Thursday, October 18, 2012

An Interview with Cory Putman Oakes

Q: Why do you write for Young Adults?

A: The books that made me really fall in love with reading were all Young Adult Books, so I think that’s naturally where my brain goes whenever I sit down to write something myself. Even as an adult, I tend to read mainly YA because there is just something so appealing about that genre. They say you should start a book at the moment that the main character’s life is about to change – well, I feel like that really sums up the YA genre in general. Everyone’s life starts to get interesting when they make that transition from child to adult. It’s an inherently exciting time, full of so much possibility that it presents a never-ending string of potential storylines to writers.

I also enjoy the peculiarities of YA. The pace is quicker in YA (as compared with adult books). And I have found that teens in general refuse to waste their limited free time on anything they don’t absolutely love, so as a writer, there is the added challenge of making your book worth their while.

Q: In high school, where did you fall? (Prom Queen/King, Gamer Geek, Brainy/Book Nerd, Jock, Shy/Quiet Scholar, Skate Rat, Stoner, Class Clown, etc.)

A: Nerd Alert: I did pretty much everything at my high school that was not considered cool: I was a drama geek, I was captain of the water polo team, and I was in all of the Honors/AP classes. In my free time, I liked to write and take karate lessons (two things that were so nerdy there weren't even any school clubs for them). My grand finale was organizing a rebel student production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing during my senior year, after the regular drama teacher refused to consider it for the spring play.

Man, was I cool. But I wouldn't change a thing. The vast majority of people in this world did not sit at the popular table in high school, so I doubt I would be able to connect with as many readers if I had been one of the “Chosen Few” when I was younger. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself . . .

Q: Do you have a pet (pets)?  Tell us about it (them) and how they help/hinder your writing.

A. I have four pets who are the absolute rulers of the house. Even my two-year-old can’t compete with them when it comes to pure getting-their-way-ness.

The two dogs are Abby and Bailey. Abby is a 7-year-old Lhasa Apso. My husband and I got her right after we got engaged, so she has been with us through everything and has a special place in our hearts. We adopted Bailey(a shepherd mix) just nine months ago – she was a teeny 3lb fluff ball when she first moved in with us, but she has grown tremendously in size since then. Abby and Bailey get along pretty well and take turns sitting at my feet when I write at home. I bring them on walks during writing breaks and they are both very good at listening attentively while I talk out plot problems.

We also have two cats named Charlie and A.C. Their mom was a stray cat who had a litter of kittens just outside of an apartment complex we used to live in. They spent the first weeks of their lives underneath an old air conditioning unit (hence the name, “A.C.”). But now, they are accustomed to life as spoiled house cats. They both enjoy lounging on whatever surface I happen to be writing on and, like all good cats, try their best to get between me and my work. My computer screen has lots of hair on it.

Thanks so much for your time, Cory. We look forward to seeing you at the festival!
Connect with Cory at her website!

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