Back in 2011 and 2012, I wrote about book signings held by Jen Lancaster (twice), Meg Cabot, and Ally Carter for a now-defunct site. Since those posts are no longer available, I'm sharing them here. Below is the one about Ally Carter visiting the Seattle area. It first appeared March 2012.
An overflow crowd turned out this week at Third Place Books just outside of Seattle, WA for Ally Carter's book tour promoting the latest Gallagher Girls book Out of Sight, Out of Time. During the hour-long question and answer session that came before the book signing, Carter answered questions about the Gallagher Girls and Heist Society series and gave some writing advice.
In explaining how she got the idea for Gallagher Girls, Carter revealed that it was all because of her misunderstanding about a plot point from the TV show Alias. Carter thought Sydney's sister went to spy school. When she found out that wasn't the case, Carter decided she had to write that story. To make the series as authentic as she could, Carter did plenty of research about the CIA. Carter said she approaches the Gallagher Academy as if it's real and has the classes the girls take involve real training exercises used by the CIA. The audience was thrilled to find out a sixth book that takes Cammie through graduation or death--"whichever comes first!"--is in the works. She also told the captivated group the series will not end without the truth about Cammie's father being revealed. But right now, Carter's working on the third Heist Society book. When creating a new story, she uses a notebook to plot it out. That notebook goes just about everywhere with her; Carter's not even taking a break for the tour though she did leave it at the hotel during the appearance.
In regards to writing advice, Carter said you must give yourself permission to write badly and that she did plenty of it in her early teens. Carter also told would-be authors to write and read as much as possible while not worrying about publication. She said you should read everything, not just the genre you're interested in, in order to learn how words work. When asked what she reads, Carter said The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton was one of her earliest inspirations and she now primarily reads young adult books including those by E. Lockhart and Holly Black.
Carter's tour for Out of Sight, Out of Time wrapped up today in Wichita, KS.