Thursday, March 26, 2009
Carrie Ryan Interview!
Carrie Ryan is the author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which was released on Tuesday. Congrats, Carrie!
In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?
What made you want to be an author?
I’ve always been a reader and I don’t think it occurred to me that I could be an author until I was in high school! I think part of it is that I’ve just always loved books and the idea that I could actually create one has always been a crazy dream. Somehow I got the idea in my head that I could do it and I just kept at it!
What was your inspiration for The Forest of Hands and Teeth?
I’d just finished reading Life As We Know It and How I Live Now and really wanted to read more books in the same vein but I was having a hard time finding them. I’ve always been fascinated with post-apocalypse worlds and remembered someone saying that you should write the book that you’d want to read. At the same time I was casting about for a new idea and my fiancé told me to write what I love so I wrote a post-apocalypse love story!
What kind of music do you listen to? Do you listen to certain kinds when you write?
I’ll listen to pretty much anything! I wish I could listen to music when I write but I’ve never been able to -- I think I just get too distracted. But I definitely have some songs that inspire me and fill me with creative vibes.
What was the process of getting The Forest of Hands and Teeth published like? Was it harder than expected? Easier?
I think it was both harder and easier. I felt like The Forest of Hands and Teeth was the best book I’ve written and I really wanted to give it the best chance I could. I spent a whole lot of time revising it and then researching agents -- I just didn’t want to regret not taking my time. I do feel like the research paid off in that I found an agent I really mesh with. At the same time, I knew so little about what happens after signing with an agent that everything felt so new and foreign! In the end, I relied on my agent and he’s the one who came up with the submission list and knew who would be a good match.
Can we expect any more YA books from you? If yes, can you tell us anything about them yet?
Yes! I’m in the process of revising The Dead-Tossed Waves which is a sequel/companion to The Forest of Hands and Teeth coming out in Spring 2010. I’ll have another YA book with Delacorte Press coming out in Spring 2011.
What is your daily schedule like?
I think it changes every day, but generally I’m up and sitting in my “office” with my computer at nine in the morning. Some days I run errands but usually I just sit at my computer and tackle what’s next on my to-do list. Generally I work until my fiancé comes home around seven in the evening. I just quit my day job as a lawyer in October so I’m still so used to spending my nights and weekends working that I haven’t gotten out of the habit yet. I keep waiting for the day I kick back at four with a good book!
How did The Forest of Hands and Teeth change from the first draft to the final draft?
I actually ran a redline comparison of my final draft against my first draft so I could see just how many changes I’d made. It changed so much more than I realized! I’d say probably 80% of the words had been changed, moved or deleted. I was honestly shocked!
Do any of your characters relate to you in any way? If yes, how so?
I think I relate to each of my characters in one way or another. Since the book is in first person, the character I relate to the most is Mary, the protagonist. I feel like I lived the whole book from her perspective. I always find it interesting how easy it is to slip back to her POV when I’m writing – she’s just so familiar to me now!
What was the weirdest time you got inspiration?
One day when I was stuck and didn’t know what should happen next I took my alphasmart out onto the front porch and just sat there for a while, trying to figure it all out. I’d really been struggling for a while and suddenly one word popped into my head: “Fire!” It just sort of came out of nowhere but was also exactly what needed to happen at that point in the book. I was so thankful!
What is your advice to teens who want to be authors?
Read and write. I think that you really learn a lot about how to write by reading – how to structure stories, how to pace, different techniques. I also feel like often the most important thing is to actually write. I know a lot of people who want to be writers but who never actually sit down and write which really can be the hardest part of the process!
Thank you so much, Carrie!