Texas Book Festival: Q&A With Amy Rose Capetta

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Entangled is author Amy Rose Capetta’s debut novel. She took some time to sit down with L Style G Style during the Texas Book Festival to talk a bit about her space opera, her favorite fan fiction and her future writing plans.

Tell us a little bit about Entangled.

It’s young adult (YA) sci-fi space opera, so it’s a big-scale adventure story. The main character, Cade, is 17, and starts the story out on a very unfriendly desert-like planet. She finds she is connected to someone who is very far away and in a fair bit of danger. She has to leave her normal life in her isolated state and it changes the way she thinks about people and the universe.

I’ve done some digging, and you seem like a bit of a fangirl. If you had to pick one thing to fangirl over, what would it be?

Wow, that’s really – you go right for the heart. That’s really tough. Um, I’m going to sip my coffee strategically and think about it. Okay I think I have to do this, I have Starbuck on my phone. I’m going to have to go with Battlestar Galactica.

You’ve written screenplays and you have an MFA in writing for children and young adults. Why do you think you’re drawn to YA?

I think there are fewer rules about what you are allowed to do. I found that of all of the places I was trying to write YA had the fewest restrictions on genre, on content and on expectations.

That’s interesting, it could almost be argued that because it’s writing for “children,” you can’t write about sex or something like that because it’s taboo. 

Right! I think there are people who have that opinion that you shouldn’t, but plenty of people do and it’s out there. I mean, if you’re worried about sex in YA, don’t read my sequel. Characters have to grow up!

That makes sense. Do you plan to write more fiction after this space duet wraps up, or are you looking to try something different?  

I’m writing something for younger readers right now—it’s a middle-grade novel. It has a science element but it isn’t a big space opera. And then I have other YA projects that I’m really excited about. It’s all fantasy or science fiction because that’s something I’m into as a reader.

You’ve mentioned that Cade had lived in your head for years without a story; do you have other characters like that?  

Oh, absolutely. At any time I’ll have different pieces of story floating around unattached to the rest of something yet, whether it’s character or a piece of a plot or a premise or a world that I think would be interesting to write in. I know it’s time to write something when I find the missing component.

How do you come up with your characters’ names?  

Character names for [Entangled] were funny because Cade just happened. I just sat down and started writing and her name was Cade and it always was and it never changed. Then I realized that Cade could be short for Cadence, which made sense because she was a musician and maybe her parents had named her that for a reason. I sat down with my editor for the first time and she was like, “I think it’s so great you decided to name her Cadence,” and I went, “Yeah I totally meant to do that on purpose because of theme.”  It was a total accident.

This was the first times a character’s name changed on me. The character Lee, who is Cade’s best friend, is a very spunky outlaw girl and was my Han Solo homage. I originally named her Hal and I kept thinking someone was going to call me on it and say it was too close to Han. Strangely, everyone who read it told me they kept thinking of Hal the computer from 2001 Space Odyssey. So then I had to change it for a different reason.

If you could choose to have your readers take one thing away form Entangled, what would it be?  

That’s a really tough question because I think the hope in writing a novel specifically is that people will take their own thing from it. The heart of the book is about connection. I think that it would be hard to get through the whole book without noticing that.

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