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Hot Russians, international intrigue and skinny dipping: MP! talks to Ally Carter about ‘See How They Run’!


AllyCarterAlly Carter is the author of three fun, past-paced and addictive series’ and we basically just want to know all of her secrets so we grilled her about writing and her newest series. ‘Embassy Row’ tells the story of Grace, who when she moves to live with her grandfather on Embassy Row, becomes determined to uncover the truth about the murder of her mother which she witnessed three years ago. 

Obviously you’ve written quite a few books – what has been your favourite to write? Each book is totally different, as crazy as that may sound. In a way, probably my favorites to write were the first books–back before I actually knew what I was doing. Ignorance is truly bliss. The longer I do this, the more I learn, and the more I learn the more I worry. But the more I learn, hopefully the better I write. I’m willing to trade easier books for better books any day!

For those who haven’t read any of ‘Embassy Row’, what can they expect from this series? ‘Embassy Row’ is without a doubt my most intense series to date. It’s the story of Grace who saw her mother murdered three years ago, and if that isn’t bad enough the death looked like an accident. So, for three years, people have been telling Grace she absolutely did not see a man with a scar on his face shoot and kill her mother. But Grace knows what she saw. When Grace has to move in with her grandfather who is the US ambassador to a small European country she knows the stakes are high on Embassy Row, so she swears that she’ll never cause any trouble ever again. But then she sees the scarred man. Now Grace has to do three things: 1. convince the world that she isn’t crazy. 2. prove that the scarred man killed her mother. 3. stop him from killing again.

What inspired you to write ‘Embassy Row’? Several years ago I was talking with a friend whose son had just started college. Evidently, he was considering a career in the foreign services, but she said she didn’t know how she felt about that because “that means my grandchildren will grow up in embassies all around the world.” After that I became obsessed with the idea of teens growing up in embassies–all the cultures and the stakes and the many, many things that could go wrong when you have to grow up on a global stage.

Can you describe the plot of ‘See How They Run’ in the length of one tweet? Hot Russian. International intrigue. Skinny-dipping.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be? In my other life I worked for a university doing work with farmers and ranchers. I suppose I’d probably still be doing work of that nature.

Are you a stay-inside-in-pyjamas kind of writer, or do you take your work out to coffee shops and other places? It depends what I’m writing! For first drafts, I almost always go to a cafe and work until I hit my word count goal for the day. But rewriting is about quality, not quantity, so I usually do that in the comfort of my home (and pajamas).

Do you have any tips on keeping up motivation during writing? For me, I don’t really have a choice anymore because I’m lucky enough to have books under contract! But before that, I think it was the power of the unknown that kept me going–I didn’t want to look back and wonder what might have been if I’d just tried to write. Now I know, and I’m really glad I stuck with it.

Because we always want to see where the magic happens, send us a photo of where you write!

Ally Carter's work space

Buy ‘See How They Run’ here!

Have you read the ‘Embassy Row’ series yet? Share your thoughts with us at @maximumpopbooks!

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Written by Sophie Waters

Sophie is the Head of Commercial at Maximum Pop! Having studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she came to MP! to satisfy her passion for books. Sophie is a diehard Hufflepuff and feminist. She’s also a huge cat lover, and can often be found rocking her socks off at a gig.

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