Interview with Cori McCarthy

Hello my lovely readers! I have a special surprise for everyone today. After falling in love with her latest novel I was able to conduct a email interview with NYT bestselling author Cori McCarthy *cheers* Check back tomorrow for my review of You Were Here.

Meet Cori McCarthy.

Cori McCarthy

Cori McCarthy studied poetry and screenwriting before falling in love with writing for children and young adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of three YA novels: The Color of Rain, Breaking Sky, and You Were Here. She lives in Michigan, but dreams of moving to Ireland as soon as possible! For more information, please check out


If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

“Oh, that’s easy…Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta! I love, love, love that book. It has so much tension and a sweeping setting, and there are a multiple love stories to fall for. But the best thing about the book? It captures what it’s like to be lost and depressed in a unique, moving way. If you haven’t read it, you must!”

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

“I learn about myself every time I write a new story. I start with a concept—like teen fighter pilots or grieving urbexers—and I don’t think I’m in that story. And then I find myself in each character. At one point, my beta readers and I jokingly referred to You Were Here as ‘A Tale of Five Coris.’”

What do you think makes a good story?

“Love and misery. Laughs and tears. Hope and truthful despair. I believe that the best stories provide a balance. No luck without loss, no trials without fate. When I write, I’m always shooting for a hard laugh during the worst misery. Someone asked me recently if I’d ever write a romance, and I had to say that I will never write a book without romance somewhere in it. I believe that love is at the center of the hardest, truest, roughest feelings, and capturing those feelings is what makes me want to write.”

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

“I like to play guitar and build things. I read, although I have a four-year-old son who makes reading anything other than the Little Blue Truck books a little difficult. I dabble in carpentry and painting, I write poetry and I do yoga. The last one isn’t for fun, though—it’s because when you sit at a computer five hours a day, your back starts to deteriorate swiftly!”

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

“I think I’m most proud of You Were Here. I wrote that book under a lot of pressure, and there were so many pieces in the air—the grief story, the real-life settings, the mixed format—FIVE point of view characters (what was I thinking?). The whole time I wrote the book, I thought I was messing it up, but I kept going and I’m really proud of how it turned out.”

Are you a plotter or do you write as you go?

I write, and then plot, and then write some more and then plot some more. I find the plotter v. pantser debate to be really strange because I’m not sure how I could be one or the other. I have to plot, and then as I write, I have to allow my stories to stretch outside the model I’ve designed. One might say that I plot to keep a focus on the whole novel, but I am never married to the plots I’ve written out—I make sure there are lots of wiggle room. For example, in the first draft of Breaking Sky, the book took place two thousand years in the future instead of 2048. And in the first draft of You Were Here, Natalie ended up with Mik…

What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?

“Oh, the waiting. There is an awful lot of waiting in publishing. Book deals take many, many months to develop, and then the book comes out years after you write it. There is a lot of downtime, which is actually good because that’s when I write the fastest. When I’m waiting to hear about a book, I keep myself busy by writing a new book. My favorite part of writing is the first drafting process. My least favorite part? Revision. Ack. It’s so very terrible and so very necessary.”

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I don’t think that I would ever write a crime story. That genre just doesn’t interest me as a reader, and everything I write tends to be stories that I would like to read. That being said, who knows? I like a good challenge or dare, so if someone dares me to write a crime story, I’ll probably do it.

Final words from Cori:

“You can find more information about my books and social media outlets at I love hearing from readers! If you’re a writer, I also freelance edit and provide monthly writing coaching through”

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