Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Author Interview- Ally Carter

1) Your two series feature espionage of some kind. What kind of research do you do to make the books as authentic as possible? Are you really a spy or thief posing as a writer so as to innocent and unnoticed?

I do a small bit of research—basically, just trying to understand the real-world aspects of these incredibly unusual professions. For Heist Society, I focused my research not just on high-stakes heists and the world of international art crime, but also on art history. I knew very little about the old masters going in, and I wanted to make sure I had the right artists in the right eras—things like that. I wish I could say that I know all this because I’m really living a fabulous double-life, but unfortunately, my fantasy life just has to suffice.

2) The fourth Gallagher Girls book is coming out early this summer. Is there anything you can tell us about it? How many more books do you plan on writing about Cammie and her spy friends?

Almost from the beginning I’ve seen the Gallagher Girls as a six book series—that would take Cammie and her friends through their last semester at the Gallagher Academy and that seems like a fitting place to say goodbye. There’s not really much I can say about ONLY THE GOOD SPY YOUNG without spoiling something, so I’ll just say that this book sees much higher stakes than we’ve ever seen before. More drama. More heartache. More. Just in general…more.

3) The first book of your new series, Heist Society, recently came out. How do you feel about it being out in the world after spending so much time with it and talking about it for a while? Do you have an estimate of how long this series will be?

It’s always exciting—and terrifying—having a new book come out. When it’s the start of a whole new series you can multiply the nerves by about ten. But more than anything I’m just excited to finally be able to talk about Heist Society with people who have read it. You spend months or even years trying to guess people’s reactions and finally being able to see those reactions is a blessing. Unlike the Gallagher Girls, I don’t have a finite ending point in mind for the Heist books. Maybe I’ll stop at one or two. Or maybe we’ll still be talking about them in 20 years. Right now, I’m open to just about anything.

4) For the third GG book and Heist Society, you've gone on a national book tour. What's it like to go on tour, and what are your favorite parts of being on tour?

There’s an old joke that goes “The only person who complains more than an author on tour is an author not on tour” and that sums it up pretty nicely. Touring is fun, exciting, frantic, and awesome. It’s also terrifying, exhausting, lonely, and expensive. The best parts are always the fans—meeting them, talking to them, answering their questions. But in between those parts there are a lot of long days, early mornings, and airport security lines. I love it, don’t get me wrong. But I’m also usually very ready to come home once it’s over.

5) A follow-up to the tour question. I'm sure you've got quite a lot of wonderful memories of being on tour, but is there any one moment that sticks out to you more than the others?

Tour is always full of highs and lows. One of the highs that leaps to mind (maybe because it’s the most recent) was my stop at the Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston last February. It’s an adorable and cozy little store, but the night of my signing for some reason it was packed. I’ll never forget the owner turning to me and saying “let’s hope the fire marshal doesn’t show up”. The fire marshal—I was having an event where they were worried about the fire marshall. That was a surreal—and wonderful—moment.

6) I know you went to Ireland to be part of Team Castle last summer with a bunch of other YA writers. What was that experience like? How did you get involved with it?

It was a wonderful experience that came about after Sarah Rees Brennan, Jennifer Lynn Barnes and I got acquainted at a conference. Sarah is from Ireland and told me “you should come to Ireland—we’ll rent a castle.” I, of course, thought she was joking. Turns out…she wasn’t. Castle rental is really quite affordable, she told me, and that night I started looking up properties, astounded how cheap they really were. After that, Jen and Sarah both mentioned it to people who mentioned it to people and before you know it we were there!

7) You worked for several years in the agricultural business. What was that like? What did you do?

I was sort of a consultant for farmers and ranchers, helping them with the business aspects of farming and ranching. It was very rewarding work.


  1. I love Heist Society it was superb. So excited for the next book in the series. Great review XD Ahh I never imagined book tour to be lonely, but I can imagine it now.

  2. Great interview. I've just pre-ordered two of the Gallagher Girls books as they sound fab. I also love the sound of Heist Society.

  3. Lovely interview! I love Ally Carter. I haven't read Heist Society yet, but I've heard wonderful things about it :)

  4. Great interview. I really enjoyed HS and I love the GG books but what is Ally Carter's favourite Jelly bean flavour!!!!!!

  5. I have read all the Gallagher Girl books, and I am OBSESSED. I have girls in my class putting them on hold because I got them hooked on them too.As soon as the next one comes I will be one of the first to read it. I do have one question though, what is your fan mail address??

  6. Dear Ally,
    I have a good idea!! Why don't you just make the books.. into MOVIES???? I bet every reader would love them.... and I saw that it was suggested. Please consider... it would make the fans happy!!1

  7. Thanks all for the comments! (I know, way behind, lol)

    Jordyan- You can look on Ally's site for her fan mail address- http://www.allycarter.com - or for other ways to contact her.

    As for the movies, authors don't have the funds to make their books into movies. Movie producers have to approach them; luckily, Heist Society has been optioned to be made into a movie recently. So hopefully it'll end up getting made, but it could take a really long time. Essentially, all I'm saying is that the vast majority of authors have no say in their books being made into movies.

    Hope that helps!! :) Thanks for stopping by!