Interview with Cori McCarthy, author of You Were Here

Can you tell us about your books?

Let’s see… My debut book, The Color of Rain, is a bleak science fiction story about human trafficking and peril of going too far for someone you love. My second book, Breaking Sky, is a near-futuristic, slightly humorous, slightly heartbreaking story of a gender queer fighter pilot at an elite teen Air Force academy (think Top Gun meets Code Name Verity). Breaking Sky is currently in production over at Sony Pictures, so fingers crossed! My third book, You Were Here, comes out in March. It’s a contemporary story told in mixed format (prose, poetry, and graphic novel panels). It’s the story of five teenagers who come together years after the death of a mutual friend, and who then embark on dangerous dares to memorialize their lost friend. All my books are quite different, but they’re all similar in that they’ve got costly emotional journeys and thriller plot pacing.

What are you currently writing?

I’m currently working on a new contemporary YA that’s still top secret, but I will hopefully be able to share news about that one soon!


How long have you been a published author?

My first book came out in May 2013, so wow…three books in three years! That sounds like I’ve had better luck than I’ve had. I wrote and studied writing for ten years before I started to publish.


If you could give any piece of advice to unpublished writers what would it be?

The silver key to publishing is learning to revise thoroughly and to incorporate outside critiques.


Who are your favorite authors?

Melina Marchetta is my all-time favorite. I’m also a huge Leigh Bardugo fan, and I love Kristin Cashore.


What are some of your favorite books to read again and again?

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Cori McCarthy, MFA


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