Interview with Lynette Noni
Our Inky Judge Catalina had the chance to ask Gold Inky Shortlist author Lynette Noni some tricky questions about her thrilling novel Whisper and her life as a writer.
Whisper is a well crafted compelling book that explores the power of words and the importance of finding your voice. It certainly captured the imaginations of our Inky Judges who were intrigued by the world Lynette Noni created and are eagerly awaiting the sequel, Weapon.
Were any characters, for instance Alyssa Scott, aka Jane Doe, based on any real life people you know?
I’m really careful about not basing any of my characters on real people, since my relationship with the real person could impact what happens to the character. For example, if I based a character off my brother, I might have second thoughts about killing him off… OR depending on my mood, I could deliberately decide to kill him off. You see what I mean? Turning a real person into a character can influence the way they act, speak, think, etc., so I try very hard to keep fact and fiction separate.
Were there any books that influenced you to start writing Whisper?
None in particular, but I fell in love with the introspective prose of Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series a few years ago, and the emotion of it lingered with me. A similar feeling came from The Sea of Tranquillity by Katja Millay, which I can’t actually recall much of at all right now, but the idea of a protagonist who wouldn’t talk even though she could left an impact on me.
What made you want to become a writer?
I never actually wanted to be a writer. I didn’t enjoy English class in school (my teachers weren’t very passionate, and to this day I struggle to read Shakespeare or any of the classics — *shudders*), though I always loved reading. When I was 24, I went away on a holiday and had to come home early because I got really sick. In that time, I read a lot of books (it was the post-Twilight era so there were a heap of YA books flooding the market) but I just couldn’t find anything that I was in love with. There were elements that I really enjoyed, but they were spread out across a number of different books, and I wanted them all in one book. So one day I decided to write the book I wanted to read, and Akarnae was a result of that. Even then, I never intended to get it published, but I went on to write Raelia just for me — and then that ended in a cliff-hanger and I had no one to talk to it about, so that’s when I decided to try and get published, if only so I could fangirl over the characters and express my “feels” with other people. So it was purely self-indulgent, really. I’m like that girl from Mean Girls who doesn’t even go to their school and says, “I just have a lot of feelings!”
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have, just waiting to be written?
Ha! Sooooo many! I feel like most authors are the same — you can’t really ever switch off our brains, so they’re a treasure chest of ideas and inspiration. So many stories to write, so little time!
If you could have any power mentioned in Whisper, what would it be?
Oooh, that’s a great question. It depends — are there other Speakers, too? Like, do I need to have a way to defend myself from dangerous people? OR have I just won the genetic lottery and am the only person in the world who gets to have a super cool power? If the latter, then…. Hmm, even that’s tricky, isn’t it? I mean, the obvs answer is to say Creator, since then I could technically do anything my mind conceived, right? So that’s probably my top pick. My second choice would be healing, like Cami.
In your biography in the back of Whisper, it stated you were devastated when you didn’t receive your Hogwarts letter- If you had received it, what Hogwarts house would you be in?
Oh, man, that’s a tough one! I think I’m on the cusp of Ravenclaw and Slytherin (the latter because of my ambition, not my forked tongue — I only bring that out for special events).