoleum under a church so the locations are pretty awesome!