Today is the day! It is release day for Lauren Shippen’s debut YA novel, The Infinite Noise!
Lauren is a writer, creator, and founder of Atypical Artists. She is known for the audio drama The Bright Sessions, executive producer of The AM Archives, co-producer of Passenger List, and writer for the audio adaptation of the comic book MARVELS.
We had the opportunity to ask her some questions about the book, characters, and more. Read the interview below.
Nerds and Beyond: Was writing the characters and story for the book different then writing for the audio drama?
Lauren Shippen: Definitely! The story tracks a lot of the podcast — roughly the first two seasons — but writing it in prose was an entirely different beast. Dialogue is my strength — and the main thing you need to concern yourself with in audio — so having to describe things and think about every aspect of a character’s immediate world was new for me. But the characters themselves stayed the same. And the wonderful thing about prose is being able to dive into those characters on a granular level! Being inside Caleb and Adam’s heads was a beautiful gift this medium gave me.
Nerds and Beyond: Do readers need to have any previous The Bright Sessions/AM Archives knowledge before reading this novel?
Shippen: Absolutely not. There’s some easter eggs in there for the eagle-eyed listeners/readers and some moments that I hope will deliver joy to the wonderful Caleb/Adam fandom that already exists, but The Infinite Noise is an entirely standalone story. I hope fans of the podcast will enjoy it, but I’m also so excited to have a whole new set of people falling in love with this love story.
Nerds and Beyond: Where did the inspiration for Caleb and Adam come from?
Shippen: Caleb came out of a conversation with my good friend, Caroline Framke. I was telling her my idea for the podcast and we were talking about abilities that would be fun to put with people who are ill-suited for them. The idea of a hyper-masculine jock with Empathy set off a fire in my brain. Adam came to me, whole-cloth, once I started writing Caleb’s story. Adam is so much of me — he’s been with me always.
Nerds and Beyond: What was it about Caleb and Adam that made you want to expand on their story?
Shippen: I love love. I love pining and slow burn and, while we get some of that in the podcast, I wanted to dig into it more. I especially wanted to dive into all those unseen (or unheard, I suppose) moments and get Adam’s perspective on the whole situation.
Nerds and Beyond: What would you like readers to take away from Caleb’s atypical journey and his time with Dr. Bright?
Shippen: That vulnerability and empathy for other people is a strength, not a weakness.
Nerds and Beyond: You also touch on the topic of depression and mental health with Adam, how was writing for his character?
Shippen: It was really challenging but really rewarding. As I said, Adam is a lot of me, so putting those things to paper was simultaneously really easy and really, really scary. I know there are a lot of people out there who have experienced similar things, so I hope his story resonates with them. You’re not alone.
Nerds and Beyond: The main relationship in the book are Caleb and Adam. How do you feel LGBTQ representation is changing in the different media platforms, or if it is changing?
Shippen: I think it is changing and changing for the better! We’re seeing more and more LGBTQ characters in stories, and more stories about those characters that aren’t about them being queer. That’s what I’d like to see more of. As a queer person myself, I think my sexuality is the least interesting thing about me and I’d love to see more LGBTQ characters getting the full range of story that straight, cis characters do.
Nerds and Beyond: What is the significance in the title?
Shippen: That’s what both Caleb and Adam experience, though in different ways. For Caleb, it’s the infinite noise of other people’s emotions. For Adam, it’s the infinite noise of his depression and his loneliness. Together, they quiet things down for each other, but also crank up the volume on the good kind of emotional noise: falling in love.
Nerds and Beyond: Can you tell us about the process for coming up with the cover art?
Shippen: I wish I could but Victo Ngai is a magically talented person who springs nothing but genius work from her brain! Seriously, follow her on Instagram and Tumblr, she’s INCREDIBLE. But honestly, it was just me talking with my amazing editor, Ali, about some of the things that we imagined, sending over a mood board of colors and other covers I like, and then having Victo work her magic.
Nerds and Beyond: What are you most excited for people to read/experience in the book?
Shippen: Ooh, probably the things I most enjoyed writing, which were the moments when Caleb and Adam nearly kiss and the moment when they finally do kiss. Bit of a spoiler, I guess. But those are the moments that I swooned thinking about because these boys are very in love and I hope that comes through on the page.
Nerds and Beyond: How do you manage your time and find time for yourself with everything you are involved in and working on including the next two Bright Sessions novels?
Shippen: I have amazing collaborators and a wonderfully supportive community around me. Nothing I’ve done has been accomplished alone and I would be a husk of a person if I wasn’t constantly bolstered by the people around me.
Nerds and Beyond: What do you like to nerd/geek out to?
Shippen: Oh my gosh, so very much. I am unbelievably excited for Maggie Stiefvater’s new book that’s coming out later this year — I have several Raven Cycle-themed candles in my apartment. Actually, my candles are a great place to look for the range of my fandoms. Currently (and I’m always burning through them/buying more): Gilmore Girls, Raven Cycle, The Greatest Showman, Moulin Rouge, Supernatural, and Harry Potter. My house is filled with amazing smells. (Get Fictional and Novelly Yours are my go to spots but I’m always looking for more recs! Find me on Twitter!)
Thank you to Lauren for her time and this interview.
The book is beautiful multi-layered YA coming-of-age love story (you can read our review here.) It follows Caleb Michaels, a high school football player who gets sent to see therapist Dr. Bright after being involved in a fight. All of her clients are “atypical,” including Caleb, who soon learns he is an Empath. We also meet the intelligent and introverted Adam Hayes and, as the story progresses, he and Caleb spend more time together and get closer; eventually, Adam becomes an anchor for him. As sparks fly, both characters develop a deep connection with one another, love.
You can order a copy of Lauren Shippen’s book The Infinite Noise here.