the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Author Blog

Amy Rose Capetta and UNMADE!

Posted by Adi Rule on Tue, Jan 13, 2015 @ 08:01 AM

Today the stars have aligned to bring us Unmade, the conclusion to Amy Rose Capetta's stellar YA novel Entangled (HMH Kids). Here are the details:

UNMADEcoverIn the universe-altering conclusion to Entangled, seventeen-year-old Cade has to turn her rock star talents to saving the human race from the Unmakers. As Cade struggles to stay close to her strong-willed crew and get even closer to Rennik, the ship’s fascinating and frustrating pilot, her life becomes a tangle of love, death, and lyrics.

We're singing a happy song today because Amy Rose is here! Welcome. So, tell us . . .

Who was your favorite character to write and why?

Renna. Because writing about a living spaceship is the most fun I’ve ever had while doing something that can be defined as work. 

What authors do you love for their sentences? How about plot? Character?

Sentences: Jeanette Winterson. Shakespeare. Italo Calvino. Rainbow Rowell. 

Plot: Philip Pullman. Kristin Cashore. Cori McCarthy. 

Character: Melina Marchetta. A.S. King. Joss Whedon.

What nugget of craft advice has been especially helpful to you?

Don’t be afraid to start over. Or—yes, be afraid, but do it anyway. If you know the story needs it. If trying to patchwork it will just give you a minimally better version of your fatally flawed draft. I NEVER would have been brave enough to do this on deadline if I hadn’t gone to VCFA. But when I sat down to revise, my gut was screaming. And VCFA taught me a lot of great nuance-y sophisticated writer things, but it also taught me to listen to that gut scream. I actually became a more instinctive writer by getting an MFA! I also became one who was brave and foolish enough to rewrite a 90,000 word novel in four months.

Do you write in silence? If not, what’s your soundtrack?

space ship in video gameI have to send a huge YOU ARE AWESOME to whoever on facebook told me to listen to the Battlestar Galactica soundtrack while writing. It was just too perfect. I love the influences you can hear from cultures around the world that the composer drew on to create something that sounds familiar, but also futuristic and entirely its own. It was exactly what I needed for this story—that driving, intense outerspace thing, yes, but also the connection to Earth and and tradition and home. I couldn’t write these books in silence, because Entangled and Unmade are all about music. They started with one lonely punk rock girl in space, and grew from there. 

Are there any specific challenges to writing a duology as opposed to a trilogy or a standalone?

YES! As soon as I saw the ending of the second book, I knew I would give anything to get there. I really wanted to finish Cade’s story. There was one huge thing standing in my way. The beginning of the second book. The second half of Unmade is a downhill tumble toward the end—everything starts out bad and gets worse. But at the beginning, you have to reintroduce the characters and plot of the first book without being too redundant or killing the pace. And in a duology, the beginning of that second book is actually the middle of the big-story arc. Apparently middles are just as swampy and hard when they’re at the beginning of a book! And ending a series is sad, but also, in some ways, the best. Because I got to go to the end of the line with characters I already loved. It gave them time to grow and develop waaaay more than they could in the first book. And, as we all know, the longer people are on a very small spaceship together, the more likely they are to make out. (Bonus: my publisher refers to the series as a Space Duet, and I can’t get over how perfect that is.)

I love the term "Space Duet"! Let's use it often!

asteroid belt NASA resized 600

How did attending VCFA affect your writing life?

A day in the life of a VCFA junkie: Today I woke up, drank coffee out of my VCFA mug, worked on my manuscript which has already been beta-ed by one alum and will soon go out to another. Next I do work for my freelance job, which I only have because I moved to Austin and found the wonderful (VCFA-heavy) community down there. I edit other peoples’ work, which basically consists of writing packet letters! Oh, and over lunch I talked plot with my next door neighbor, who is also my best friend from the program. VCFA and my life are completely inextricable at this point. I love it.

Yes!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Amy Rose. Welcome to the universe, Unmade! 

Amy Rose Capetta is a member of VCFA's Keepers of the Dancing Stars. Visit her online at amyrosecapetta.com! Also, be sure to check out her Tumblr collaboration with author Cori McCarthy on all things nerdlore and book love, the NerdBait Guide.

Topics: young adult, 2015 release, HMH Books For Young Readers, Amy Rose Capetta, HMH Kids

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