Interview with Leigh Dunlap, author of Halifax

Publisher: Publish Green

Publish Date: August 12, 2012

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: When the Halifax siblings arrive at Lexham Academy, they don't seem any more or less odd than any other students. They have more important things to do, however, than take exams or find dates for the prom. They have aliens to kill. With the help of his sister Izzy and brother Rom, Farrell Halifax has to stop an escaped alien and save the Earth --- though that's hard to do when the captain of the basketball team is after you and you're falling in love with his cheerleader girlfriend --- who may or may not be an alien herself. Halifax is a teen Torchwood meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer --- with a little bit of The Breakfast Club thrown into the mix.

Author Bio: Leigh Dunlap is the screenwriter for A Cinderella Story, Hilary Duff’s biggest money-making film to date, and 16 Love starring Chandler Massey.  Her debut novel, HALIFAX is a science fiction thriller and a funny coming of age young adult novel about a team of aliens sent to high school to track down intergalactic criminals hiding amongst the student body.

Unfortunately, aliens are the least of their problems. Homework, bad teachers, menacing jocks and a Halloween carnival are making their mission much more difficult.

Author Interview: Please tell us about your current release.

My book “Halifax” is a sci-fi action teen romance.  It’s a blend between “Doctor Who” and “The Breakfast Club” with deadly aliens and teenage drama and comedy.  Farrell, Izzy and Rom Halifax are alien hunters posing as teenagers in Los Angeles and as much of the action revolves around their battles with extraterrestrials as it does with their battles with each other!

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I wanted to create a teenage “Doctor Who”.  I wanted something that was exciting and fun but also heartfelt.  What would happen if aliens mixed with teenagers, who often feel like aliens?

Can you tell us about the journey that led you to write your book?

It’s been a long journey with many twists and turns.  Originally, I wrote the story as a pilot for a t.v. show.  A company was interested in the idea but wanted it to be a feature film, so I re-wrote and expanded the pilot for that format.  The story really became what would have been the first season of the series.  When the financing fell through for the film I decided to write it as a book.  I had tired writing a book before but it never came together for me.  Now I had a roadmap in the form of a script and the story was all there for me.  It was a challenge changing my mindset from script to book, but it was a wonderful journey that I loved going on!

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about the book?

There’s nothing I would change.  I love the freedom I had writing a book.  With screenwriting you have so many people to answer to.  There are studio executives and producers and directors and actors.  It’s a collaborative process that slices and dices your words into confetti.  My book is all me, for better or for worse.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part was remembering that I wasn’t writing a script.  With a script you have to say the most you can possibly say in the least amount of words.  You try to do it with some style but it is what it is.  You get a line or two to describe a character.  It’s the opposite with a book.  I had to describe everything to the reader because there wasn’t going to be an actor to look at or listen to or a set director laying everything out.  I had to unlearn everything I had learned and go back to writing stories like I had when I was a kid.

Do you have a musical playlist you listen to when writing? If so, what kind of music?

I don’t listen to music to help with writing.  In fact, I don’t even read that much when I’m writing.  I find that external stimulus tends to affect me too much.  Music or someone else’s words very easily take me into their world and out of mine.  I have to silently live in my own little universe.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Walking.  I’m a bundle of nervous energy.  I have to go for long walks to think about what I’m writing and solve problems.  My feet always carry me back home with words.

Do you plan any subsequent books?

“Halifax” is planned as a trilogy.  I can’t wait to finish the journey the characters are on.

Please tell us your latest news.

I’m working away on the second “Halifax” book.  Things will definitely get complicated for all the characters.  Aliens are the least of their problems!  I’m also working on some screenwriting projects.  I love both kinds of writing.  Maybe I’ll try copy-writing next!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope they enjoy spending time with my characters and get lost in their world.  I think it’s a great place to hang out!

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