Carrie Jones, author of Need and it's newly released sequel Captivate (along with other YA novels), is so super-awesome that she agreed to an interview!
Where'd you get the idea for Need and Captivate?
I was at the Common Ground Fair, which is this huge, cool fair in Maine that’s sponsored by Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association (MOFGA). To get to the main part of the fair you have to walk through this sweet trail that curves through these tall spruce trees.
Right in front of me was this guy. He had a weird vibe. He was wearing all corduroy – blazer, pants. And sticking out from his blazer was this long tail-like appendage that was wrapped in different colored earth-toned cloth. I guess he could tell I was checking him out because he turned his head and looked at me. His eye was this startling silver color. How startling? So startling that I actually gasped and got creeped out.
Then when we were in line to pay we made eye contact again and his eyes were brown.
I know! I know! I probably imagined the silver eye color.
It doesn’t matter. That was one of the main things that got me started. Then, I just had this image of a man standing outside an airport pointing at an airplane this girl was on.
It also creeped me out.
So, I started writing.
That actual guy who inspired it doesn't show up until book three though. I just wrote about him, and he STILL creeps me out.
What was your favorite and least favorite part of writing Need and Captivate?
My favorite part was writing about Nick and Zara loving each other.
My least favorite part was my editor saying, "There are wayyyyy too many lovey-dovey scenes. Cut! Cut! Cut!"
*Insert evil cackle here*
My editor is actually fantastic and brilliant, but it was hard to cut those scenes.
Were your characters for Need and Captivate based off of anyone you know? And which character would you say is most like you?
Some of the characters absolutely have elements of people I know. Grandma Betty is a mish-mash of two people; Nick is definitely like a man I adore, Zara has a lot of elements of me and my daughter, Em.
I am probably the most like Issie. I tend to bounce on my toes a lot and get super enthusiastic about things. I also hate conflict. Zara's pacifist tendencies and inability to dress 'cool' are also me as well. I didn't realize it when I wrote it though. Yes, I am shaking my head at myself for not recognizing it. Bad author. Bad!
What made you decide to be a YA author instead of an adult author? Do you plan to write an adult novel?
I started writing because we live in Downeast Maine and I was a newspaper editor/reporter. Every time I had to drive to a game or meeting and cover it I'd have to drive super far. Em would come with me and she'd get really bored, so she's insist that I tell her made up stories. So, I did.
I did this EVERY SINGLE car ride.
The story got longer and longer and longer.
And Em wanted more and more of it.
So, I started writing it down.
She'd insist that I write 10 pages a day and read it to her at bedtime. Since I am easily bullied I did. Then I realized writing stories that are made up is WAY more fun than writing newspaper articles about planning board meetings and land use setbacks in tidal buffer zones. So, I quit my job. (!!!!) Then I applied to graduate school. I got in (!!!) and went to Vermont College of Fine Arts, and got a masters degree in writing for children and young adults.
I was really scared when I first went there and didn't feel like I could do it, could fit in with all these brilliant people who talked about the writing craft non stop. I almost quit the first week, but Lisa Jahn Clough convinced me to stay. I'm so glad that she did because I learned so much from authors who loved and respected stories and loved kids with an equal passion. After a year there, Flux Publishers bought my first manuscript TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (ex) BOYFRIEND.
I love writing for kids. I think teens are super smart and fun and hard to write for because they are so super smart and fun. I'll probably try to write an adult novel someday, just because I like to experiment. I mean, I wrote NEED as an experiment. Still, I think I'll always write YA. I also write nonfiction picture books. Two have been purchased, but they haven't hit the shelves yet.
What are some of your favorite books and authors?
I'm really a fan of OUTLANDER. I'm really a fan of Sherman Alexie's poetry - just a super fan girl, actually. I love the lyrical beauty of Sharon Darrow's work. I love the fun excitement of Cassie Clare. M.T. Anderson, Rita Williams Garcia, Kathi Appelt, Tim Wynne Jones, Brent Hartinger, E. Lockhart, I pretty much adore all of them. I'm sticking with mostly YA writers or else the list will get way too long. Although, my biggest guilty pleasure is and has always been Charlaine Harris.
What is some advice you would give to aspiring authors?
1, That it is okay to blow off advice because nothing works for everyone.
2. If you still want advice, write every day even if it's only a bit; read all the time; and live large and full lives; live like a character in a book
Anything else to add?
No! Thank you so much for the interview, Jessica. I hope everything goes amazingly well for you in 2010.
Thanks again to Carrie Jones for the interview! My review for Captivate, should be up tomorrow if all goes as planned.