Because dogs are an integral part of her writing process, Carrie’s dog, Spartacus, has decided that he should be in charge of this interview. Since Carrie is super conflict averse, she agreed. She apologizes in advance for the quality of her answers.
Sparty the Dog: Dear Carrie, we in your canine family have noticed that you write about… Well, you write about weird things when you write for young adults.
Carrie the Human: I have no idea what you mean, Sparty.
Sparty the Dog: Let me flip through my notes. Yes. Here we go. Human-sized pixies, possession, alien hunting cheerleaders, another upcoming book about Big Foot –
Carrie the Human: That one isn’t actually about Big Foot… It’s something scarier.
Sparty: I worry that you are my human.
Carrie: I give you bacon though.
Sparty: It’s the only reason I stay around. Anyway, I have questions for you, human! This is an interview. Are you ready?
Sparty: What nugget of craft advice has been especially helpful to you?
Carrie: Don’t be afraid to be weird.
Sparty: Really? That’s it?
Carrie: Everyone can be normal, or pretend to be. But when you embrace your weird? That’s when improvisation happens, that’s when creativity and production and craft meet to make something magical.
Sparty: Did Tim Wynne-Jones tell you that?
Carrie: Actually, I think it was Rita Williams-Garcia.
Sparty: Well, at least I got the three-name thing down. Moving on… What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled as research for your writing?
Carrie: What to do when you’re being interviewed by a dog.
Sparty: Did it say, “Bribe him with bacon?”
Carrie: It did! How did you know that?
Sparty: I wrote that Buzzfeed article. So, tell us something special you keep on your desk as you work.
Carrie: Bacon. You know that. You’re always trying to knock it off the desk.
Sparty: No comment. What advice would you give to a prospective VCFA student? Whew. That’s a giant word. Prospective. You VCFA people like those multisyllabic words, don’t you?
Carrie: You just said one.
Sparty: Said what?
Carrie: You’re a talking dog who writes blog posts and BuzzFeed articles. I know you’re smart, buddy. You can’t hide it.
Sparty: Just answer the question. So this can be done and I can go on a walk.
Carrie: I would tell them to be unafraid, to try everything you can try (genre, style, point of view), to write like the house was on fire and you have to get your chapter done because there may never be time to write again.
Carrie: I shrug.
Sparty: You do shrug. A lot. You also sigh. They teach you not to do that all the time at Vermont, don’t they? And yet, you still do it…
Carrie: You know what they say about old dogs.
Sparty: That they are awesome?
Carrie: That too.
Sparty: Final question so we can take a walk! What do you wish you had known before stepping onto the VCFA campus?
Carrie: I wish I had known how important the cookies were to overall health and writing sustainability. Those cookies in the cafeteria are absolutely imbued with magical properties. You can practically see the Printz Award glitter and Caldecott bling flying off of them, giving all the students a bit more writing enchantment. I know! I know! It sounds totally unreal. IT IS REAL! THE MAGIC IS REAL! Go forth and eat cookies, prospective students.
Sparty: So the cookies are like bacon?
Carrie: Pretty much.
CARRIE JONES is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the Need series, as well as After Obsession with Steven E. Wedel. She is a distinguished alum of Vermont College's MFA Program, and an on call firefighter in Maine because … um… firefighting! In her spare time, she likes to pet dogs, fight polio, and make literacy festivals.
Visit Carrie online at www.carriejonesbooks.com, follow her on Twitter @carriejonesbook (http://twitter.com/