Friday, January 8, 2010
Interview: Carrie Jones (Author of NEED and CAPTIVATE!)
A Brief Biography:
Carrie Jones occasionally wears mismatched socks, always loves Great Pyrenees dogs, and never drinks coffee. She also loves Skinny Cow fudgsicles and potatoes, and is the award-winning author of Girl, Hero; Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape); Tips on Having a Gay (Ex)-Boyfriend; and Need. Carrie grew up in Bedford, NH where she once had a séance with uber-comedian Sarah Silverman; she now lives in Ellsworth, Maine.
Give a short description of or a statement about CAPTIVATE that will lure in readers.
Sexy werewolf. Sexy pixie king. Girl who makes tough choices and has the guts to do anything to save her man.
I stink at those. Sorry!
In CAPTIVATE, Zara seems to be a less fixated on phobias than she was in NEED. Was this detail planned or just coincidence?
It was absolutely planned. There is a scene near the end of NEED where Zara partially gives up her reliance on phobias. It comes out again in CAPTIVATE but only in dire stress. It’s part of her character growth.
How do the animal shapes of the weres in your novels reflect who they are when they are in human shape? I feel that some parallels are easier to see than others (Nick vs. Mrs. Nix).
The animal shapes do parallel the human shape in a certain extent. Nick is a little hairy, strong, fast like a wolf. Mrs. Nix is squat and solid like a bear. When she hugs it is an absolute bear hug. Betty is lithe and feline and strong. It’s more than just their shape, however, their personalities are also heavily influenced by their animals.
How many books do you plan to write about Zara, her friends, and pixies?
It will probably be four or five.
I often laugh aloud when reading your novels, especially scenes involving Issie and, in CAPTIVATE, when reading the Pixie Tips. Is it difficult for you to incorporate that humor when writing or does it come naturally?
I don’t even think of it as laugh-out-loud funny so I am so glad you do. I grew up in Bedford, NH with comic Sarah Silverman. The Myers brothers who are on SNL and Mad TV grew up there. Adam Sandler went to high school the next town over, so humor and weirdness was pretty much everywhere. In my family people constantly tease each other and find humor in pretty much everything. When I grew up and went to a college boyfriend’s house in NYC I was stunned that nobody laughed or made jokes. I didn’t even realize families could be like that.
That is an incredibly long way of me saying that I don’t try to be funny. It just happens. Right here my brother would say, “Yeah funny looking.”
Did you do any research while writing CAPTIVATE? If yes, please explain.
Yes. I researched Norse mythology and pixie mythology online and via text.
What was the most difficult aspect of writing CAPTIVATE?
The structure of it was hard for me and cutting a lot of the love scenes. Plus, some of the things that happened to Zara just ripped me apart. It was a hard book for me to write.
Did you always want to be a novelist?
No. I wanted to be a human-rights attorney.
What jobs did you have on your way to being a writer? Did they help you in any way as a writer?
Salad bar girl at Wendy’s – I got fired after one day
Pretzel girl – I sold one to Bob Dylan
Dispatcher for Security Department
Some of those bad boys overlapped. I was a newspaper person the longest. They ALL helped. I really believe every single life experience you have makes you a better writer. It teaches you about interactions between people, about emotion, about cause and effect.
When and where do you usually write?
I usually write in the morning at a rickety table smooshed between the refrigerator and the piano. Sometimes I write in the car waiting to pick my daughter up from swimming or something.
Is there something that is a must have for you to be able to write?
What author or book most influenced you as a writer or in general?
Sherman Alexie’s poetry. In person, Kathi Appelt, Time Wynne Jones, Rita Williams Garcia, Sharon Darrow , Cynthia Leitich Smith and Lisa Jahn Clough made me believe in myself enough to do this. They are brilliant cheerleaders/writers/therapists/teachers/humans.
Can you tell us anything about your next YA novel(s)?
I just finished the first draft of the next book in the NEED series, but I’m not allowed to talk about that. Sorry. I know it’s frustrating.
I also just co-wrote a horror story with adult author Steve Wedel. It’s scary. It’s upper YA. It takes place in Maine and my agent will be sending it out soon, I think.
The Hiding Spot is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Is there a place, activity, or person that is your hiding spot?
I am so pathetically needy that I have a lot.
My body guard is so big and funny and kind. He is my number one hiding spot.
My stuffed Grover is the personification of my internal cheerleader (all writers must have one to balance out our internal editors).
Anything else you would like to share with us?
Oh gosh no. Thank you so much for taking the time to write all these questions and then for reading the answers. It’s really kind of you.