Need by Carrie Jones

by Carrie Jones

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Zara lives with her grandmother in Maine so that she stays "safe." Zara doesn't think she's in danger, but it turns out that guy she sees everywhere, the one leaving trails of gold glitter, is a pixie--and not the cute, lovable kind with wings. He's the kind who has dreadful, uncontrollable needs--and he's trailing Zara.

Ladies and Germs, at this point there should be zero reason why you haven't picked up a copy of this and devoured it in one sitting. I was blown out of my size sevens when I read it. Zara may have a plethora of phobias riding her hard, but that does not retract from her courage and the strength she had to keep digging into so very often in this book. There is a world beyond pixies within these pages that I did not expect. I pre-ordered this book and read it immediately, I had no idea that there'd be werewolves involved! Especially not ones like Nick. Huzzah ladies, wait until you get a hold of this guy.
This story unfolds by the peeling of layers. There is much that Zara has to uncover and it is a nail-biting unforgettable ride.

IB Teen talks with Carrie Jones:

IBT: If you could choose one fictional character to bring into real life, who would you choose?

CJ: I would really like to bring Grover from Sesame Street alive despite how taunting he was in the classic "THERE'S A MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK." Hugging Grover would be my Heaven basically. He's so blue and furry and he has that honking big red nose. Whenever I'm stressed about writing I imagine Grover cheering me on.

IBT: How did you survive being a teen?

CJ: Honestly. I'm not sure I did survive. I mean I wouldn't be shocked if you pointed at me and said, "Carrie, you are a member of the undead because you died from pure horror after the painful experience of dropping tampons out of your locker in front of Mr. Duffy your honors English teacher. You are merely a corpse."So, going on the presumption that I did survive, do I have any tips?
1. It is okay to think your life stinks sometimes.
2. It is actually okay to think your life stinks a lot.
3. Remember this does not mean that your life will stink forever.
4. Strudel is very helpful when you're thinking there is no way you can deal with another Civics class.
You can:a. Imagine your teacher is covered in strudel.
b. Sneak in some strudel to eat. The act of weird rebellion will make you much happier.
c. Just keep repeating the word over and over in your head, "Strudel, strudel, strudel." It works.

IBT: Have you ever written something that you feel uncomfortable writing, knowing that your family and friends will probably end up reading it?

CJ: Everything I write I feel uncomfortable writing because my family assumes that everything I write is somehow about me. This is pretty uncomfortable when I'm writing from the point-of-view of a male stalker.

"Tips On Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend" was especially difficult. My dad had me really late in life. He's 75 now and trying to tell him the title was horrible. He kept cracking up and saying, "Wait till I tell your Aunt Athele about this... Ho boy... Ho boy!"

That's the title though. I had no control over that. I do have some control over the writing and it's important for me not to shy away from the hard subjects. Girl, Hero was by far the hardest book I've written. I got pretty torn up during that one. I had to have emergency strudel and everything.

IBT: What do you think are the biggest issues that teens need to be thinking about today? Do you think teens today are looking for quality in the books they read, or just to live vicariously through superficial characters?

CJ: Wow. That's tough.
I would hate to impose my reality of issues on teens today. I think that there's so many different teens and different experiences and different needs out there that I couldn't possibly come up with "the biggest issue" for all teens. I mean, a teen in my town (Ellsworth, Maine) which is super rural and ridiculously white is going to have different issues than someone in Austin or LA or Kansas or Alabama or NYC.

I think teens today are looking for quality and the ability to live vicariously through the characters. It doesn't have to be an either/or thing. Alfred Tatum wrote an article, "Adolescents and Texts" in the November edition of ENGLISH JOURNAL where he says that teens are thirsting for texts that engage them, that meaningful and significant resonances in their lives; texts that have to do with identities and engaging them in 'questions that matter.' I agree with him.

Teens deserve to be able to get away from their lives, to live through characters, to be engaged and to have quality.

As writers that's what we have to strive for. Our readers deserve that.

IBT: How have the books you’ve read inspired the books you’ve written, if at all?

CJ: Most of the books I've read inspire me in one of two ways:

These are the books and poems that are so beautiful and/or fun that I drool and I wish I could have been that clever. I try to dissect how they work and pretty much always fail.

These are the books that make me cringe and I will do anything not to emulate. I have been known to want to flush some of these books down the toilet. Seriously. I'm pretty passionate about it.

IBT: What is the strangest thing you have ever gotten inspiration from? Where did the idea for "Need" come from?

CJ: There are so many strange things. The inspiration for "LOVE (AND OTHER USES FOR DUCT TAPE)" came when I was switching tv channels while I was on the treadmill. The volume wasn't on and I came on this image of a girl by the toilet and her mom looking sad. I was all, "Is she pregnant? Does she have the flu? What's going on?" Then it switched to a bunch of guys in a field playing guitar, which is when I realized I was watching a country video.

The idea for "NEED"?
I was at the Common Ground Fair, which is this huge, cool fair in Maine that’s sponsored by Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association (MOFGA). To get to the main part of the fair you have to walk through this sweet trail that curves through these tall spruce trees.

Right in front of me was this guy. He had a weird vibe. He was wearing all corduroy – blazer, pants. And sticking out from his blazer was this long tail-like appendage that was wrapped in different colored earth-toned cloth. I guess he could tell I was checking him out because he turned his head and looked at me. His eye was this startling silver color. How startling? So startling that I actually gasped and got creeped out.

Then when we were in line to pay we made eye contact again and his eyes were brown.

I know! I know! I probably imagined the silver eye color.

It doesn’t matter. That was one of the main things that got me started. Then, I just had this image of a man standing outside an airport pointing at an airplane this girl was on.

It also creeped me out.So, I started writing.

IBT: Many writers say parting with a character is hard. Do you ever look back on a character and wish you had changed something about him or her?

CJ: No. I don't. I miss them a lot sometimes, but I don't want to change them. I'm usually just hanging on for the ride and my characters are in the drivers' seats when I write. I don't consciously direct heir personalities and actions.

IBT: What is the one thing such as, sky diving or any other daring thing, that you would love to do but you are too afraid?

CJ: I'm pretty fearless actually. My one big phobia? It's skiing. I know! I know! It's the most ridiculous phobia ever.

But even though I'm phobic about it I've tried it a couple times. The last time, my ski instructor laughed at me the entire lesson and told me, "Carrie. You are the goofiest person I have ever tried to teach ski."

It was pretty embarrassing. Fear brings out the goof ball in me.

IBT: What do you do when you are faced with writer’s block? What helps you get over it?

CJ: Usually I have multiple projects. So, if I'm blocked on one I skip to the next project and go back later that day. If that still doesn't work I go running or kayaking. If that still doesn't work I stare at the computer and just type. I tell myself, "It is okay for this to be the worst possible piece of writing in the universe, just do it. You can revise later."

Usually that works.
Or sometimes I imagine Grover cheering me on.Or sometimes I imagine John Wayne (the dead movie star) yelling at me. He's my internal editor/task master.

IBT: Paris is the one city I cannot die without first visiting. Do you have a place you've yet to visit but cannot live without?

CJ: You have to go to Paris! We have to get you there. That is just not right. I would really like to go to Peru and Tibet. Both those places are like giant beacons. So, if anyone is planning a visit and they need a random, goofy writer to come with them... give me a call! I will bring strudel.

IBT: Are you working on anything now and can you share anything about it with us?

CJ: I'm working on a bunch of things.
I'm working on a middle grade science fiction story that reads more like a fantasy I guess. Not high fantasy. Just kind of mellow and set in the contemporary world.

I'm also working on a young adult mystery/suspense, which is a lot of fun because I get to call up police officers and ask them questions like, "Would you cuff a person if they just..." or "How long would it take you to figure out someone was poisoned by pizza?" I am now on a 'watch list' in our town, I think.

Finally, I'm working on a young adult novel that follows the hero's journey a little bit. It's written from a male point-of-view, so that's kind of fun and daunting.

Thank you so much for interviewing me. I hope my answers made sense.

IBT: You're tops Carrie, I hero-worship your characters man!
Carrie lives with her family, a large, skinny white dog, and a fat cat in Maine, but she grew up in Bedford, NH where she once had a séance with cool uber-comedian Sarah Silverman. She graduated from Vermont College’s MFA program for writing. Winner of the Maine Press Association and also been awarded the Martin Dibner Fellowship as well as a Maine Literary Award. Check out her first book, "TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (ex) BOYFRIEND" and her second novel, "LOVE (AND OTHER USES FOR DUCT TAPE)" -my favorite book title EVER- they are awesome.

UPDATE: Keep your eyes out for the Sequel to "NEED" called "CAPTIVATE"!


Liviania said...

This one is definitely on my want to read list! Many of Carrie's novels look incredible.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

hahahha I love her answer about researching for the new YA novel. Kind of hilarious.
And I'd like to go to Paris tooo...my sister has though.

I think this book looks awesome. And the cover is awesome!

P.S. I'd LOVE to follow the blog, but I can't find the thing you click that says you follow the blog?


perla said...

Hi Lauren,
Thanks for pointing that out, I've moved the Follow This Blog link.


Shooting Stars Mag said...


thanks for letting me know. I clicked the follow button and it won't work...it's fine though, i'll keep trying. it's happened to me before! lol


Lalaland said...

I've never read any of Carrie's books before. They sound so interesting, especially the titles. If I ever read TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (ex) BOYFRIEND, my mom would freak out. Being a teenager does suck, but it can be fun too.

I would love to enter the contest. =D

Paradox said...

EEEK!!! I want to read this book SO badly!!! I've been hearing about this one since it was Summer and it's getting hard to wait!

I signed up to follow the blog too.

Thao said...

I want to read this book, please enter me.

Vanessa (whatvanessareads.wordpress.com) said...

Great questions.

Don't enter me in this one, I'm sure other people will enjoy a story like this more than me.

BTW- I nominated you: http://whatvanessareads.wordpress.com/2008/12/14/i-heart-your-blog-awards/

Lauren said...

Enter me, please. :) I really want to read this book.

Book Spot said...

This is most definitely a book I want to read! And I was thinking Eeyore would be my fictional character choice but then thought I should have chosen a *person*- Carrie's answer made me feel better :)

Amber said...

Please enter me - this book sounds amazing! I would love to read it :) Thank you for the giveaway.


Erica V said...

Please sign me up.

Liv (Alivia) said...

I'd love a chance to read this. :)
Enter me, please.

Email: livey12@excite.com.

I am now following your blog too. :D

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I'm following now!! So happy it finally let me.


traymona said...

I love stories with mystical elements.

Cyndi said...

This sounds interesting. Please enter me.