Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Interview with Awesomesauce YA Author Carrie Harris

I've never interviewed an author on the blog before. The main reason I started today is that I adore Carrie Harris and am so excited for her upcoming book. Hence, the first installment of author interviews by moi. In case you're not familiar with young adult novelists and are wondering "Who is Carrie Harris?" This is Carrie:

Carrie is the hilarious, smart, and zombie-obsessed author of the upcoming YA novel, BAD TASTE IN BOYS. Did I mention hilarious? She has the coolest website ever, which you should definitely check out (after reading this interview of course). Her book cover is also my favorite of the year--and it's not just because it reminds me of margaritas. Check it out:

I know, right? It's a cover made of awesome. BAD TASTE IN BOYS is available NOW for pre-order (shameless plug by me, not Carrie), and I ordered mine weeks ago. Have you? The official release date is July 12, 2011.

Without further ado, here are Carrie's musings on writing, books, and publishing...and, of course, The Hoff.

1) I'm so excited for the release of this book as I love me some zombies. Where did you get the idea for BAD TASTE IN BOYS (I'm assuming it's not based on true events)?
Zombies FTW!
Ahem. Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.
Anyway, I like to play this game called Monster Math, which I talk about on my website. The whole idea of Monster Math is to put together ideas in new and interesting ways. I knew I wanted to write a zombie book, and a book about the dead football players from the movie Beetlejuice, and a book about weird science. So I mashed the ideas all together and divided them by high school geekery.
And I thought I’d never use algebra after high school.
But seriously. For me, the key is not finding ideas, because I have more than I could possibly use. It’s putting the ideas together in a way that’s hopefully never been done before.

2) Was this the first book you wrote? Tell us aspiring writers a little about your path to finding an agent.
Hahahahahaha! Hah! That’s funny. No, my first book was a NaNoWriMo novel that started off as a fantasy satire and somehow turned into a political satire halfway through. And then I wrote a series of really depressing books and hung out in coffee shops and wore a beret. (You think I’m kidding, but sadly? Not. [The worst part is that the beret was PLAID.]) Eventually I ditched the beret and quit trying to be a “serious” writer and wrote something just for fun. That was my first YA novel, which got the attention of my superawesome agent, Kate Schafer Testerman, and went to editorial acquisitions more times than I could count. But ultimately, it wasn’t the right first book for me. BAD TASTE IN BOYS, however, sold in about a month, because zombies are irresistible.

3) I'm trying to picture you in a plaid beret, but I keep laughing. I agree that zombies are irresistible...when you first found out your book sold, what was your initial reaction?

When The Email finally came, I ran around the house screaming and then left a voice mail for my husband that said: “OhmygodcallmecallmeCALLMERIGHTNOW!” And then I put Thriller on and did the dance, because that’s obviously the best way to celebrate selling a zombie book.
About an hour later, I realized I should probably email my agent back. I went to my computer and found another email from her asking if the shock had killed me and did she need to call an ambulance.

4) I know authors don't typically have much, if any, control over things like the title and cover of the book. You have one of the coolest covers I've seen. Did you have any input on it?

I know; isn’t it frawesome? I feel so lucky cover-wise. The people at Random House awe me.
I’m super lucky to have a fabulous editor who asked me for my opinion on what kind of cover would best fit BTIB. It was so fun to look around at everything out there and send her covers that I liked. Of course, what I came up with wasn’t half as cool as the cover they gave me. I can’t explain how my designer heard the words “zombie football players” and came up with sugar lips, but it’s really a stroke of brilliance!

5) This may be a super-secret question you can't answer, but I'll try anyway. What's next for you? Will there be a sequel to BAD TASTE IN BOYS or are you doing something totally different?

Well, I’ve got a sequel that’s currently under review, with new and interesting monsters for Kate to hunt. Please keep your fingers crossed for me! Unless you’re a zombie, because I wouldn’t want to be responsible for the loss of your fingers due to torsion. I’m nice that way.
I’m also working on a new series, because I’m an overachiever. And some middle grade stuff, and an epic poem about merpires…
Okay, that last bit is a joke, although I have to admit that it’s tempting. The reality is that I’m ALWAYS working on something new. It helps keep me from getting into a rut or losing all my momentum.

6) My fingers are definitely crossed for you. Okay, as a mom, I have to ask this question. Many aspiring writers have little ones at home...and I don't even have twins like you do! How on earth do you manage to do it all and balance motherhood and writing?

Doing it all? Impossible unless you are a cyborg, alien, or alien cyborg. I am sadly none of those things. My house is in a terminal state of messiness. My three-year-olds are the only preschoolers in the neighborhood who play zombie tag and know without question how to dispatch the undead hordes. I constantly sport burn marks on my arms and hands from either reading or writing while cooking dinner. I won't lie and say it isn't hard work or that I'm not frequently exhausted, but I'm happy. And that is a good thing for my kids to see. It's just a question of what you're willing to sacrifice for. I, apparently, am willing to sacrifice a lot for zombies that puke up black gunk.
I never said I was sane.

7) Thank you for validating my house's messiness. You knew I was going to save the best question for last. Who would win in a zombie ninja dance-off: Richard Simmons or The Hoff?

Ooooh. That’s a toughie. But I have to say that neither of them would win, because I would find out where the dance-off was being held and get dressed up in my sparkly merpire princess costume, and I’d crash the contest.
*I* would win. And *I* am really modest. Just ask me.

Thanks so much for interviewing me!!!

Thank you, Carrie, for visiting our blog and for sharing your insights with us. I can't wait to read this book and best of luck with your next one!


  1. You're right, that may be the all time cover. And who doesn't love Zombies?

    Great interview, thanks ladies!

  2. I am rolling at the idea of Carrie in a PLAID barret! And I am rooting for the epic poem on merpires. Seriously.
    Kristi, thanks for setting this up and Carrie thanks for visiting us! We <3 you more than Zompire Faeries.

  3. Great interview! Can't wait to read this book. :)

  4. *Ehem* That was meant to be *beret*. I was going to let it go. I really was.

  5. Ooooh. Zompire faeries....


    Uh, I mean, thanks for having me?


  6. Carrie, you're so fun. I had no idea about the novel that went to acquisitions countless times. That might have just about done me in.

    Thankfully, you kept writing!

    And you're serious about that beret??!! :)

  7. If Monster Math was available in school I may have done a lot better!! Great interview, ladies! Book looks awesome.


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