Author E.J. Noyes on the satisfying challenges she dealt with writing her new novel, “Alone”

Whenever I’ve talked about my newest release, Alone, I think I’ve used some variation of It’s a bit weird. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a very proud writer parent who loves my weird child. But every time I tried to explain what the book is about, I failed because it’s hard to explain without giving away the entire plot. So I’ve been hand-wringingly mumbling some vague things and hoping people would indulge me and actually read it. Now, I ask for your indulgence one more time when I talk about The Weird One in a vague kind of way (for the last time, pinky promise).

I wrote Alone back to front to how I normally craft a novel. All of my novel ideas start as a random thought, which morphs into a very vague plot idea. Then that plot gets left behind in favour of more exciting things like fleshing out characters and dialogue and fun interactions until inevitably I have to come back to plot stuff. Ugh, plots are tricky when you don’t plan anything and just aren’t a lover of plots. I don’t like working out how to make one bit join to another bit, oh and remember five chapters ago when this happened and now it has to affect that thing, yeah, you messed that bit up, pal and now you gotta fix it but it can’t screw with that other Very Important Bit.

But with Alone, I (miraculously) had the plot idea from start to finish pretty much from the get-go, and all I had to do was walk it back and figure out what kind of people would be in that situation. Easy *knuckle crack* I just needed two ladies, right? And from there, I ran headfirst into my next issue—the majority of the novel had to be two characters in one location.

How do you make a book with the bare minimum amount of characters for a romance, and set mostly in one place, interesting? What do two strangers basically stuck in a house together under interesting circumstances have to talk about? And most importantly – how do you make them fall in love? Please imagine the Now Kiss meme because that was pretty much my writing process.

Doing great here, Author.

Obviously the easiest solution would have been to change the plot, but gosh darn it, I’d written myself into a hole and I didn’t care if I was tearing my hair out, I was stubbornly sticking to my ideas because I really really loved them! Welcome to Author Stubbornness 101, I’ll be your lecturer for this semester.

Eventually, as it always happens (thankfully), I wrote myself out of the hole. My characters cooperated. And suddenly I had a novel that’s kind of romance, kind of drama but not really drama drama and kind of a bit psychological but not in a thriller-ish way. What genre do you put that mouthful into? A Bit of a Weird Romance? I’m pretty sure bookstores don’t have a shelf for that one.

If you’ve read the blurb, you probably have an idea what Alone is about. And you know I can’t say too much without giving things away. You also know “it’s a bit weird, but good weird”. So, obviously, the logical thing is for you to grab a copy of Alone and read it, so you can fill in the gaps between my vague details. And then pleasecome and chat with me about it because I’m bursting here, desperate to talk about this novel but having to be vague so I don’t blurt out everything like a kid telling their classmates that Santa isn’t real.

Oh. Oops.

Alone is available for pre-order now. 

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