Monday, October 17, 2011

Anna Carey, author of Eve, interview!

Last week, I attended one of the stops on the Dark Days tour, with the authors Claudia Gray, Kiersten White, Amy Garvey, and of course Anna Carey. She was so sweet and I loved her answers to the audience's questions. What she didn't realize until I got up to the table to get my copy of her book signed was that I was a blogger that had been e-mailing with her about an author interview. Hopefully she wasn't too creeped out by me showing up at one of her tour stops, but thankfully she promised me I'd get the interview before October 17th, which is when she asked me to post it up. And here are her answers for all of you lovelies. Did I mention that I love her?

Where/when/how did you come up with the idea for EVE?

The idea for Eve started with several questions I'd been thinking about for awhile: what would happen if you found out everything you believed, all the truths that were so central to your identity, were a lie? What if the world was so much more terrifying and beautiful than you ever could've imagined? Would you have the courage to explore it?

What was the hardest part about writing EVE and what did you do to deal with and get past these blocks?
I loved writing the first section of the book, when Eve leaves School and is out in the wild for the first time. The hardest part was writing the section that came right after. Eve is slowly letting go of everything she’s been taught, and struggling with her new feelings for Caleb. There’s a lot of confusion and fear and curiosity there. It was tricky to convey all that and still keep the plot moving. It never became a true block, in the sense that I never stopped writing. Eventually I wrote through that section (and that frustration), and addressed the issues more in revisions.

Why did you decide to make EVE a trilogy? Do you think there's really that big of a difference between a trilogy and a four-book saga?

When I first envisioned Eve's story it had a very clear arc, which leant itself to a trilogy. Now, after having just finished the second book in the series, I think there's a huge difference between a trilogy and a four book saga--at least in the writing of it. When you're writing a trilogy there is literally a beginning, a middle and an end to the story as a whole, so that second book becomes very important. You have to set up just enough threads to tie up in the final book, but not so many that there will be any lingering questions.
Why did you choose to tell the story of Eve in a dystopian world?
When I started writing Eve, I was actually more interested in telling a post-apocalyptic story, rather than a dystopian one. I wanted to write about a character growing up in the wake of an unfathomable tragedy. How would the world move forward? What would it be like to be one of the survivors, to witness everything that comes after? The more dystopian elements of Eve (the School, the government, the City of Sand) came when I sat down to write it. It didn't feel like enough to just have Eve in the wild, facing off against gangs or dog packs. There needed to be more at stake.
Do you have any advice for those of us who want to be published authors, especially teens?
Writers are very fortunate in that all you need is a pen and paper to write. That said, the main thing you should do if you want to be a writer is simple: write. As much as you can. Secondly, read as much as you can, and pay attention to the things you love about your favorite books. What scenes do you love to read? What kinds of characters and stories capture you? You can learn so much about how good stories work just from reading (and can also find many books on the craft itself). Then, most importantly, share it. Please, do not be one of those people who just keeps their writing it some secret folder somewhere, never to show it to anyone else. Join a writer's group, share online, give it to friends or other writers and ask for feedback. One of the scariest things about writing is putting yourself out there, but it's also the most essential part of becoming a published writer. You can't be afraid of criticism. You need to be able to learn from it, to decipher the useful notes from the less useful ones, to know that when someone says "I didn't get this character" the revision might be as simple as fixing one scene and clarifying the character's motivations. Even the best writers face rejection, so don't pre-reject yourself by never showing someone that story, never sending the query letter, or submitting to that contest.

Do you have any say over the titles or the covers? In other words, how much freedom as an author do you have over the presentation of your book?
Oftentimes I suggest titles for the books, but I don't have final say. It's too complicated a process for any person to decide on their own. Thankfully Eve was the title of the book from the beginning, and I loved it from day one. In regards to the covers, I wrote a list of central images in the first Eve novel as a jumping off point. Elizabeth Clark, the designer, took it from there. I'm fortunate to work with a talented team (which includes editors and marketing people) who go through many versions of a cover until they get it just right. The Eve cover came out even better than I could've imagined, and the metallic sheen and embossing really make the art pop.
Finally, how amazing is it being a YA author?

It's an exciting time to be writing young adult books. We owe so much to women like J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, and Stephenie Meyer, who have brought so much attention to the genre. While I was writing Eve I thought a lot about how this genre appeals to such a wide audience, and how thrilling that is. You could be writing for a thirteen year old who has just experienced their first heartbreak, or a sixty year old who is going through a divorce. Those two can both read the same book and get something valuable from it. That continually amazes me.
Thanks so much for the awesome interview Anna! She answered a couple of these questions at the event, so I definitely wanted to get these great answers out to those of you who couldn't attend. Now go out and buy a copy of this amazing new take on dystopian (I mean post-apocalyptic?) YA. You won't regret it! Also, check out my review of Eve in the post just before this one.


  1. I also attended a Dark Days event but at my stop Anna Carey was not there. So it's nice to read the interview with her. I still need to get Eve it sounds like a really amazing book.

  2. Well I'm glad you could hear what she had to say then! :) Eve is wonderful, I loved it! For whatever reason it doesn't have the best ratings but I really liked it. Was Jocelyn Davies at your stop?


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