First Draft Episode #188: Ally Condie
Ally Condie, New York Times bestselling author of the Matched series, as well as Summerlost and The Darkdeep, co-written with Brendan Reichs. In this conversation, Ally talks about what inspired her to get an MFA after establishing herself as a bestselling author, always working on two things at once, and how the 2016 election gave Ally enough rage to write her newest young adult novel, murderous revenge story The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe.
Links and Topics Mentioned In This Episode
The Planet of the Apes movies, which were filmed near where Ally grew up in rural Utah
Ally was inspired by a blog post by Shannon Hale, New York Times bestselling author of The Princess Academy and Austenland, where she wrote about writing 1,000 words a day. Ally was inspired by Shannon to commit to daily word goals. She started with 500.
Lisa Mangum, editor at Shadow Mountain press, which released Ally’s first few books
Chris Shoebinger, publishing director at Shadow Mountain Press, who released Ally from her publishing contract so she could pursue a bigger contract for Matched
Jodi Reamer, literary agent at Writer’s House, who also represents Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of the Shatter Me series (listen to her First Draft episode here), Ransom Riggs, New York Times bestselling author of the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series (listen to his First Draft episode here), John Green, New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, and Stephenie Meyer, author of the global phenomenon Twilight series
Julie Strauss-Gabel, publisher at Dutton Books, who has edited John Green, Adam Gidwitz, New York Times bestselling author of A Tale Dark & Grimm and The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog, and Gayle Forman, New York Times bestselling author of If I Stay and I Have Lost My Way
The Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in writing for children, the program Ally attended
Emily Wing Smith, author of The Way He Lived and All Better Now, and Carol Lynch Williams, author of The Chosen One and Glimpse, two Utah authors Ally was friends with who also attended the Vermont College of Fine Arts for the MFA program
Kekla Magoon, author of National Book Award Longlisted X: A Novel (written with Ilyasah Shabazz), Coretta Scott King-honored The Season of Styx Malone and How it Went Down, and was Ally’s mentor at the Vermont program and helped her with an early draft of Poe Blythe
Quentin Tarantino’s advice to screenwriters was to delete the last two lines of dialogue from every scene, which Alfred Gough and Miles Millar--creators of Smallville and Into the Badlands shared with me on their recent First Draft episode. That’s similar to Ally’s feeling that sometimes she writes past the natural ending of a chapter.
Brendan Reichs, New York Times bestselling author of Genesis, and co-writer of Virals with his mother, New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs, and The Darkdeep with Ally. Brendan and Ally fortuitously decided to pursue an MFA at Vermont at the same time.
YALLWEST and YALLFest, two national young adult and middle grade book festivals held in Charleston, S.C. and Los Angeles. Ally is on the board of the festivals, alongside Brendan Reichs and Margaret Stohl, New York Times bestselling author of the Beautiful Creatures series, Red Widow and Royce Rolls (listen to her First Draft episodes here and here)
Write Out, the non-profit organization Ally founded as a way to bring authors to kids in rural Utah
Brendan Reichs, Shannon Hale, Soman Chainani (author of The School for Good and Evil series--listen to his First Draft interview here), and Yamile Saied Mendez (author of Blizzard Besties: A Wish Novel, and the forthcoming On These Magic Shores) are among the authors who volunteer at Write Out
Ally and I urge listeners to Marie Kondo your fear -- go write that angry revenge novel!!!!
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