Wednesday, August 6, 2014

An Interview with New York Times Bestselling Author, Carrie Ryan

Each and every time one of my favorite authors and role models agrees to do an interview for my pride and joy, The Literary Connoisseur, I am more and more honored by their kindness and willingness to make my dreams come true.

There was Ellen Hopkins, who first agreed to do an interview for my blog...

Then Marissa Meyer, who not only did an interview with me, she put aside time on her book tour to get back to me in a matter of days...

Next, L.J. Smith took time from her busy schedule of writing in Vampire's Diaries to answer a countless amount of questions for me...

And now, my blog has been blessed with the very words of Carrie Ryan, author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Not only have I been a fan of Ms Ryan for years, and not only have I devoured every single one of her Young Adult zombie stories, I have had the pleasure of meeting her in person as well. She is such a sweet, caring, and kind soul, and I could not be more thrilled to have exchanged so many words with her.

Her books are incredible, I highly recommend them.

I hope everyone enjoys reading this interview as much as I enjoyed setting it up! Thank you all, again, for your endless support and love for The Literary Connoisseur and for me. Every page view, every like, and every word of encouragement solidifies the fact that this is my dream. Working with authors and spreading the joy of reading is what I'm supposed to do with my life, and it's all thanks to you and your dedication. Enjoy!

An Interview with New York Times Bestselling Author, Carrie Ryan

The Literary Connoisseur: Ms Ryan, thank you so much for stopping by The Literary Connoisseur, and for answering some questions about your life as an author, your writing, and yourself. If you're ready, let's begin! Let's start with a few questions about you first, Carrie. When would you say that your love of writing started?

Carrie Ryan: Growing up, I was a huge reader and authors were like rock stars to me, but it never occurred to me I could be one. Then one day I read an interview with Jude Deveraux (one of my favorite authors at the time) where she said she started writing because she finished a book and thought, “I could do that.” I remember thinking, “Wait, that’s all it takes? Well, then, I can do that too!” So I started writing. I found that I loved being on the other side of the story – it was just as easy to become absorbed and lose time. I knew then that this is what I wanted to do more than anything else!

The Literary Connoisseur: Are you a reader as well as a writer? What do you enjoy reading?

Carrie Ryan: My love of reading came long before my love of writing. I still have such vivid memories of staying up late on the weekends reading RL Stine and Christopher Pike (no surprise where my love of horror comes from!). For the past few years I’ve been reading mostly YA and have been challenging myself to read more widely so these days I go through a lot of middle grade, romance, and nonfiction.

The Literary Connoisseur: How did you come up with the plot for The Forest of Hands and Teeth?

Carrie Ryan: Various pieces of the plot came at different times. I was already obsessed with zombies, but it never occurred to me to write about them. Then over lunch one day, my husband and I started batting around the idea of the Forest of Hands and Teeth – a forest full of zombies with a town in the middle of it. The world in his mind existed several years after the Return, but in my mind it was generations later – to the point where zombies had become an accepted part of life.Though I still had no intention of writing about it, this world stuck in my mind. It wasn’t until weeks later when I was walking home from work and thinking about memory and how easy it is for things we take for granted to disappear, when the first line to the book popped in my head. When I got home, I started writing – intentionally keeping the voice unlike any of my previous books and just seeing where it took me. For me the setting, the characters, and the voice were like the first three dominos in an elaborate pattern – once I had those and knocked them down, it was just a matter of seeing where they fell and what the consequences were. Of course I say that looking back on it – at the time the plot didn’t seem nearly as easy – lol!

The Literary Connoisseur: What is your favorite thing about being an author? Or what are you favorite things about being an author?

Carrie Ryan: Being an author is my absolute dream job and I still pinch myself that this is what I get to do for a living. There are obvious day to day things that I love about being an author – working from home, having a flexible schedule, getting to make up stories all day and getting to meet some of the authors I’m a huge fan of. But I think more than anything else I love those moments when someone tells me that they fell in love with reading because of one of my books. Reading has played such a central role in my life and to think that I could play a small part in bringing that to someone else’s life is very humbling and a true honor.

The Literary Connoisseur: What would you like to say to fans of your books?

Carrie Ryan: Thank you! I feel like I should be able to say it more eloquently than that, but more than anything else I’m so very grateful to my fans. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do what I love.

The Literary Connoisseur: How does it feel being able to walk into Books-A-Million or Barnes and Noble and seeing your books on the shelves?

Carrie Ryan: It’s crazy! The very first time I went to a store to find my book I got all dressed up and was so nervous! I have no idea why, but my hands were shaking and I teared up – it was just so overwhelming! And then it was terrifying because it being on the shelf meant that other people would read it! I still get excited seeing my books and I hope it never gets old.

The Literary Connoisseur: Out of the three main characters, Mary from The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Gabry from The Dead-Tossed Waves, and Annah from The Dark and Hollow Places, who would you say you can relate to the most?

Carrie Ryan: I think I relate to them all in different ways. The point of view for those books is such a deep first person that I had to really get inside their heads and hearts -- I had to figure out how to relate to them so that I could write about them. One thing they all have in common is the desire to figure out who they are and what their place is in the world. Because this was a question on my mind a lot growing up (and still is even now!), I could understand their journey of trying to figure it out.

The Literary Connoisseur: Which of your books do you feel was most fun to write?

Carrie Ryan: I loved writing The Forest of Hands and Teeth because it was such a different voice than I’d been writing in before. I started the book on a lark – I was so convinced it would never sell that I totally wrote it for myself and for my husband (he’s the one who introduced me to zombies). However, The Map to Everywhere is the book that made me laugh the most as I was working on it. It’s the first in a middle grade series my husband and I are co-writing and it’s set in a huge magical world. Our entire goal with the story was to have fun – to write the kind of book we’d have loved to read as kids. So if we weren’t having fun with it, we knew we were doing something wrong.

The Literary Connoisseur: If you could say anything to aspiring writers and authors who look up to you and your writing, what would you say?

Carrie Ryan: First, I would say that you can do it. Growing up I didn’t think that normal people like me could become authors and thankfully, I was wrong. The key to becoming an author is to write. Write a lot – experiment and try new voices. And don’t forget your love of writing.

The Literary Connoisseur: Are you currently working on any new projects?

Carrie Ryan: I am! Right now I’m revising the second book in the middle grade series I’m co-writing with my husband. The first book in that series, The Map to Everywhere, is coming out November 4, 2014 and I’m crazy excited about it! I also just turned in revisions for a new young adult romantic thriller that will be coming out summer 2015. It’s a contemporary standalone – no zombies, but lots of revenge!

About the Author

Carrie Ryan is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Forest of Hands and Teeth series, which has been translated into over eighteen languages and is in development as a major motion picture. She is also the editor of the anthology Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction, as well as author of Infinity Ring: Divide and Conquer, the second book in Scholastic's new multi-author/multi-platform series for middle grade readers. 

Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Carrie is a graduate of Williams College and Duke University School of Law. A former litigator, she now writes full time. She lives with her writer/lawyer husband, two fat cats and one large rescue mutt in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are not at all prepared for the zombie apocalypse. 

Carrie's Books:

The Forest of Hands and Teeth 

Book                                 ebook

The Dead-Tossed Waves

Book                                 ebook

The Dark and Hollow Places

Book                                  ebook

From the World of The Forest of Hands and Teeth



Find more about Carrie Ryan on her website here!

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