This week again I was lucky enough to have a YA author give me an exclusive interview! The idea behind the “Writer in the Spotlight” feature is that published (and bestselling) authors are the best source of advice for us, would-be-published writers. Today’s interview is with the amazing Anna Carey. Between her busy schedule and emails lost in spam folders, there were times when I thought I would never get this interview, but Anna was SUPER kind and I’m very happy that you can read her answers to my questions today!
A writer in the spotlight – 13
Author : Anna Carey
Genre : Young Adult, Dystopian, Contemporary
Location: Los Angeles, USA
Books : The Sloan Sisters series (2009), the Eve trilogy: Eve (2011), Once (2012), Rise (2013)
Bio: Anna Carey has been a gift wrapper, face painter, nanny, horrific cocktail waitress, sofa saleswoman and children’s book editor. She graduated from New York University and has an MFA in fiction from Brooklyn College. She currently lives in Los Angeles, where she can be found writing, reading, and doodling on the giant chalkboard in her kitchen.
My interview (08/11/2012)
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
I always knew I wanted to be a writer, though it took me nearly a decade to say those words out loud. Growing up I didn’t know any authors, had never been to a book talk or had a writer visit my school. That life seemed like an impossible dream.
When and where do you write?
As much as I try to keep a set schedule, this changes from book to book. My preference is to write at home, on my couch, in yoga pants. It usually takes me eight hours to get five solid hours of work done. I’ve gone through periods where things are different, where I work predominantly in coffee shops or only at night, but the eight hour rule has always proved true.
What do you say to people who want to be writers?
First off, read as much as you can. You learn so much about characters, story, and plot just from reading well crafted books. We’re lucky that there are so many books on writing out there (On Writing by Stephen King, The Faith of a Writer by Joyce Carol Oates, Burning Down the House by Charles Baxter). Add these to your reading list.
Secondly, write as much as you can and finish whatever you start. Strangely, this is the hardest part. Try not to get discouraged by unwieldy first drafts. Try not to judge. Once you finish there will be time to cut, add, rewrite and perfect. Until then…it’s impossible to revise a blank page.
Lastly: Find a few readers you trust. Share your work and learn how to listen to criticism. A useful comment feels like an arrow hitting it’s mark.
On the “Eve” trilogy:
To write these books, where did you get your inspiration from? Were you aware of the coming dystopian trend in YA literature when you wrote “Eve”?
Eve started with a question: What happens when you discover everything you learned is a lie? Would you have the courage to relearn your life?
Publishing is a slow industry. It can take over a year (sometimes two) for a book to go from finished manuscript to published work. That said, once you’re aware of a trend it’s generally too late to write with it. I’m like most of the authors who are writing dystopian now. When I started Eve dystopian wasn’t a huge trend. The first book of The Hunger Games was out, but it wasn’t what it is now. I wrote the story I was interested in, and fortunately the timing was right.
Which authors inspire you now?
I just read The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith, which is creepy and magnificent. If I Stay by Gayle Forman is one of my favorite YA reads, my go-to “if you haven’t read this READ THIS”. Right now I’m on a bit of a Gillian Flynn kick. I finished Gone Girl and am now reading Sharp Objects, one of her earlier books.
Thanks, Anna, for an awesome interview!
Anna’s books are available from Amazon here.