Daily Archives: September 17, 2010

Interview with Ally Condie Author of MATCHED

Kyra here.  I was lucky enough to interview the New Girl on our blog, Ally Condie!! So everyone who is interested in learning how MATCHED {pub date 11/10} came to be, then READ THIS INTERVIEW!

What made you want to become a young adult author?
I taught high school and LOVED it. When I stopped teaching after the birth of my first child, I missed being in that environment. So I started writing YA fiction in the evenings instead, not sure if it would ever see the light of day.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve written stories for a looong time–I dictated them to my babysitter when I was three–but I started writing seriously in 2002/2003. By “seriously” I mean every day, for several hours, with the goal to get good enough to eventually publish something.

What inspired you to write MATCHED?
Several things. An experience chaperoning a high school prom with my husband, a conversation with him about true love, and another one about society’s role in defining marriage. And also all his talk about game theory. Clearly, this novel could not have been written without him, which is why I dedicated it to him. 🙂

How did it feel watching your book go to auction?
Completely unbelievable and surreal. I’d been writing for a great small publisher, but something like this was beyond my wildest imaginings. My goal with MATCHED was just to get a national agent. I’d never been able to cross that barrier before and I wanted, so badly, to be good enough to take that next step. I bawled like a baby after I was offered representation.

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing and being a mom?

I love to run and read and hang out with my husband as much as possible. I like going to movies but that’s a rare occasion. I really like being with my family (they live in Cedar City).

How long did you work on MATCHED before you sold it? How hard was it to write?
I started working on MATCHED in Fall 2008 and it sold in November 2009. It was my easiest novel to write, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. Everything else I had written up to that point was either multiple points of view (my first novel is told from six different perspectives) or multi-genre. MATCHED is told from one point of view and that felt comparatively smooth to write. I just had to try to get one voice right, not six. I also really liked the creative aspect of building my own world instead of trying to get this world right. Contemporary YA is the hardest thing to write well, in my opinion.

What are your favorite 3 YA novels you’ve read this past year? Who are your favorite authors?

Ooh. Good question. I was floored by Octavian Nothing: Volume II. I just finished Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin and LOVED it. Such a beautiful story, such lovely writing. (That might be more middle grade but I think it’s a great YA pick as well.)  And then, of course, Carol’s Glimpse. I couldn’t put that book down even though it was tearing me up. No one rips you apart and then gives you a little golden nugget of hope to hold in your hand at the end like Carol does.

What’s the best advice you could give someone wanting to write a dystopian novel?

Have fun with it. It’s your world. You get to build it. Live it up and make it very, very good–which, in dystopian, often equals very, very bad.

You used to teach, right? What do you enjoy doing more, writing or teaching?

Both, in different ways. I miss interacting with students. I do not miss grading hundreds of ninth grade research papers (no offense to my former ninth graders). I love writing but it’s hard too. Both are incredibly fulfilling. I feel lucky to have done both because they were both my dream jobs.

Thanks for the great interview. I heart Ally, everyone!

Book club news:

Also, I’ve decided what book we’re going to read first for our Single Ladies Book Club. So meet back here in two weeks (that’s Friday, October 1)  to discuss

Wolves, Boys, & Other Things that Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler. I picked this novel because Kristen is a local author AND I love the cover. Not gonna lie, I’ve already read a little bit of it {thumbs up so far!}

And finally, here is your last writing exercise of the week:
Using the nine words from the title of Kristen’s book, write a five hundred word scene. Your genre choice!


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