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Author Interview: Anna Carey

Anna Carey is the author of Sloane Sisters. A new series that's been described as "Gossip Girl for the younger set." You can see my review of Sloane Sisters. For more information about Sloane Sisters check out the website:

What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?

It's funny, it really changes for each book. Which I suppose is the most amazing and terrifying thing about writing. I finished the second Sloane book last month, and the challenges I faced with that book were very different from the first. In the first book (which was the first book I'd ever written) I spent a lot of time dwelling in the characters thoughts. I had to get to know them. I took my time with each scene and really let each action unfold...which is good sometimes, but oftentimes it slowed down the scenes. We ended up cutting a lot from the first book. In the second book I had a different issue--there's a really funny storyline involving Lola and I kind of got carried away with it. I love writing funny stuff, and it was starting to feel too light, starting to lose heart.

Who has inspired you as an author?

There are probably too many names to list here. I just graduated an MFA program and my teachers there were some of the most inspiring people I've met. I also owe a lot to all the books I've loved and the authors who wrote them. In terms of Sloane, I probably owe the most to Ann M. Martin. Growing up I read The Babysitters Club obsessively, and I think that's a big part of the reason I wanted to write for a younger audience. I know how much I LOVED those books--I had about 150 of them--and I could've read them all day (and sometimes did). She made reading fun.

How do you pick the character’s names?

I get names from just about everywhere. Mainly I pick a name because I just like the sound of it. Like "Myra Granberry". It sounded sufficiently dorky. I also subconsciously steal names. Looking back, I'm nearly certain I named Ashton Prep after Ashton Kutcher (again, probably because it just sounded right) and I do think Lola and Stella got their last name, Childs, from Julia Child, the chef. Cindy Ng is actually the name of my friend's mother--a connection I didn't make until after the book came out.

As for the main characters--Stella, Lola, Andie, and Cate--their names were chosen because they were names I liked and they seemed to fit the girls. But the editors had to make sure they hadn't been used before in other series for the same age-group. So Andie's name actually changed the most over the course of development. She started as Ainsley, was Mackenzie, until we finally settled on Andie (which felt right for her).

What kind of research did you do for Sloane Sisters?

Writing British characters was a challenge! There's always that fear that you're just doing a bad impression. I have cousins in England, who I've been fortunate to visit several times, but when I wrote the book I hadn't been to London in four years. Things weren't exactly fresh in my mind, and yet I had to write from the point of view of characters who had just left there, who knew it as their home.

I can't imagine writing without the internet. The first thing I did was look at a ton of British/London slang sites, to make sure I never said "elevator" when it should be "lift" or "line" when it should be "queue". I'm sure there are a few slips in there, and sometimes we actually went with the American alternative because in the context readers wouldn't have been able to "translate" the slang. But overall, I wanted to have these characters voices in my head, and that meant I first had to have their vocabulary. I also looked at a lot of British web sites for restaurants and shops, and sites dedicated to the parks (like Kensington Gardens) so that when I described a memory that had taken place there I could be as specific as possible. Then, for anything beyond that I went to my cousins or my British friends. A lot of things Stella and Lola think about (Tizer soda, Scotch eggs, trifle) were things my friend John, who's now living in the states, missed about London.

The second Sloane Sisters book is out in October. Can you give us a hint about what happens next?

I had so much fun writing the second book! Winston and Emma go on their honeymoon and leave Margot, Stella and Lola's leather pant clad grandmum, in charge. Lola gets a big break in her new career and Andie is keeping a HUGE secret from her sister. Stella and Cate are friends...but things are still rocky. One of the minor characters from the first book plays a big role--though I don't want to give away who...

What's next for you?

Right now I'm working on the third Sloane Sisters book, which is due out next Spring. There's four books in the series, which will keep me busy for awhile. During breaks I usually work on my adult novel. It was part of my thesis for my MFA program.

Thanks Anna for that fabulous interview!

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Author Interview: Anna Carey + novel