1. How did you come up with the title?
I wanted an interesting last name for the characters and was searching my brain for something that was cool but not too distractingly odd. I was flying back from London and suddenly "Halifax" popped up on the skymap and I thought that was perfect. You can't go wrong with something with an "X" in it! After that I felt it was perfect for the title. It's a bit like the Halifax siblings themselves. They seem normal but there's so much more going on.
2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I'm a little cautious about imparting messages on anyone, but if the book has any kind of hit-you-over-the-head life lesson kind of message it would have to do with being confident in yourself and not trying to be something you're not just to please someone else. But that's really stretching it! I hope the book promotes some of the good ideas in the world. Friendship. Family. Devotion. Selflessness. If those things come through just a little bit for the reader I'll be a very happy writer.
3. How much of the book is realistic?
Other than the aliens? In the context of high school and family relationships I'd say it's very realistic. It's a lot about the characters and their interaction with each other and I think those relationships will be very familiar to people, whether it be a boyfriend/girlfriend situation or a brother/sister one. I think the characters act very realistically in a very fantastical world.
4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
No, there's nothing I would change. My "day job" is as a screenwriter and in that world I'm used to having a million hands all over my work, from re-writers to directors to actors and studio executives. What you write isn't what ends up being made. I love that the book is just how I intended it. If someone loves it, I take full credit. If they don't, I have to take responsibility for that. But it's all me.
5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For me it was a medium I'm not used to working in. In screenwriting you're trying to say things with immense economy. You try to have a bit of flare with a character description or location, but there's not a lot of room for prose. It's mostly dialogue. So when I sat down to write a book it was was initially so hard for me describe everything. I just wanted to skip to the dialogue! Once I got into the rhythm of it, though, it was a lot of fun. It was challenging, though, for sure. I'm proud of the job I did but my mind is definitely programed to write scripts.
6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
On a personal level I learned that I can broaden my horizons. You tend to think in terms of survival and achieving at what you know. Carving out time to try something new and actually following it through to the end is tough. It's hard enough doing what you do well, let alone trying to do something new. So it's nice to know I can still grow and change direction and try something new. Life can move in unexpected directions and it's fun to take new journeys.
7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I've always been a writer. Always loved it. I'm awful at math. No science for me! Won't be a doctor any time soon. But I could always write and my teachers always encouraged that and hopefully not just because I couldn't do anything else! I'm a dreamy person and I love hanging out in my head, living in other worlds, inventing new people and figuring out what their lives would be like. How much fun is that?! I'm blessed that I've been able to make a living at it. I don't know what else I would do.
8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
For someone who loves writing fiction and fantasy and science fiction, I actually adore non-fiction. I'm particularly obsessed with sports books and stories. I don't think it's such a stretch because sports offer up so much drama and interesting characters and inspirational moments. All things that I love. I really have two favorite authors in that regard. Michael Lewis for "Moneyball" and "The Blind Side", two of my favorite books and Jonathan Eig for "Luckiest Man" and "Opening Day". They both are so clear in their writing and they take you into their worlds and not only tell great stories but make you understand worlds you may have had a stereotypical view of and illuminating them from so many angles that you have such a great understanding of them.
9. Tell us your latest news.
I'm working on some screenwriting projects, mostly centered around sports. I'm working on one pilot about a female sportscaster and another one about a kid sports agent. My big job right now, though, is working on the second "Halifax" book, number two of a proposed trilogy. I'm having a blast doing that. It's so much fun to be back in the Halifax universe.
10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope they get lost in the world I've created and have a great time being there. To me that's the best thing about reading. You can hang out in a new place, lost in your head, and wander for awhile.
About the Book
Teenagers seem like they are from another planet. What if they were? Izzy, Rom and Farrell Halifax are new to Lexham Academy and are fitting perfectly into their new school. But what the teachers and the rest of the student body don’t know is that they are aliens, tracking down intergalactic criminals that may be lurking among the halls. Leigh Dunlap’s HALIFAX (Publish Green, August 12, 2011) is a gripping science fiction thriller and a funny coming of age young adult novel about surviving the pitfalls of high school and killing the most dangerous aliens in the galaxy. A perfect read for Halloween!
Each Halifax sibling has a special ability. Farrell is stoic, strong, and the leader of the group, Izzy can read people’s emotions and Rom is an expert in computers, math and explosions. They have tracked down a prison barge that has crashed in the middle of a football field at a Lexham Academy, a private school in California. Unfortunately, aliens are the least of their problems. Homework, bad teachers, menacing jocks and a Halloween Carnival are making their mission much more difficult.
Price/Format: $0.99 ebook
Genre: Sci-Fi / Young Adult / Paranormal
Publisher: Publish Green
Release Date: August 12, 2011
Buy Links: Amazon
About the Author
Leigh Dunlap is the screenwriter behind the hit movie "A Cinderella Story" starring Hilary Duff. She also wrote "Spy Girls", based on the popular teen book series, for producer Lawrence Bender (Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting) and "Camp Rockaway" for Sony Pictures and producers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher (Gladiator, Stuart Little). Her project "16-Love" starring Lindsey Shaw and Chandler Massey, recently finished principal photography. "Halifax" is Leigh's first novel and combines two of her favorite things to write about --- Science Fiction and Romance. Leigh is a graduate of the USC School of Cinema-Television and lives in London, when she can, with her husband and son.
Link to connect with Leigh:
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