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.
How long have you been writing, Carrie?
Well, I’ve only been trying to be a fiction writer since 2005 really. That was when I decided to go to Vermont College of Fine Arts and get an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Before that I was a newspaper reporter and an editor and a poetry editor.
What made you decide to go from duct tape to fairies?
Oh, that was a huge experiment! I just wanted to see what would happen if I tried to write something more plot-driven than character-driven. I never actually expected anyone to like it.
You’ve had a lot of exciting things happen for you in ’09/ ’10. What’s been the most exciting for you?
Hm…..Almost killing my agent on the highway? No, I think it would probably be debuting on the NYT Bestseller’s list with NEED and CAPTIVATE and then having NEED hit a French bestseller’s list as well. I still can’t actually believe that’s real.
What are your top 3 favorite YA novels right now?
Ugh! This is a very evil question to which I have no answer.
What’s it like having the Charming Edward Necarsulmer IV as your agent?
He is lovely and talkative. It’s sort of like having an amazing knight (because he really is a renaissance man) be your agent. He protects you and cherishes you and goes on crusades for you and does it all while being gallant and snazzily dressed.
Tell us about your experience at Vermont College?
I was terrified when I went to Vermont. I didn’t fit in at all with the other people. Everyone there knew so much about craft and talked about it all the time and were from New York or Connecticut or California and drank wine and I felt like a total Maine bumpkin. I tried to quit but Lisa Jahn Clough convinced me to stay. I’m glad she did because I learned so much in that first year. People talk about it being a tremendous amount of work, but I never found it to be like that at all.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to write a fantasy novel?
I would say to remember that character is as important as plot and to have fun with it, really. Fantasy is such a great genre you can experiment and do whatever you want to with it, really. And the fans are so devoted. Oh, and I would also say that a character’s soul or personality is dictated by what the do, just like in real life, so make them do things, show who they are through their actions, not just by their clothing choices. I’ve read a lot of fantasy where pages are spent on describing the character’s dark leather cloak.
Finally, we know you are doing some work against bullying and that this is a real passion for you. What can you tell us about that, Carrie?
Well, Megan Kelley Hall, who is a lovely human being and writer wanted to start an anti-bullying, pro-kindness effort for authors because she was so upset about bullying. I emailed her and we started a Facebook page which has about 4,000 members right now. Next we’re putting together an anthology (which has just been purchased) of writers’ personal experiences and essays about bullying. Then there will be a tour and websites and other stuff that I can’t talk about yet. It’s all pretty amazing actually. I’m super excited about it and I can’t wait to announce the details. Seriously. We’re going to be in Glamour Magazine. If you ever met me you’d understand that is not something I could have ever predicted would happen to me.
But the more important thing is that we’re letting kids know (through the anthology and websites) that other people have been tortured like they were, and that some of us made it through. Writers help through words and this seemed like a good step in helping.
Thank you, Carrie!!!