We’re very pleased to have bestselling author Ally Carter as our guest today on the ball. She is the author of the wildly popular Gallagher Girl books about a spy academy, and her latest book, DON’T JUDGE A GIRL BY HER COVER, is officially out tomorrow!
When I first started writing, it took me a long time to fully appreciate some of the best advice any writer could possibly receive: write what you read. I wasted a lot of time early on trying to write the types of books I very rarely picked up—trying to be someone I’m not. It turns out I’m a laugher and an adventurer and a lover of any story that keeps me turning pages well into the night.
When the first book in my Gallagher Girls series, I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU, was released in April 2006 I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Would people buy it? Would people like it? Would it become the kind of summer read that I have always needed to keep myself sane during those long, hot days?
I was incredibly pleased and surprised when people did buy it and read it and called it a great summer book. But what surprised me most was how frequently that was seen as an insult.
“Your book is so easy to read!” was almost always followed by “I’m sorry.”
“I read this book in one sitting” was quite frequently considered one of the “cons”.
Words like “fluffy”, “breezy”, “light”, and “fun” were seen as negatives as much as positives and I found myself defending—at least to myself—the literary merits of laughter.
By the time the second book in my series, CROSS MY HEART AND HOPE TO SPY, hit shelves I had finally learned to simply smile and say thank you whenever someone called my books fluff. I’ve accepted my place on airplanes and beaches, in hospital waiting rooms and train stations and the hammocks of life.
Now, many books later, I’m proud to say that if you’re looking to insult me you need to come with more firepower than “fun” or “light”, or “fast”. And, most of all, I’ve learned that my mother was right: you are what you read. And I’m someone who likes to laugh and sip lemonade and escape inside the pages of an interesting story, told well.
If you’re a closet summer book lover, however, do not fear. You can easily pull the dust jacket off of an old Russian master to camouflage my newest Gallagher Girls book. In fact, for a book called DON’T JUDGE A GIRL BY HER COVER I think maybe you should do exactly that.
(p.s. from The Debs: Ally is traveling for her book tour today and likely can’t get to the computer to respond to comments. However, I’m sure she’ll enjoy any comments when she CAN get back to the keyboard, so please show her some love!)