Monday, March 23, 2009

Interview with Carrie Ryan!

Carrie Ryan, author of THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, has agreed to give us a fantastic interview! As with everything else on this website, the interview is more about the writing aspect of things. Sooooo, here's Carrie!

Tell us about your book.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a post-apocalypse romance about a young girl struggling against the strictures of her village and hoping that there’s a world beyond the fences and the forest surrounding them.

What was the inspiration behind your idea?
I’ve always been drawn to post-apocalypse stories and after reading two in 2006 I wanted more but couldn’t find any. So many people say you should write the book you’d want to read and so I thought about what I’d want to read and that’s what lead to The Forest of Hands and Teeth!

How many drafts did you go through?
I’m not even sure anymore how many drafts I went through! For a while I was saving each draft as a new document but I gave up eventually. I’d bet that I went through ten drafts if not more.

How many drafts did your editor go through with you?
I think we went through three or four rounds of edits. The first one was really broad – she sent me an email with about eight different points she wanted me to address. Each round we went through after that was more and more detailed so that in the end we were trying to figure out where to add contractions!

How long did it take to find your editor?
I was really lucky that it all happened pretty quickly! My agent sent the manuscript to a few editors on a Friday and my editor called Monday morning with an offer. She’s been awesome to work with.

How do you get to know your characters?
It’s funny, I get to know my characters through writing the book. Like, I’ll never know random details (like what color the character loves or what music they’d like) until it’s important to the story. So I definitely know them a lot better once the first draft is finished!

What was your favorite part of writing this book? Least favorite?
My favorite part were the moments when the words just flowed and I lost all track of time. The hardest parts were when I didn’t know what happened next and I was afraid of messing up the story.

How does it feel to have your first book on the shelves?
It feels like it’s happening to someone else! It’s just so surreal!!

How did you get into writing for kids?
I always loved reading YA novels – Christopher Pike is one of my favorites! I feel like because YA books are all shelved together that you can blend all different sub-genres and don’t have to follow the “rules” of each one. I really love that freedom and think it’s one of the reasons that there have been so many amazing YA books recently.

What are you working on now?
Right now I’m revising The Dead-Tossed Waves which is the sequel/companion to The Forest of Hands and Teeth and is coming out Spring 2010.

Do you work on one project at a time, or multiple?
So far I’ve only been able to work on one project at a time. It’s hard for me to switch gears between characters and worlds and I’m afraid my characters will end up sounding too similar.

Are you a paper person, or the computer-only-type?
Very definitely a computer-only person. I can’t hand write fast enough to keep up with the words.

What are your favorite reference books? And why?
I’m a huge fan of the dictionary and thesaurus. Because I get to make up everything else in my world I don’t have to consult too many reference books (yay!!)

Thanks, Carrie!! And congratulations on the release of your very first book!

To see more of what Carrie is up to, visit her website at To win a copy of THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, go here and leave a comment. The contest ends this saturday, and good luck to all who have entered so far!


Unknown said...

You and I are on the same brain-wave...I'm also doing a give-away for The Forest of Hands and Teeth!! :)

Loved the interview. I can only add that Carrie's as nice in real person as she seems on the interwebs, and that her book so far has been amazing!!!

Angie Frazier said...

Carrie's writing process sounds so similar to mine! I loved this interview. And The Dead-Tossed Waves?? I mean, could there be a better title for a book?? Wow!

Lenore Appelhans said...

First time I've heard the title for the new one - love it!

Keri Mikulski said...

Great interview! :)

Tabitha said...

Beth - she sure is! I mean, I haven't met her in person, but I've talked with her via email a bit this month and she's amazingly nice. :) So cool you got to go to her book launch!

Angie - you betcha, great title! But I can't believe I have to wait a whole year to read more! :)

Lenore - it's a fabulous title, and so fitting to the story, don't you think?

Keri - thanks! :)

PJ Hoover said...

Great interview, Tabitha and Carrie! I'm about 50 pages into FOHAT and didn't want to put it down (but it was 1:00 in the morning).

Tabitha said...

You did better than I did. I read it straight through, finally finishing it around 3am. I just could NOT put it down. And now I want more. :)

Elana Johnson said...

I'm excited to read this book. Great interview!

Tabitha said...

Thanks! It's quite the gripping story - I couldn't put it down and wanted to turn on all the lights. :)

C.R. Evers said...

awesome interview! I can't wait to read the book!


Kelly Polark said...

Great interview!!

Tabitha said...

Christy - thanks! When you pick up this book, be sure to give yourself ample reading time, because you won't be able to put it down. :)

Kelly - thanks!! :)

Anonymous said...

"I get to know my characters through writing the book. Like, I’ll never know random details (like what color the character loves or what music they’d like) until it’s important to the story."

That's just the way I work too!

Great to see Carrie here! Can't wait to read FHT.

Christina Farley said...

Fantastic interview! I can't wait to read the book.

Tabitha said...

Jenn - I do a combination of a pre-writing diary, and writing the book itself. There's nothing like actual writing that will bring the characters alive in your mind, is there? :)

Christina - it's a great book! Just give yourself ample time, because you won't want to put it down. :)

PurpleClover said...

Loved these questions. It actually makes me feel a bit better about my own writing!

Tabitha said...

Doesn't it? I always like to see how 'normal' published authors are. :)