Learn more about WriteOut, a writing camp for teens founded by Ally that starts this summer in Cedar City, UT.
If you have a question about scheduling an interview or event, please contact Shanta Newlin. If you are a foreign blogger or member of the press, please contact the publisher in your country listed below. Thank you very much for your interest.

General Questions

+ I’m doing a school report on you! Can you answer some questions for me?

I'm afraid not, but don't worry...everything I feel comfortable posting is here on my site. Between that and the interviews I've done, you should be able to find plenty as you research online! And I'm honored you'd do a report on me. 🙂

+ Do you do school and/or library/Skype visits?

Yes, but they I’m afraid that they are a bit limited right now. I still have little kids at home and all the traveling I do for book tours, etc., makes it hard to add more travel or commitments on top of that. If you are interested in a school/library visit, please contact Shanta Newlin: Shanta.Newlin@us.penguingroup.com.

+ Do you have an e-mail address where I can reach you?

Yes. It's ally@allycondie.com. I do read every single e-mail, but I am no longer able to respond. After 6+ years of responding to every reader email, I'm learning that I can't keep up any longer if I want to write more books! 🙂 I'm so sorry—but I do love to hear from you. If you have questions about the books or about writing, read on because I might just answer some of those questions below...

+ Can I audition for the film? Can you help me get a part in it?

I can't help you with this, I'm afraid—I probably won't know anything about casting until after it's already happened!

+ Will MATCHED be published in my country/language?

It's very likely! The full list of companies and publishers is below, at the end of this page. The foreign rights team has done a phenomenal job of selling MATCHED in 30+ foreign countries and I am so thrilled.

+ Do you have any books/bookplates/swag you can send me?

I don't—I give all of my author copies of my books away as soon as I get them! I also don't have any bookplates or swag. But if I do get some printed up, I will be sure to announce it on the blog.

+ Have the film rights to MATCHED been optioned yet?

Yes! Disney and Offspring have optioned the film rights.

Matched Questions

+ What is your inspiration for writing MATCHED?

The inspiration for MATCHED came from a lot of places. The real catalyst was a conversation I had with my husband about marriage in the fall of 2008. He posited the question: What if someone wrote the perfect algorithm for lining people up, and the government used it to decide who you married, when you married, etc.? But the inspiration also came from an experience chaperoning a high school prom when I was teaching and from some more general experiences, like falling in love and becoming a parent.

+ How long did it take you to write MATCHED?

About nine months. This is really fast for me. Of course, there was also a lot of editing after that!

+ Where did you get the idea of having people be unable to write?

Once again, from my husband! He went through the public school system at a time when the school district decided to teach the kids italics instead of cursive. To this day, he still can't write cursive. I also noticed that lots of kids don't write very much/very often because they are always tapping/texting/typing. When I was teaching I noticed how hard it was to read a lot of the writing. And then I came across this article partway through writing MATCHED and knew I was on to something.

+ Who do you like better, Ky or Xander?

This one is impossible for me to answer because I put half of my favorite things about my husband in Ky and half in Xander. Good thing it's Cassia who has to choose, not me!

Writing Questions

+ Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes. I started writing stories when I was very, very small. But when I went to college I decided to become an English teacher and I did that for several years and loved it. After I quit teaching to stay at home with my first baby, I missed working with students and books, and I decided to get more serious about writing and do it every single day. So I guess the true answer is that I've always loved writing, but I didn't get disciplined about it until I was about 24 years old.

+ Do you ever get writer's block? Or fatigue? How do you overcome those things?

YES. I am almost always tired when I sit down to write because I write when my kids are in bed—so I'm either up early or up late. But I've learned that if I wait for the perfect moment to write, I won't write very often. So I just try to write through it and usually it gets better as I go along. Some things I've found that really help me clear my mind are: taking a break from the manuscript (for a few hours, a few days, whatever I need), starting a new fun project, going for a run, and hanging out with my kids or with a good friend. Reverse psychology works on me too. If I tell myself I'm not going to write/I can't write for a while, then it's not long before I'm DYING to write!

+ How did you find your current publisher/agent?

I sent out queries to agents who represented young adult fiction. I found their names online at agentquery.com and then researched them at Publishers’ Marketplace and online to make sure they would be a good fit. A friend clued me in to all of these websites—things had changed a bit since I originally queried my first book in 2004!—and that was super helpful. However, almost all of the queries were cold queries. I sent out 25-30 letters and only one of those was a referral (meaning another author friend had recommended me). And that wasn’t the agent who ended up representing me. So—I am proof that there IS hope! You CAN be found in the slush pile!

+ Will you read my manuscript? Will you recommend it to your agent/publisher?

I am so sorry, but I can’t. For the past five years I have read many, many manuscripts for others—including people who I haven’t even met—because that is something I never had starting out and I wanted to be helpful, since I would have LOVED that mentoring. But now, I can’t, and the reasons for this are twofold:

1. I have a hard enough time getting my own writing completed.

2. I have come to realize that I am a TERRIBLE editor. Being an editor is hard. It requires severe amounts of talent and work and knowledge. And I don’t want to do a disservice to you and give you rotten advice on your manuscript!

So, since I can’t read manuscripts anymore, I also can’t recommend them to my agent/publisher (because in order to do that, I would need to have read them).

+ So how can you help me?

I can tell you to spend lots of time writing. To find readers who you trust to read your book and help you make it the best it can be. To read lots of great books. To find and attend a writing conference. To not give up. To remember that the best reason to write is because YOU love doing it.

And, I can refer you to some wonderful links of authors and agents who have said everything I could possibly say, only better. Because they know more and have been doing this for a long time, and doing it well:

Author Shannon Hale, On Writing
Kristin Nelson, Agent Blog
Nathan Bransford, Agent Blog

+ Did having books published with a regional press help you land your current agent/publisher?

The short answer is nope. Not at all, in fact. It was kind of a non-issue, actually. Didn’t hurt, didn’t help. The long answer is yes, absolutely. Because, when I sent that first manuscript to my first publisher back in 2004, they thought enough of it to ask for a revise and resubmit. And that changed everything for me. It gave me the chance to learn how to write. It gave me the encouragement I needed to put writing higher on the priority list. I owe a great deal of gratitude to them, especially to the wonderful Lisa Mangum, who was the acquisitions editor at the time and who was the one who saw promise in that original manuscript and said, “It’s not there yet, but there’s something good here.”

 

Foreign Rights Sold (Languages and Publishers)

Brazilian Portuguese, Objetiva
Bulgarian, Kragozor
Catalan, La Galera
Complex Chinese, Sharp Point
Croatian, Algoritam
Czech, Euromedia
Danish, Cicero
English, Penguin
Dutch, Lemniscaat
Finnish, Tammi
French, Gallimard
German, Fischer
Greek, Platypus
Hebrew, Kinneret
Hungarian, Cicero
Indonesian, PT Gramedia
Italian, Fazi
Japanese, President, Inc
Korean, Korean Literature
Lithuanian, Versus Aureus
Norwegian, Mangschou
Polish, Proszynski
Portuguese, Gailivro
Romanian, Littera
Russian, AST
Serbian, Laguna
Simplified Chinese, Jeili
Slovak, Ikar
Slovenian, VideoTop
Spanish, Mondadori SM
Swedish, Raben & Sjogren
Thai, Amarain
Turkish, Tudem Yayinlari
Vietnamese, Phuong Nam