Starting in February, I will begin posting interviews with my debut author friends as their books are released.
But for this, my first interview of 2009, I’m featuring my Houghton Mifflin-sibling, Amy Kathleen Ryan!
For those just tuning in, here’s the history behind these posts:
I love reading about the Publishing Journeys of my favorite writers.
I love the long, soul-searching interviews that reveal every obstacle and triumph: the author whose agent made her do three revisions before signing her … the author who gets up at 4:30 a.m. to write, because it’s the only time she has to herself … the critically acclaimed author who spent nine years trying to get published … I never tire of this stuff!
Long, luxurious interviews aside, don’t you sometimes find yourself wondering: “But do you like Thai or Chinese food better?”
Reader, I asked them.
I assembled a grab-bag full of random questions and emailed them to some of my favorite writers.
To read any of the previous interviews, just click on the tag “authorial intrusion” on the left side of the page.
And now, without further ado, please welcome Amy Kathleen Ryan!
Amy Kathleen Ryan is the author of Vibes, a YA novel about a snarky teen girl, Kristi, who lives alone with her workaholic surgeon mom and a contraband cat she keeps hidden in her room (her mom is allergic). Kristi is sharp and funny, with a peculiar talent for making clothes out of found objects, like Mylar balloons and old umbrellas. Kristi possesses another talent, too: she can read people’s minds. This is the kind of talent that seems like it might be fun … until you hear your lifelong crush thinking, “Sick,” when he sees you.
Kristi wears headphones and listens to music as much as possible, to block out unwanted thoughts. She’s a self-proclaimed misanthrope, but she begins to make cautious connections during the course of the novel. Ryan weaves together the many opposing and overlapping threads of Kristi’s problems, making the resolution of the book satisfying on several levels. She does it all so skillfully that she makes it look easy. As an author myself, I can tell you it’s not!
Kristi’s voice is completely engaging and real, and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing everything on her mind.
Favorite 80s big hair band.
Journey, all the way, man. I could be in church, and if “Don't Stop Believing” came on the radio during the sermon, I'd turn it up. Way up.
What are you reading right now?
I'm reading Duma Key, by Stephen King. The way he writes suggests that he really loves people, or at least the people he's writing about. He's got a great sense of humor too.
What's the last song you listened to?
I was just playing an Aria by Bach on my piano, trying to figure out the fingering. (There's a pun in there somewhere...)
Camping or four-star hotel?
Hmm. How about a four star hotel conveniently located near some very beautiful mountains where I can go hiking during the day?
A 1978 aqua colored Chevrolet pickup truck with a white cab. That was a great car. I'm pretty sure I looked cool driving it.
Spring or fall?
Fall. All the way. It reminds me of kindergarten for some reason. I think because that was the first fall I really became aware of. Fall rolls around, and I want to shop for school supplies and wear mary janes on my feet, and tights, and princess cut dresses.
Last book you gave as a gift.
A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. I gave it to a friend who was about to go on a very long journey.
Five things you would do with $100,000.
1. I would save some of it so that we don't have to worry about the big, scary recession.
2. I would take my hubby and my little dog on a trip to Switzerland, where we would rent a little cottage and just hang out in the mountains, hiking around during the day and cuddling in front of the fire at night.
3. I would buy a new car. We're still driving our 1993 Honda Civic. It has almost 200,000 miles on it, and it has never broken down. We're very proud of this, but ... I want something shiny!
4. I would give some very nice gifts to my family. Or I would take my dad, mom and brother on a cruise to the Bahamas or something like that. Anyway, I'd spread it around a little.
5. I would probably get a lot of pedicures. I like pedicures.
Your five favorite movies.
Star Wars, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, American Splendor, Napoleon Dynamite, Bridget Jones' Diary.
Furthest you've ever been from home.
Spain, where I lived for a year as an exchange student. It was a great experience. Not only did I learn to speak Spanish pretty darn well, but I can, when pressed, make a decent tortilla espanola .
Tropical paradise or winter wonderland?
I don't think I would want either permanently. By the end of summer, I'm always ready for cooler weather. And by the end of winter, I'm always excited for summer. I love the ebb and flow of seasons. But if you're asking where I'd like to vacation, Hawaii. Kauai, to be exact. I discovered snorkeling on my honeymoon and I haven't gotten to do it since.
Favorite state (not counting the one you live in)?
Wyoming. I grew up there, and it is by far the most beautiful place in the world. You wouldn't know it driving along interstate 80, but there are some of the most beautiful mountains in the world there.
Tell us something weird about you.
I talk to myself in public. Really embarrassing. I don't mean to. But if I'm standing in line at the post office, or walking on my way somewhere, and I'm bored, I start a conversation in my head. If I'm concentrating too hard, the conversation starts to leak out of me, and then people look at me strangely. They think I'm crazy, but I'm not. I'm just a writer.
Daniel Craig or Jude Law?
Whoever gives better foot massages.
Advice for writers in 5 words or less.
Read lots. Don't give up.
Spiders. Horrible horrible spiders. I have nightmares about spiders. They're so creepy, and... other! You know? There's nothing there to relate to. Spiders. I hate them.
None whatsoever. Not because I don't like them, but because I can't think of any single image that I am guaranteed to like in fifty years. It's too big of a commitment for me.
If someone made you sing karaoke – you couldn't refuse! – what would you sing?
I would sing “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding. Second runner up would be “Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson.
Who do you wish you could meet, living or dead?
I would like to meet with Barack Obama so that I could give him advice about how to run the country. I have a feeling he'd be polite enough to humor me for about two minutes before he had the secret service escort me to the canapes.
Thanks for indulging our curiosity, Amy!