I recently had the pleasure of reading Need and Captivate, two paranormal romance novels written by Carrie Jones. Carrie gives an interesting spin on pixie lore – read my reviews here and
here. Carrie was kind enough to take some time out of her busy day to answer a few questions.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
CJ – Oh man… I find it so hard to say anything about myself that doesn’t sound like the stat sheet in TIGER BEAT magazine. Here, I’m going to cop out and put what’s on my website:
- Carrie can not drink coffee. It makes her insane. Do not give her caffeine.
- Carrie is very responsive to loving strokes on the hair, kind of like a puppy. However, do not do this without asking first unless you are a ridiculously handsome man or an editor who is about to offer her a trillion dollars for the first draft of her novel.
- Carrie is secretly really, really shy even though she’s pathetically outgoing in person. She has a very hard time calling people. So, if you want to talk to her, make the first move. And, if you’re her in-Maine female best friend, Jennifer, do NOT get mad at her because she is so bad at returning emails.
- Carrie sometimes wears mismatched socks, if you do not think this is cool, do not tell her. You will hurt her feelings.
- Carrie really, really wants you to like her books. Please like her books. PLEEEAASSSEEEE. She’ll be your best friend forever. That is, if you want a friend who is shy about calling and emailing and who wears mismatched socks and can’t drink caffeine and likes being pet on the head. Hhmmm….
- Carrie is not above begging.
- Carrie, like Belle in TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (ex) BOYFRIEND drinks Postum. It’s for the same reason, too.
- Carrie loves Great Pyrenees dogs. They are huge and white, and furry and it looks like they have white eyeliner and mascara on, which is way too cute. Do you have one? Send a picture!
- Carrie lives in Maine. She has a hard time with this in the winter. It is bleak in Maine in the winter. Imagine everything shades of gray and brown and no green anywhere except for in people’s noses. This is Maine in Winter. Maine in summer is the best place in the world, so it’s a trade-off. Feel free to invite Carrie to your house in the winter, but not if it’s in Greenland, Canada, or anywhere north of Florida.
- Forget that. She’d still probably come.
CJ – The first thing I ever wrote was this horrible Star Trek fan fiction. I was in fourth grade. It was 483 notebook pages long. I wrote it long hand for my brother, Bruce, who is this total jock. I somehow foolishly thought he liked Star Trek so I wrote it for his birthday. The story featured a short, brown-haired girl with glasses and who slurred her s’s (kind of like my fourth-grade self) and who somehow has to die to save the Starship Enterprise but first ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE on the ship falls in love with her. Captain Kirk falls in love with her. Mr. Spock falls in love with her. Dr. McCoy falls in love with her. Sulu, Chekov, Scottie and an expendable red-shirt in the landing party fell in love with her.
My fourth-grade writer self thought this was THE BEST story EVER.
So, I was totally psyched to give it to my brother. I wrapped it in ribbons and handed it to him and he was all, "What? Star Trek? Squirt? I hate Star Trek."
Yes, he called me Squirt. He was a cruel big brother.
After that I gave up on writing for awhile. I did poetry after college and was a newspaper editor. Then I started telling my daughter stories out loud, and that was hard so I started writing them down. Then I decided I should go to graduate school and actually learn something about writing. I applied and amazingly got into Vermont College of Fine Arts, masters program for writing for children and young adults. After my first year I had a book contract. So, I guess it took a year if you don’t count all the way back to fourth grade.I never thought pixies were scary before, but yours are pretty frightening. What made you write about pixies?
CJ – 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.
So, I started writing. I made it about pixies instead of say – faeries – because there is so much less folklore about pixies. I wanted to incorporate traditional aspects, but also have freedom to play with it. Pixies were not always like Tinkerbell. They have a very sinister history. I guess I also wanted to unDisneyfy them a bit. Yes, I just made up the word, unDisneyfy. Sorry.One of the things I really enjoyed about Need and Captivate was the setting. It is so isolated and deliciously creepy. How did you settle on Maine for the location of your story?
CJ – That was the easiest part. I live here. In the summer there are a ton of tourists but in the fall and winter it is very cold, very calm, and people are scarce. My city has 6,000 people and it still qualifies as a city, which cracks me up.
Zara has such a distinctive, down to earth voice. I love that she is courageous and protective, even though she is having lots of personal angst to deal with. Are you anything like her?
CJ – I wish I was like Zara. I think everything annoying about her I have. I’d like to be as courageous as she is. I do have the inability to wear cool clothes. We share that.
I have to admit that I was disappointed with the ending of Captivate. Everything was building to a crazy crescendo of excitement, and then…argh! wait until the next book. How is that coming along, and what are some of the things Zara has in store for the next installment?
CJ – That was not the original ending at all, but what happened is that the structure of CAPTIVATE with the original ending absolutely failed. I originally tried to crush everything into a more satisfying ending and by doing that I killed the book big time. So, I tried another ending. The same thing happened. Without giving away spoilers, I really just ruined the book. So, my editor and I had a big talk and decided that instead of trying to smoosh everything into 40 pages I should really just write another book, which I did.
I know the ending is so hard and cliff-hangerish. I hate that about it, but for the integrity of the series it had to be done.
*runs and hides behind the dog*
You introduced a younger pixie king in Captivate. Are we going to get a love triangle between Astley, Nick, and Zara?
CJ – I’m not sure if I should say. There’s definitely a triangle though and Astley plays a large role in book three and book four, but from Zara’s point of view (at this point at least) there is no triangle.
Who are some of your favorite authors, and where do you draw your inspiration from?
CJ – I love Sherman Alexie’s poems. I adore them. I mean, I go all fan girl about them. It’s pretty sad really.
What is a typical day like in the life of Carrie Jones?
CJ – 1. Wake up to dog licking feet.
2. Ignore dog.
3. Cat meows.
4. Dog pokes muzzle in face.
5. Cat meows louder.
6. After putting pillow over head I finally give up and fall out of bed.
7 Crawl to bathroom sink and brush teeth because I hate morning breath
8 Feed cat
9 Walk dog in semiconscious state
10 Check email while Em gets ready for school
11 Drive Em to school in semiconscious state
12. Return home
13. Sit at computer
14 Stare at computer
16 Get up
17 Repeat steps 12-16 for hours and hours
18. Berate self
And there you have it! In addition to a great sense of humor, she also has that killer schedule to contend with. Wonder what her brother thinks of her writing now? Thanks for answering my questions, Carrie!