Meet Rory Power.
Rory Power grew up in New England, where she lives and works as a crime fiction editor and story consultant for TV adaptation. She received a Masters in Prose Fiction from the University of East Anglia, and thinks fondly of her time there, partially because she learned a lot but mostly because there were a ton of bunnies on campus. Wilder Girls is her first novel, and will publish with Delacorte Press on July 9, 2019.
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Hi Rory! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you so much for having me! I’m Rory! I write YA books – usually queer, usually weird – and when I’m not writing I work as an editor of crime fiction and as a story consultant for adapting books into television. I also have an unhealthy attachment to my Spotify (and to Twitter, if we’re being honest). So excited to chat with you about Wilder Girls!
Crime fiction editor, story consultant for TV adaptation, and now upcoming debut author: what is your secret to finding balance between the different roles you have?
The great thing about the work I do is that each job helps me get better at the others, so I never feel like I’m wasting time. Editing and consulting help me look at my own work more critically and from a broader perspective, and writing my own work helps me approach editing and consulting with a greater understanding of where the author is coming from. It can be a challenge, though, to know what to prioritize and when. I try to keep to a strict schedule, and to only do certain kinds of work at certain times of day, which helps me focus.
Without giving away an spoilers, what was the hardest scene to write in your debut, Wilder Girls?
The hardest scene was one that takes place early on in the book, where Hetty first leaves the school and starts to learn the truth about the quarantine. The tricky thing for me was balancing the shock of the new information against how used to the whole situation Hetty is. She’s been quarantined for a year and a half at the start of the book, so things that are surprising to the reader aren’t to her. Taking that attitude and keeping it consistent even in situations that are new to her was difficult. Hopefully I pulled it off!
How long did it take you to write – including brainstorming notes and drafts – until Wilder Girls became the finished novel that will be releasing soon?
I wrote the first draft of Wilder Girls in about two months before realizing it was entirely wrong and setting it aside for a little over a year. Once I decided to come back to it, the rewrite took six months, and was followed by another eight or so of revisions with my agent and then my editor. That year-long break was absolutely crucial – it took me that long to let the story go and come back at it from a completely fresh angle, one that involved a whole new main POV character and a different angle to the worldbuilding.
As an editor, did you often find yourself editing your own writing before you planned?
Absolutely! I think a lot of people have that editing voice that’s hard to ignore, and for the most important thing when I’m writing new material is finding ways to convince my brain that it’s okay to leave a problem alone for the time being and keep going. I like to use track changes or bolded fonts as a signal to myself that I know there’s something wrong with the material but that I’ll fix it later.
If you had to pick a place as the real life setting for Wilder Girls, where would it be?
Originally, the setting was based on an island in the Outer Banks. In revisions, though, I moved it north – much further north – and the island in Wilder Girls is now meant to resemble the Great Wass Island Preserve in Maine. The landscape there is so stark and gorgeous, and fit with the atmosphere I’d originally wanted.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
Thank you again for having me! And if you’re looking for more reads on the horizon, I really recommend The Tenth Girl, by Sara Faring, which is out this September. It’s super smart and creepy and atmospheric – I loved it so much.
Thank you Rory!
Wilder Girls is out now!