I think I want readers to take away the idea that girls should be allowed to be as complicated and lost as anybody else.
Many writers dream of becoming a published author, and for Rory Power, her dream is about to come true! Her debut novel, Wilder Girls, is set to be published on July 9th by Delacorte Press with it described as a feminist Lord of the Flies meets Annihilation.
The Nerd Daily had the pleasure of talking to Rory about her debut novel, her journey to getting published, what’s next for her, and more!
Tell us a little about yourself!
Hi, I’m Rory Power, author of Wilder Girls! I write speculative YA books full of mystery and weirdness and queer girls. 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).
Your debut novel Wilder Girls releases on July 9th! Can you tell us what it’s about?
Wilder Girls is about a trio of best friends trapped under quarantine at their island boarding school. When one of them goes missing, the others will risk everything to find her. Think Lord of the Flies meets Annihilation, with a heavy dose of body horror and an f/f romance.
Where did the inspiration for Wilder Girls come from?
I’m someone who loves setting more than almost anything else in a book – it’s what I start with and what I always come back to. For Wilder Girls, the setting and the whole book were inspired by a visit I made to Harkers Island in North Carolina in 2015. The landscape was so arresting that I knew I had to write about it somehow. The island in the book ended up being set much further north, and it looks a bit different, but it’s rooted in that initial inspiration, and one of the characters is named Harker as a tribute.
Was there a scene or a character you had difficulties writing?
There were a ton of scenes that were tricky, but the hardest 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. It was tough to balance the shock of the new information against how used to the whole situation Hetty is. She’s been quarantined for a while at the start of the book, so things that surprise the reader don’t surprise her. Taking that attitude and keeping it consistent even in situations that are new to her was difficult. Hopefully I pulled it off!
Is there anything you hope readers to take away from the story?
Most of all, I think I want readers to take away the idea that girls should be allowed to be as complicated and lost as anybody else. We expect girls to make themselves pretty, to make themselves fit for public consumption both inside and out, and I want people to leave Wilder Girls feeling that expectation just a little bit less.
What was your journey to becoming a published author like?
I started writing seriously about four years ago, beginning with a truly disastrous first draft of Wilder Girls that was in an entirely different point of view and would have interested absolutely nobody but me. After a year of graduate school, where I focused on other projects, I came back to the book and started over, keeping the central concept (and the first scene) but trashing almost everything else. That was the book I queried with, revised with my agent, and went on sub with, and we were fortunate enough to land at Delacorte. And I should note that while grad school was important for me – it was dedicated time to focus, and pushed me hard – it’s absolutely not necessary to publishing. I was incredibly privileged that financial aid made it accessible to me, and that I had that flexibility to move somewhere new, but you do not need a degree to publish.
What’s your process when it comes to writing?
I used to think that I was a very rigid outliner, and that I loved revision and hated drafting. But the more I write, the more I realize that while I do love to outline, I also love to throw the outline away. And I do love to revise, but I revise by throwing away the whole book and starting a new draft from scratch. So I’m still figuring all that out, but one thing I know for sure is that before I put a single word down, I have to know what setting I’m working with. I don’t necessarily need to know my characters before I start writing, or my plot, but I absolutely cannot get anything right until I have the setting and atmosphere figured out.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read! Which you’ve definitely heard before, but more than reading fiction, read other work too! Read scientific articles and read the news and read critical analysis of a classic or critical analysis of that TV show that ended last week (or both). You learn from everything, and you never know what will inspire you.
What’s next for you?
I’ll have a new standalone out in 2020! I can’t tell you much now, except that it’s set in the summer and involves family secrets and a lot of corn. Like, a LOT of corn.
Lastly, do you have any recommendations for us whether they be books, TV shows, and/or movies?
The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring! W1A, for if you miss Veep! Dead to Me! Clouds of Sils Maria, but have some caffeine before you watch it!
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. You can find Rory on Twitter and Instagram.