An Interview with Anna Carey (Blackbird)

blackbirdA Q&A with Anna Carey, author of Blackbird!

When a nameless girl wakes up on the subway tracks, she knows only one thing for sure: people want her dead. Can she find them before they track her down?

1) So many exhilarating (and often terrifying) moments that make us want to read Blackbird in one sitting! Do you plot out your action scenes before you write?

I write an outline before I start a first draft, so I have a sense of the book scene by scene, chapter by chapter. When writing action scenes, I love thinking about setting. What’s a scary place to be trapped with someone who is trying to kill you? What’s an unusual place for a fight scene? I often have to block out action, or run through it with a friend, to make sure the physical descriptions all make sense.

2) We love that you tell this story entirely in second person so we feel like we’re there, in these scenes. Have you done anything like that before? Was it challenging in parts?

It was actually more challenging to tell the story in other perspectives. The issue was with the character–Sunny has had her memory erased, so she doesn’t have the personal history other characters I’ve written have. There’s no well of experience to draw from. In first person she felt a bit like a cipher. I went back to the first chapters for months, writing in different perspectives, until finally having the breakthrough of writing it in second. I think the story feels more immediate this way.

3) What are some of your favorite books—or what are you reading now?

I just finished Sleep Donation by Karen Russell. It’s a novella about a future where people are dying of extreme cases of insomnia. I just started The Book Thief (I know! I waited so long!) and have Grasshopper Jungle on my nightstand to read next. Some of my favorite YA reads are Eleanor & Park, The Scorpio Races and The Knife of Never Letting Go.

4) Have you traveled anywhere internationally? Or do you have a list of places you hope to visit?

I loved Morocco and India–there was real magic in both those places. I’ve been to China and Australia, and all over Europe (I studied in Italy for a semester), but I have a list of countries I’m still dying to see. Right now I’d love to go to Southeast Asia. Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

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