Friday, April 3, 2009

Author Interview: Carrie Ryan

Have you ever met a celebrity? I once sat two rows in front of Tyne Daly in the Globe Theater and spent much of King Lear stammering at her. I turn into a complete idiot around fame.

Which would explain why, when I opened my email and saw that Carrie Ryan had not only sent me her interview but also a jpeg of the new cover for the sequel of her book, I screamed, jumped for joy, and ran around the room shouting in glee. Squee ensued. I had not seen the new cover before, and I. Adore. It. And I totally felt like a member if the in-group when I got to see it early. I squeed as much over that as over the cover.

Dude. It's awesome.


And you'll have to wait for Carrie to reveal in on Monday to see it.


And you'll have to wait until Sunday to find out who won the signed copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth and swag.

But what you don't have to wait for is Carrie's interview. It's right here!


We can all read about your bio from the back of your book or your FAQ online. So, what's a completely random fact about you that most people don't know?

I love to sing and I am HORRIBLE at it. But really, I love to drive around with the windows rolled down and the volume blasting and belt out some songs.

As a child, what was your favorite book? Have your tastes changed since growing up?

I loved Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson. My dad read it onto a tape for me as a gift for my seventh birthday and I listened to it every night as I fell asleep for years! I pretty much read anything as a child and I’m the same way now!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

For a long time I wanted to be a doctor – I loved biology class and loved learning the intricacies of the human body. I almost did it too… but then decided it wasn’t the right career for me after all.


How much of you is in your book? Is there a character like you? Is a situation in the book derived from real life?

I’m actually really surprised at how little of me is in the book. Everything I’d written before had pieces of me in it and with The Forest of Hands and Teeth I wanted to try something totally different so I created a character that wasn’t like me at all. But I still think there are some parts of me that snuck in. There’s a scene where the main character is questioning what right she has to believe her dreams can come true. That was taken from an email I sent to my fiancĂ© when I was wondering what right I had to believe my dream of publishing a book would come true.

What was your timeline for the book? How long did it take to write, revise, submit, and finally, get published? How did you feel at these stages?

I started the book for NaNoWriMo in November 2006 and finished the first draft April 2007. I revised it a lot over the next few months and would spend the time my beta readers were going over it researching agents. Finally in August my critique partner realized I was scared to send it out and she pushed me to submit. I signed with an agent in September and he sold the book in October!

I think at each stage I was both excited and terrified. I really felt like The Forest of Hands and Teeth was the best book I’d written and I loved the story. This was really exciting but I was also really afraid that I would mess it up!

If your reader could only take away one emotion, theme, or idea from the book, what would you want that to be?

Oh, what a hard question! I love that readers can take away different emotions and ideas from books – that every reader will see something different. It’s hard for me to say what I’d hope someone else would see, but I like to think that readers walk away with a desire to question the world around them and a belief in hope and dreams.


What are your goals as an author? Where do you want to see yourself as a writer in 5, 10, 15 years?

My goals as a writer are pretty simple: I hope to keep writing and hopefully keep selling!

What's the most surprising thing you've learned since becoming a writer?

Wow, there are too many things to list! It shouldn’t have been surprising, but I’m always so overwhelmed by how wonderful the writing community is.

Beyond the typical—never give up, believe in yourself—what would be the single best advice you'd like to give to an aspiring author?

To write. I really do think it’s easy to get wrapped up in all these extraneous things and forget that at the end of the day it’s all about writing.

What do you consider to be your strongest talent in writing? Your weakest?

My weakness is probably remembering to describe things. I never see my characters clearly in my head so I have a hard time describing what they look like. I like to think that one of my strengths is writing the emotion of the characters.

What's a writing pet peeve that you have?

Repeated words. I totally end up repeating words a lot in the first draft and I spend every revision trying to cull them out. I also tend to notice this in books I read as well (even though I try hard not to!).

Carrie, THANK YOU so much for answering my interview questions...and for sending me a preview of the cover which I can now lord over my blog readers about! :)

And don't forget to enter the contest, everyone!
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