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Fall 2014 Publishers’ Preview: Five Questions for Carrie Ryan & John Parke Davis

Publishers' Previews

This interview originally appeared in the September/October 2014 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Fall Publishers’ Preview, a semiannual advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

Sponsored byLittle, Brown

Carrie Ryan, the author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth and its sequels, is joined by her husband, John Parke Davis, for The Map to Everywhere, published in November by Little, Brown.

Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis

Photo: Angel Eye Portraits.

1. Okay, who does what?

CR & JPD: We both actually do everything, which sounds like a lame dodge, but is really very true. There are two points of view, a boy and a girl, so Carrie usually takes the first pass at Marrill’s chapters, and JP usually takes the first pass at Fin’s. On a more abstract level, Carrie is definitely in charge of emo-ing it up, and JP is frequently responsible for adding “cleverness” (read: making up silly words).

2. The Pirate Stream is such a neat idea, and based on real life, too. How did you hit upon it as a motif?

CR & JPD: JP was looking up pirates one day and stumbled on the phrase “pirate stream” — meaning a stream that captures the headwaters of another stream — on a geology website. That inspired us to think about old creation myths, where the world was all unformed potential, and imagine what it would be like if there were a pirate stream from that — a river of pure magic where anything was possible.

ryan_map to everywhere3. Carrie, this is a far different world from The Forest of Hands and Teeth (shiver). Was it hard to lighten up?

CR: It helps that writing middle grade is such an entirely different mindset — instead of thinking “what’s the worst thing that can happen?” I think, “what’s the coolest thing that can happen?”

4. The title page says, “Book One.” How much more can we expect?

CR & JPD: The Map to Everywhere is the first in a four book series, which we love because it gives us lots of room to really dig into the different facets of the world. We’ve had the overall arc of the series worked out for a while, and we just turned in a draft of Book Two and are starting on the third.

5. Does writing a book together replace or inspire marriage counseling?

CR & JPD: When we decided to try writing together, we both sort of suspected the experiment would end in at least one homicide, so it’s actually been pretty amazing how well we work together. Fortunately, we’re used to compromising and listening to each other — we’re each other’s biggest supporters.

Sponsored byLittle, Brown

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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