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Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.

The last post had a couple of great questions in the comments, so I thought I’d answer them here, since I couldn’t address them in just a sentence or two. And I’m going to throw in another couple of questions that I’ve been getting a lot via e-mail.

Diane asked: I got a galley of Matched… I have read it, and loved it! I can’t wait till it is officially is released and I can booktalk it to our teens–I am preparing a booktalk now! But…but…but…I am going to ask the question all the people above will start asking when they read it too. When is the next book due to come out?

We’re planning on having the books come out about a year apart, so it will be in Fall 2011 if all goes well. (And thank you for liking MATCHED! I was so, so happy when I read your comment, and I hope your teens like MATCHED too.)

Enna Isilee asked: Do you finish the entire draft before you take a break? I would assume so. But usually when I write, I’ll take a break half-way through the draft and when I come back to it I think it’s crap and I just scrap it. Ever had that problem? I think that if I actually FINISHED an entire draft, I might feel more comitted to take the time to edit it.

Yes, I finish the whole draft before I take the month-long break. And yes, I have had that problem (coming back to a partially finished draft and hating it and giving up). That’s why I make myself finish the first full draft. Because, by then, you come back and find crappy parts but you don’t give up as easily because it is THREE HUNDRED PAGES LONG AND YOU SPENT SO MUCH TIME ON IT AND YOU ARE GOING TO WRESTLE THAT WHALE INTO SUBMISSION IF IT KILLS YOU. And, also, I always like my finished books more because they have a sense of arrival, of completion, of a story told. So I have a little more faith that they can become something good than I do the half-finished drafts.

Did you know MATCHED would be a series when you wrote it?

No, I did not. I actually thought it was a one-book thing. And it has the same ending now that it did when I queried it. I felt like the character had become who she needed to be and so I ended the story where it felt right. I definitely was thrilled that Penguin saw series potential, though!

Are you worried about all the hype MATCHED is getting?

To some extent, yes. I’ve written six books and I’ve never really had hype before. And can any book live up to a ton of hype? And sometimes I think people think that this book is an “action” book, because of the Hunger Games comparisons, which it is not. To me, this book is the story of a girl named Cassia who learns to choose. So, in a lot of ways, I feel like it’s a quiet book. And I wonder if people expect that.

But, to another extent, no. Penguin is doing a killer job of generating buzz about the book, which means they believe in it, which means the world to me. And what that also means to me is that MATCHED has a better chance of being read by the readers who will find something in it. Who will see themselves in it. And nothing means more to an author than that.

I have this list called the “Books of My Life” which is, obviously, a list of the books that have been the most important reads of my life. (Crossing to Safety, the book at the top of this post, is at the top of that list and has been since my grandmother gave it to me when I was thirteen.) And I know MATCHED will not be one of the Books of everyone’s life, of course. But if it could be on even one person’s list?

Well. That would make my life.

I won’t be posting next week because I’ll be on vacation, and when I vacation, I vacate. But I’ll be back.

+ comments (10)
  • Jess(TheCozyReader)
    July 13, 2010

    I’d put MATCH near the top of my all time favorite reads because after reading it nearly 3 weeks ago and finishing 3 other books since then as well, I keep thinking about it.

    I’ve already written and posted my review of this because I just couldn’t wait to let everyone know how much I enjoyed your book.

    I can’t wait to read more about Cassia’s life. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Enjoy your vacation!

  • M.J. Horton
    July 13, 2010

    You just summed up what I would like to see if my book is ever published. I just want my book to matter to one person. To mean something to at least one. Then I’ll be the happiest girl alive.

    Have fun on vacation! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Carolyn V.
    July 13, 2010

    Have a great vacation Ally!

  • Enna Isilee
    July 13, 2010


    But, you really thought MATCHED could end there? SERIOUSLY? I’m DYING for more!

    I read it last weekend, and I actually haven’t been able to read anything since. They haven’t been up to par!

    It isn’t an action filled book, but it doesn’t have to be. You have a beautiful writing style.

    Thanks for the answers and advice. Have a great vacation!

    ~Enna Isilee

  • ally
    July 14, 2010

    Jess, WOW. Thank you so much. I can die happy now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    M.J., we are kindred spirits in that regard for sure.

    Carolyn, thank you!

    Enna Isilee, I really did think it could end there. AND, I am so glad you liked the book! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sandy Shin
    July 20, 2010

    Oh! If MATCHED were a stand-alone and had actually ended there, I think I’d have a coronary because of frustration — wanting to know what happens next. So I’m very, very glad it’s a trilogy! :]

    I agree that MATCHED is vastly different from books like THE HUNGER GAMES, because it isn’t action-focused. But it’s a lovely, lovely slow-building and characters-driven novel.

  • Mandy
    July 20, 2010

    I stayed up all night to read an ARC of MATCHED and it absolutely blew me away.

    It was one of those amazing book moments where you just want to cry and cry and cry – you’re not even sure if you are happy or sad or relieved or angry – you just know you’re alive because you’ve found a part of yourself in the words of someone else and you never want it to end. It actually reminds me of a scene in the book, because despite any of the rage or fear or anxiety that washed over me while I read, I couldn’t be happier that it was real and I was discovering it. ” ‘The words aren’t peaceful…then why do they make me feel calm?’ Ky asks in wonder. ‘I don’t understand…’ Finally, I know what it is I want to say. ‘I think it’s because when we hear it we know we’re not the only ones who ever felt this way.'” That is just one of the perfect revelations in MATCHED that have left me astounded. Your writing is just beautiful Ally.

    MATCHED is absolutely on the very very top of my “Books of My Life” and somehow I know it will stay there. It already has a special place in my heart. Thank you for writing this story. Thank you for writing a piece of all our stories for us to find.

  • Heather Moore
    July 22, 2010

    You’re dangling carrots, Allyson, dangling carrots.

  • Isela Munoz
    August 10, 2010

    I’m the lead bookseller for the children’s and teen department at my B&N here in Peoria, Az. I just finished reading the advanced copy of Matched and I loved it!! I can’t wait for the sequel! The story is well written and heart wrenching. It was so good I read it in one day. Never mind that I had to stay up till midnight to finish it even though I have to be at work early tomorrow, it was worth it. I will definitely be hand selling it, putting it on the staff recommends display, and featuring it as a teen favorite in my teen department. Best of luck to Mrs. Condie and I’ll keep an eye out for books from this promising author.

    Sincerely, Isela

  • Isela Munoz
    August 10, 2010

    P.S. A passage from your book resonated so deeply with me and was such a great commentary on how much the human soul will take and why it does so before it rebels that it made it into my journal of all time favorite quotes. While I have many books that I love, very few actually word things just so or touch me so deeply that I am compelled to make a record of them in a journal. I am not a journal writer so when I do enter anything into one, it means quite a bit for me. Thank you for using your words to echo my thoughts.


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