Friday, February 22, 2013

Talking with Ally Carter

During Ally Carter's visit to Houston I had a chance to sit down with her and ask a few questions. I was thrilled to get this chance, because like I've explained before, I have been in Ally world for a while. I've read Uncommon Criminal, Double Crossed, and Perfect Scoundrels and I can't wait for more!


I love the entire family from Uncle Eddie to Gabrielle to Hamish, Agnus and Simon. Aside from the main characters are there any fan favorites that surprised you?

With every series it varies. In the UK fans love Bex, the British Gallagher Girl, which makes sense, because they could relate to her the most. With Heist Society fans love Hamish and Angus. People are fascinated with what are they doing when we don't see them in the book. So if I wanted to do another short story I could do Hamish and Angus go get a donut and people would read that, because who knows what's going to happen? For the most part people's favorites is Hale.

I noticed that some of the characters in Heist wanted to leave their current life for something new and different. In Heist, Kat wanted to stop leading a life of crime and Hale decided to leave his life of wealth after he met Kat. Is this something that draws them to each other and can you explain a little about the allure of wanting to leave their current life for something new and different.

I think it's just part of being a teenager. I don't know many teens who think "oh, exactly where I am is where I want to be". The grass is always greener. At that age, you just want to know what's out there in the world and maybe you come back and realize "I love my world", but I think most teenagers are at the very least, fascinated by what their options might be. I think that, in some way, that is a recurring theme, if not in adolescent fiction, then just in adolescences.


Your action scenes feel like movies. I can picture Gabrielle walking next to Kat and Hale across the street. So it feels very visual. What do you go through to have it make sense and not make it jumbled, because there is a lot going on.

There is a lot going on. That's something I really struggle with and I always worry about action scenes, because it's always a lot clearer to me than it is on the page. Action scenes take many, many drafts to get there and I probably spend more hours per page on an action scene than I spend on anything else for that reason. I see them like a movie and I want it to feel like a movie, because you forget you are reading and just experience the story.

I tell people it's like writing the movie in my head. That's one of the key reasons why I did third person for the Heist books. I don't think it would be possible to write a Heist book in first person, because there have to be things that Kat knows that the reader doesn't know. If the book was in first person there's no twist. We have to be able to leave Kat's perspective long enough for her to fool the reader as well as who ever they are conning or stealing from. The third person is very key in that.



Family plays a big role in your books, from the family you were born into or the one you chose. How did this come about and is this similar in your life?

Family is very very important in my life. I'm very close to my family. I have my mom and dad obviously and an older sister and both of my parents come from big families. Dad was the second oldest of eight. So lots of cousins and Thanksgiving and Christmas are very big events. One of my cousin's, her husband builds barns for a living and he actually built a barn on their farm so that we would have a space big enough for all of us when we all get together. Family is really, really huge.

It wasn't a conscious decision (to give characters a tie to family) its probably a subconscious decision. Family is always kind of a recurring theme in the heist genre in that your crew is your family. If you look at Leverage and Oceans 11 the crew is your family. And what research I did about the heist world is that it's very much a family. You have that sort of grandfather/son/grandson relationship. It's not by blood, but by who you work for. In Heist it's how many degrees you are removed from Uncle Eddie.


Hale! Hale takes center stage in Perfect Scoundrels. Aside from his nickname what can fans expect from Hale?

I think probably we'll see with the next book, just them going deeper in their relationship. Kat was very adamant about going off in her own direction, but she slowly seems to be creeping back to the big family. One of the fun things about the Heist books it seems like with every new book somebody new comes into the picture and I think "oh I really like that person and I want to write that person again". I don't think it's the kind of series where everybody is in every book, but I'll be very surprised if we don't see Silas again. I think that we're going to start seeing Hale and Kat pulled more into the real world and crossing-over with the adults. As the people in Kat's family really start to treat her and see her as an equal. What that means for Hale, I don't know yet.

One of my favorite moments in Perfect Scoundrels is when Kat walks into Uncle Eddie's kitchen and all the old timers are sitting there and she has this moment where she realizes that these guys aren't as young as they use to be and they are getting ready to pass the torch and Kat realizes "oh crud, they're going to pass it to me!".

Do you think you will continue to write Heist?

I don't know. I would really like to and the publishers seem to want me to, so we just have to formalize everything. My next book is Gallagher Girl 6 coming out in September and then after that we will see.

I had to ask Ally "Is Jennifer Lynn Barnes, author of Raised by Wolves, Nobody and Every Other Day, really an alien?"

Yes. She could be a robot. Cyborg is probably the best best. Jen herself says there is a non-zero chance that she's an alien. Jen says "if somebody were to come up to me and tell me that I'm an alien I'd be surprised, but I wouldn't be entirely surprised." It's just weird things. Like, if you look at her laptop the letters are not only worn off the keys, but they are indentations so she's got some kind of acid in her skin that literally burns through metal. I'll tell her "that's not normal".

I want to thank Disney Hyperion and Ally Carter for taking time out of her touring schedule to sit down and talk about her books. To learn more about Ally visit her online at http://allycarter.com.

carisma_20's Ally Carter - Perfect Scoundrels album on Photobucket
Pictures from Ally Carter's event at Blue Willow Bookshop.

5 comments:

  1. Eeeeeeep! You got an interview with Ally Carter! Not to sound stalker-ish, but I seriously love her. Great interview, I ate up every word :)

    Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf

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  2. Great interview! It's nice to see Oklahoma authors and what's going on with them. I saw her speak at a local library a couple of years ago. I haven't read the Heist books, but I am a Gallagher Girl fan.

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  3. That was awesome! Well done! I want to try those action scenes.

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  4. What a fun interview! I love that family is so important in these books, and to Ally. It makes me love these books all the more (ok, well that and Hale, of course).

    PS - I totally knew Jennifer was a cyborg. I just hope she remembers who her friends are during the robopocalypse. :-)

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