Thursday, February 4, 2010

A (Cyber) Chat with Amy Kathleen Ryan

Hey Readers!
Today is a great day because (a) it stopped snowing, and I won’t have to scrape my car again! (b) I have internet in my dorm room again! and, best of all, (c) I have a new author interview for you! Today I have an interview with Amy Kathleen Ryan, the awesome author of “Shadow Falls,” “Vibes,” and (due out soon) “Zen and Xander Undone.”
Here’s what Amy had to say when I emailed her some questions – enjoy!
C: In “Vibes,” Kristi, your main character, can read minds. Have you ever wished that you could read minds like Kristi?
AKR: Yes, there have been times when I've found people confusing, and I've wished I could know what was going through their mind, especially when they do something that hurts my feelings. But I think that VIBES grew more out of some life lessons I'd learned, namely that when you think you know what someone is thinking, you're actually more likely to misunderstand them. People are deep mysterious beings, with such varying complexity that it's almost impossible for one person to really predict another. The only way to bridge the gap is to talk, and that's precisely what Kristi does not do. I wanted her to learn this lesson, because I knew she would be happier if only she would start talking and stop assuming. 
C: Do you see yourself as being more like Annie, from “Shadow Falls,” who captures the beauty of life through a camera, or Cody, her brother, who physically connects with the earth through rock climbing? 
AKR: I'm definitely more like Annie. Even if she lost her desire to be a climber, she's still pretty outdoorsy, but in a quieter way than her brother. Like her, I love walking in the woods, and for a while I was into photography. For me, communing with nature is more about experiencing creation through my five senses rather than challenging myself. There is nothing on earth more beautiful than the mountains in Wyoming, and I miss them if I'm away from them too long. 
C: I am lucky enough to have read an ARC of “Zen and Xander Undone.” As a sister, I’m always fascinated by the relationships of fictional sisters. Do you have a sister? If so, is your relationship with your sister similar to the relationship between Zen and Xander? 
AKR: I have a brother, and we were very close growing up. I think my relationship with him informed my portrayal of the sisters, but I have also drawn from some lifelong friendships with women, too. As far as whether the characters represent me or my brother, the short answer is no. Zen and Xander are their own people, but they have characteristics of my brother and me, sort of all mixed up. My brother is brilliant like Xander, and shy like Zen. I am self reliant like Zen, but fiery like Xander. 
C: What was your favorite book when you were a teenager?
AKR: If I had to narrow it down to just one, it would be "A Ring of Endless Light" by Madeleine L'Engle. I loved how the protagonist, Vickie Austen, gets to swim with dolphins, and how she can communicate with them telepathically. But the book has such heavy themes, such as death and self destruction, but they're dealt with lovingly, the same way L'Engle always treated her characters. I think that book heavily influenced Shadow Falls, in a way, because Annie develops a powerful relationship with a grizzly bear. 
C: What author are you most looking forward to meeting and/or seeing at the Fifth Annual TBF?
AKR: Barry Lyga and I are pals, so it will be nice to see him. Also it would be great to run into an old classmate from the New School, Coe Booth.
Amy, thanks so much for answering these questions. I loved reading your answers and I’m sure the rest of my readers loved it too! We can’t wait to meet you in May at TBF!
Well, readers, that’s all I have for today. Keep checking back for more posts! 

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