Your Best Book Guest Speaker: Author Carrie Ryan

YOUR BEST BOOK is just around the corner, and we'd like to introduce you to our awesome staff and this year's guest speakers!


Carrie Ryan, Author


Carrie Ryan is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Forest of Hands and Teeth series, which has been translated into over eighteen languages and is in development as a major motion picture.  She is also the editor of the anthology Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction, as well as author of Infinity Ring: Divide and Conquer, the second book in Scholastic’s new multi-author/multi-platform series for middle grade readers.  A former litigator, Carrie now writes full time and lives with her husband, two fat cats and one large dog in Charlotte, North Carolina. 



Q: What was your favorite book growing up?

One of my favorite books was Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson. For my seventh birthday my dad read the entire book onto a tape and I listened to it almost every night for years. Even now I could probably recite most of it by heart!

Q: What inspired you to write for the young adult audience?

There's so much I love about writing YA. It's a time in your life when you feel things so passionately as you learn about yourself and the world around you.  As adults we face a lot of the same challenges -- trying to make friends, figure out who we are and what we want to do -- but more often than not we've been through it all before.  When you're a teen and a friend betrays you for the first time, it's devastating and unexpected.  As an adult, it's no less devastating, but because of past experiences we're a bit more jaded.  

Also, I know that I fell in love with books and reading as a teen and I love the idea of being a part of that.

Q: What three pieces of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Read. Write. And write more. I know that's being redundant, but I think it's really easy to think about writing and plan to write and blog about writing and talk about writing but to fail to actually write.  Writers need to write and they should try new voices and styles.  Never be afraid to experiment because you never know where it might take you!

Q: Aside from reading, other mediums do you draw inspiration from?

Pretty much anything and everything. I'll overhear a conversation standing in line somewhere and it will set my imagination going (I make up backstories for strangers all the time - lol).  Recently I came across a line in a video game that jarred loose a plot point I'd been struggling with in my latest WIP.  I'm also inspired by music and TV -- it's sometimes bizarre where inspiration strikes!

Q: What is one thing you feel is absolutely crucial to keep in mind when writing for a YA audience?

Don't be boring and don't underestimate your audience. These are readers who are often studying Shakespeare in school -- they're probably reading more critically than many adults!  A great way to get a sense of what works in YA is to read widely in YA.  Above all, tell a good story -- it's what readers at any age want!