Ali Novak is twenty-two-year-old debut author and a recent graduate from University of Madison Wisconsin's creative writing program. She wrote her first full-length novel My Life with the Walter Boys at the age of fifteen. Since posting the story online, it has received more than 24 million reads and will be published by Sourcebooks Fire in March 2014.
When she isn't writing, Ali enjoys watching Food Network shows even though she can't cook, and reading any type of fantasy novel she can get her hands on. She is a Wisconsin native and hopes to make a career out of writing.
Did you have trouble writing any of your characters or specific scenes within the novel? Alternately, were any characters or scenes particularly easy to write?
I wrote the first version of My Life with the Walter Boys when I was fifteen. That was almost seven years ago, so I don’t remember much of the process. Back then I was just writing for fun, so I wasn’t worried about creating realistic characters. When I started the process of rewriting the story to be published… let’s just say it was very overwhelming to fix the ramblings of a teenage girl! Cole and Jackie were the hardest characters to write, mainly because in the first version of the story they were so unrealistic. On the other hand, Alex was the easiest character because he is so much like myself.
Has the title changed or stayed relatively the same as your novel journeyed towards publication?
When I was fifteen I gave my story the world’s longest title: My Life with the Walter Boys, All Twelve of Them. I still cringe when I think about that! However, it didn’t take me long to realize how ridiculous my title was and I shortened it to what it is now.
You’ve previously written a sequel to MY LIFE WITH THE WALTER BOYS that takes place in New York. Are there plans for this sequel to be traditionally published as well? Do you have any plans to write additional stories… maybe featuring some of the other Walter boys?
I would love to traditionally publish a sequel to My Life with the Walter Boys. The sequel is called My Life as a Walter Boy. It takes place four years after the end of the first book and it’s in Cole’s perspective. However, I can’t say whether or not I would publish the current sequel; I’m toying with the idea of writing a completely different one.Many people dream of their ideal jobs while working somewhere less desirable to make ends meet, never realizing what great experience those jobs of necessity are for their future. What jobs did you have on your way to becoming a published author? Is there a certain work experience that has shaped your writing?
I’ve also written a spin-off book to my Walter Boys series called The Heartbreakers. The story takes place a generation later and revolves around Isaac Walter’s daughter. In addition, I’d love to write individual stories about each of the Walter boys. Then again, I have thousands of stories ideas in my head not pertaining to the Walter boys that I would like to explore as well.
I just graduated from college, so I don’t have much experience working in the real world. I was offered my book deal right after graduation, so instead of looking for a job I spent my summer rewriting my novel. To pay my bills, I work part time at Hallmark. I can’t say stocking cards has shaped my writing. However, what has shaped my writing is Wattpad. I’ve spent years writing on the website, and the feedback I received from readers made me the author that I am today.
If you had to pick a favorite word, what would it be and why?
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?
This is really random, but I love the word cacahuate. It’s Spanish for peanut, and the sole reason I like it is because it’s such a fun word to say!
Without a doubt, writing is my personal escape from reality. When I write, I can leave my world behind and enter into one of my own creations.
Learn more about Ali and her books here.