Amy Capetta can summarize her inspiration in five phrases: “Science. Punk rock. Space. Bad-ass smugglers. Angry girls.”
Of course, Capetta could be describd as a space-loving bad-ass angry punk rock girl herself. She flaunts a carpe diem attitude and loves a good challenge. Her need for science manifests itself in detailed science-fiction worlds.
Like Entangled, Capetta’s first novel. Cade’s world falls apart when a hologram tells her that she was created in a lab – and that her life is entangled with a boy named Xan. Who, of course, she sets off to find – and finds herself in a race against time and space.
But Capetta’s science-fiction love doesn’t start and end with her own worlds. Capetta’s personal writing talisman is a necklace featuring Star War’s guru of determination and perseverance.
“I wear a Yoda necklace pretty much every day, which is a good reminder—both of how nerdy I am, and how I feel about writing. ‘Do or do not. There is no try.’ I’m much more comfortable with doing something and failing than I am with not doing it at all. Our culture might not love failure, but it’s a great way to learn.”
Writing does have its risks, but she doesn’t fear failure – at least, not as much as she used to. She started writing when she was a child, attending writing camps – “which most people mishear as “Riding Camp'” – and never stopped. She’s written plays, screenplays, attended the Vermont College of Fine Arts’ MFA program and finished writing somewhere around a half dozen novels. Not every novel is a success, but she loves the challenge.
“I know so few people who’ve gotten where they want to be without some real amount of failure. I guess you could call it risk, right? I’m not risk averse,” said Capetta. “Unless we’re talking about activities where I intentionally plummet toward the earth in the guise of fun.”
Fun comes in many forms for Capetta. It’s not just writing or taking a spin on her Star Wars glider – yes, that kind of glider. It’s about the challenge.
“About ten years ago I got a film camera and started taking pictures. It was originally to improve my writing! I have a terrible visual memory, and when I sat down to work, I couldn’t remember anything I’d seen. So I thought it would be this useful little exercise, and I fell completely in love with those tiny stories,” said Capetta. “Each photo is a pinhole view of a moment and a place and a feeling that implies so much more. Sort of like songs. And they stick with me—I remember those images for years. I actually want to bring my writing and photography together a little bit more. I’m definitely starting a photo blog-collection-thing online soon. I tend to see the world in a sort of magical way, and writing and pictures are really just these ways of talking about it.”
Want to learn more about Capetta? She talks about why she wrote Entangled to music in a special guest article here on YA Interrobang.