Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Heist Society comes to Houston

I had the pleasure of going to see Ally Carter, author of Heist Society and The Gallagher Girls Series, at Blue Willow Bookshop. She was in Houston to promote her new book Heist Society and let me say she was very entertaining. I really enjoy going to book signings because you get to see what the author is like in person.

Ally grew up on a farm in Oklahoma and went on to graduate from OSU with an economics degree. One of my favorite questions was: How did you become a writer? Ally explained that as a kid she loved the book The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. Hinton is also from Oklahoma and wrote The Outsiders as a young girl, so Ally figured that's what girls from Oklahoma did and in the back of her mind she always thought she would write. She believes that the key to being a good writer is to read a lot and write a lot.

Ally made a fun comment that "Only crazy people and writers talk to imaginary characters all day long." She also finds writing to be great because she can get paid to tell stories and wear pajamas all day long. Ally's trick to meeting deadlines by using a computer without internet and believes that showers must be earned. She discussed that writing her books can range from six months to nine months, but her longest one was Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy which took 18 months.

Ally writes her books as if it were a movie so when she writes, she uses the storyboard method to help her plan out the scenes. Storyboarding is when you lay out each scene in the story, Ally described having large post it notes on her wall showing each scene as it would happen in the book.  I found this interesting because when I'm reading a book I have to picture it as a movie.  Her first series Gallagher Girls was inspired by a scene in Alias, the tv show, and is very popular w/the younger teen crowd. Ally thought it would be a great idea if there were an academy for girls who were training to be spies. She did extensive research on spies and espionage to keep her books as factual as possible.

Heist Society was inspired from a line in a book “I was a cat burglar in my own house…” it inspired her to write a book about a girl named Cat who was a cat burglar. I find it great how the smallest detail can inspire her books. Ally did say that she is hard at work on the second book for Heist Society, but isn't sure on how many books will be in the series.  In addition the film rights have been options by The WB and within a week a screen writer and producer were hired. Hopefully the movie will make it to screen. 

Ally also mention how she loves young adult books and would even like to write a book about farming. As a girl who grew up on a farm in Oklahoma she feels like no one has been able to write a book that revolves around farm life and gotten right.  The last book she read was Hunger Games which she really liked. All I can say is YAY!! Another author she mentioned and really likes is Janet Evanovich.
I found Ally to be really sweet, funny, and always smiling. I am currently reading Heist Society which is really great and hard to put down. Fun fact: Heist Society just about sold out the night of the event. If she is ever in your area you should really go out and see her and pick up her new book!

For more on Ally Carter visit:

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