Rory Power is one of a handful of young and upcoming authors with highly anticipated debut books (see what Powers is looking forward to reading at the end of the interview) that either have been released this spring or are being released this summer. Together they are forging a new path in the publishing world and pushing the envelope. Whether it is the stories they want to tell, the diversity of the characters they use to tell that story or the intersectionality of both, a new generation seems ready to take readers by storm.
Power’s debut novel Wilder Things is out on July 9th, 2019 and she was kind enough to answer a few questions ahead of next week’s review!
1) The main characters in Wilder Girls are very complicated. Without spoilers, why did you make them each complicated?
As a reader, one of my favorite things is when a book reveals to us that we’ve been wrong, or that we’ve misinterpreted someone. That happens all the time in life; we make judgments about people that wind up to be untrue, or missing a key piece of information. I wanted Wilder Girls to include a moment like that, or a character like that – someone who isn’t quite what we thought, but whom we still understand. While I’m referring to one person in particular here, the other girls in the book are also complicated, with conflicting motives and hidden feelings. Making them that way felt only natural. I think most people in the world probably have conflict like that within them, and a situation like the one in Wilder Girls would only exacerbate that. 2) What do you think (if you think there is one) the draw is to complicated and layered characters?
I think layered characters are so engaging for a reader because they’re so like the people we know in real life. We’re always learning more things about the people around us, and I think readers respond really well to having that experience on the page. Giving your characters layers is a way to deepen the connection between them and the readers. 3) I’ve read that the setting is very important to you. Would you say the setting in Wilder Girls is actually another character, and not just a setting?
Setting is incredibly important to me, and I’d definitely say that it’s another character in the book! I usually get my initial inspiration for an idea from landscape. It’s the first thing I see, and the first thing I explore, so by the time I start writing, it’s often the thing I know best about my idea. For Wilder Girls, the setting is particularly important, in that it’s an active danger to the girls, and also something they share an unshakeable connection with. Everything they do affects the world around them, and vice versa. 4) With your debut novel a less than a month away from publication, have you thought about what you want to do differently during your next project? Or anything you want to keep the same?
My next project is different from Wilder Girls in a lot of ways, but I think the biggest difference is that Wilder Girls is focused heavily on relationships between peers (friends, or love interests) while my second project is really centered on generations of the same family. I can’t say too much about it yet, but it was important to me to explore new dynamics. For instance, where Wilder Girls is really about surviving and continuing, this new book is in part about closure, and I think the style reflects that shift.
I do hope, though, I keep the same general atmosphere of tension and urgency that I think Wilder Girls has, and I know I’ve kept the same fascination with setting – that’s something my work will always have.
5) Could you give readers a playlist for Wilder Girls?
But to highlight a couple of my favorite songs, the chorus of “Winterbreak” by MUNA has always been something I associate with the relationship between Reese and Hetty, one that is impossible both to keep and to ever really let go of. “Beggin for Thread” by BANKS is a particularly Byatt song for me, and “Superego” by Disclosure and NAO hints at some of the friendship dynamics that emerge as the relationships in the book start to strain. 6) Wilder Girls has become one of the more hyped books of the summer. Is that a source of excitement, worry or both?
Definitely both! I’m so grateful that anyone is looking forward to the book, but it’s terrifying too, especially after so long working on the story with just a handful of people. But I’m so excited to see Wilder Girls out in the world, and I hope that people find something to connect with in the story.
7) Is there anything you’ve ever wanted to say to anyone about anything that you haven’t has a chance to express or haven’t been asked the right question to do so? If so, this is your chance… the floor is yours…
Just to keep an eye out for the incredible books coming this summer and fall! Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim, The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen, The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring and Tarnished Are The Stars by Rosiee Thor are at the top of my TBR.
Bio (All Taken From Permission From Rory Power’s Press Kit):
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. She is represented by Daisy Parente at Lutyens & Rubinstein, and Kim Witherspoon at InkWell Management.