Today I am happy to have Carrie Jones on the blog for an interview!
Carrie Jones likes Skinny Cow fudgsicles and potatoes. She does not know how to spell fudgsicles. This has not prevented her from writing books. She lives in Bar Harbor, Maine, but she grew up in Bedford, NH where she once had a séance with cool uber-comedian Sarah Silverman. Her house was terribly haunted. Pencils would randomly catch fire. Never a good thing.
The Meyers brothers are from Bedford, too, so you’d think it would make Carrie funnier, coming from Bedford N.H. Obviously, something didn’t work.
Carrie has two overly friendly dogs and two fat cats. All like fudgicles. Only the cats like potatoes. This may be a reason for the kitties weight problems (Shh… don’t tell). Carrie has always liked cowboy hats but has never owned one. This is a very wrong thing. She graduated from Vermont College’s MFA program for writing. And was awarded the distinguished alum award.
What inspired you to write a YA series versus and Adult series?
I have never really thought of writing for adults (other than newspaper and magazine columns, which I’ve done). This is because I think young adults are so much more interesting than adults, and more demanding. When you write for kids, you really have to try to write the best story that you can. And by best, I mean a story that resonates, that has truths in it. Kids can really cut through anything fake. That’s why I like them. By the time we get to be adults, we have more of a capacity to glaze over when we read things that don’t resonate. But that’s not what I wanted to write for.
And specifically with the NEED series? I wrote it for my daughter. When I started the story, I was writing it aloud, telling it to her at night as she went to bed (not the best idea because it’s a bit creepy) and then writing on scraps of paper as I waited for her to get out of school. I had a million pieces of paper in my car. My car? It should probably be wrapped in yellow caution tape really. But, anyways…. I wrote it for her. She wanted a series where there was romantic love but that wasn’t the main focus. She wanted a series where a heroine metamorphisized (I don’t believe that is an actual word) from someone devastated by loss into a hero sort of somebody. And she also wanted a story where friendship mattered. A lot.
Since my daughter will probably be stuck caring for me when I am 97 and ranting about pickled mice, I’ve decided it’s best to make her happy now. It’s a bit of an insurance plan really.
The final factor is that I got my masters from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. So, I am used to being around people much more brilliant than I am, writing about kids who are much more cooler than I am.
I was at the Common Ground Fair, which is this huge, cool fair in Maine that’s sponsored by Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association (MOFGA). To get to the main part of the fair you have to walk through this sweet trail that curves through these tall spruce trees.
Right in front of me was this guy. He had a weird vibe. He was wearing all corduroy – blazer, pants. And sticking out from his blazer was this long tail-like appendage that was wrapped in different colored earth-toned cloth. I guess he could tell I was checking him out because he turned his head and looked at me. His eye was this startling silver color. How startling? So startling that I actually gasped and got creeped out.
Then when we were in line to pay we made eye contact again and his eyes were brown.
I know! I know! I probably imagined the silver eye color.
It doesn’t matter. That was one of the main things that got me started. Then, I just had this image of a man standing outside an airport pointing at an airplane this girl was on.
It also creeped me out.
And I thought – Hey, that’s a human-sized pixie.
So, I started writing. I usually write because I can’t figure something out. Also my daughter demanded that I write something paranormal. So…. It’s her fault really. Her fault and that random fairgoer’s.
How did you feel about mixing paranormal creatures such as pixies with mythology elements such as Valhalla?
It was a bit frightening, really. I know that purists would be aghast and that someone at a convention would give me a slithery eye look and say, “YOU HAVE MIXED MYTHOLOGIES! YOU EVIL WRITER! YOU!”
But… it was sooo much fun to play with. The myths and lore around pixies are so contradictory to begin with and then I kept finding these tiny fragments of pixie lore that connected to Norse mythology and I just couldn’t help myself. The freedom of using mythology that is occasionally vague and contradicts itself was freeing. It was absolutely worth the slithery eye looks.
If you had to choose one character that is most like you from the Need series, who would it be?
Oh. Issie. I’d like to say Grandma Betty, but that would be a complete lie.
What can your readers hope to see in any of your future books?
I seem to be really focused on death at the moment. This is probably not a good sign, but everything I’m working on has some element of death in it. And Nutella. There always has to be Nutella-eating hamsters. No… not really… .But I kind of wish there was.
Thank you to Carrie and Bloomsbury for this interview and tour!