S.G. Browne

10 Questions With Carrie Ryan

Carrie Ryan is the author of the young adult novels, The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves set in a world several generations after the zombie apocalypse. A recovering litigator, Carrie’s a full time writer living in Charlotte, NC.

Even as a young adult, I didn’t tend to read any YA novels. I don’t even know if Young Adult novels existed when I was part of the demographic. But having read a number of them this year, most of them admittedly either about zombies or vampires, I have to say I found Carrie’s debut effort a transcendent read.

Tell us about your first zombie experience. How did you lose your undead virginity?
I’d sworn off all scary movies ever since I was five years old and my babysitter talked me into watching Poltergeist by telling me how much I was like the little girl in the movie (same name, same blond hair, same closet full of stuffed animals). Of course, my parents came home and I never saw the ending and spent the next month unable to sleep with the lights off. Naturally, I wasn’t a fan of scary movies from that point on.

And yet, somehow during my second year of law school my fiancé talked me into going to the opening night of the Dawn of the Dead remake (I can only assume his argument went something along the lines of “It’s Durham NC, what else is there to do?”). I was terrified during the movie and yet so totally pumped up afterward. I couldn’t stop imagining what I’d do if the zombie apocalypse hit.

My fiancé fed my growing addiction with a steady diet of zombie movies and books — he even read The Zombie Survival Guide out loud to me (you can see why my first book is dedicated to him).

What’s your favorite zombie film?
That’s really an unfair question! I actually hated Night of the Living Dead when I first saw it because I was so frustrated the characters couldn’t get their stupid acts together. Then I found out that was the point of the film which I thought was brilliant. I also love Shawn of the Dead because it’s both so crazy hilarious and terribly sad and frightening — they were really able to tease out so many emotions with that film. And of course Dawn of the Dead because it started it all.

It’s the zombie apocalypse. Do you use a gun, a machete, or a Louisville slugger?
Machete. A gun’s only so good as the number of bullets you have and the slugger can (a) get slippery and (b) break.

If you were a zombie, who would you eat first?
The person standing closest to me. I’m lazy and I’m sure that quality will still remain after I’m dead.

What’s the first thing you ever had published?
Other than a few short stories in my college literary magazine, the first work I had published were two essays I wrote to get into law school. One of them was called “Torts vs. Tarts” and was all about how writing romance novels was going to help me be a better lawyer. Must have convinced the admissions office because I was accepted.

Who’s your favorite author?
I can’t play favorites! Right now I’m chewing through all of Jen Lancaster’s backlist because they crack me up.

What’s your favorite book?
I always feel weird saying this, especially since I write young adult books, but my favorite book is Nabokov’s Lolita. I just love the way he plays with language — all the tricks and wordplay and flat out gorgeous language. I also love the idea of taking a hideous subject and making the telling of it beautiful – it really messes with the question of how we define art.

Name your favorite guilty pleasure.
I never feel guilty for pleasure. I do like to sometimes sleep late on work days just because I can and I also love sitting in the shower and going through all the hot water while I drink a really cold beer.

Other than your favorite author/book, name something that inspires your writing.
I get inspired by such random things: music, taking a walk, listening to people talk. I feel like if you relax you’ll find inspiration all over the place.

If you had a theme song that played when you walked into a room, what would it be?
Ugh, I have one song stuck in my head which I just can’t put down. Hmmm… I know there’s a perfect song and I just can’t think of it right now. Looking at what’s most played in my iTunes, you’d think it would be “Praan” (which is the music to the Where The Hell is Matt video with him dancing all over the world). But usually my theme song would be something that would make you dance — “Hey Ya” would be a good one or Ben Folds Five’s “There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You.” And now you see just how indecisive I can be in my life!

Shameless self-promotion bonus question: What’s coming up next?
Next up is the paperback release of my debut, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, on February 8, 2010 and then The Dead-Tossed Waves, which is a companion to my debut, out March 9, 2010.

If you’d like to visit Carrie and learn more about her writing and her novels, you can find her at www.carrieryan.com. Or follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/carrieryan.

Filed under: Interviews,Zombies — Tags: , , — S.G. Browne @ 9:08 am