If feral girls who just want to know where they came from are your jam, definitely check out Burn Our Bodies Down, the latest release from Rory Power. Read on to learn more behind the inspiration for this book about a ferocious queer heroine digging into her past to learn more about the deadly family secrets hiding in a farmhouse just one town over.
Writing a Second Book
What inspired this story?
Burn Our Bodies Down came from a photograph I saw on my Pinterest feed while on a phone call with my editor. I’d just pitched her a different idea that we agreed wasn’t the right book to follow my debut, and I had no other concepts ready, so I saw this photograph by Ellen Jantzen and threw a Hail Mary that was Field of Dreams, but nightmares, and no Kevin Costner.”
Did you have a favorite scene?
I have a few favorite moments, but one I’m particularly fond of is a moment near the middle of the book where Margot is forced to put on a certain dress by her grandmother, Vera. The dress, she learns, has a history to it that’s difficult for her to accept, and it’s in this scene that she starts to see her grandmother for what she really is. I thought I’d have to cut it from the book a few times, but it ended up sticking.
What came first: Margot’s characterization or the plot?
The broad strokes of the plot came first – I knew I wanted a small Nebraska town and something strange happening in the corn – but I couldn’t nail the specifics until I really began thinking about Margot as a character and about how her family’s history ties into the plot. The generational pain and trauma that Margot is part of is really at the center of the book, and once I knew that, I could work out the details of what exactly is going on.
What was the difference between writing this work and writing your debut, Wilder Girls?
Writing Burn Our Bodies Down was much harder than writing Wilder Girls. With my debut, nobody was waiting for the book, and I had no expectations to meet other than my own. Even once it sold, I was still working on it almost in a bubble. But with Burn, the bubble had burst, and I had to learn to balance the opinions of readers and the pressure of writing for an audience with my own thoughts, and that’s something that definitely takes practice.
What are you working on now?
I just turned in a revision of my 2021 YA, which I’ll be able to say more about in the fall. It’s got a wintry, icy setting and an antiheroine who makes a huge mess. I’m also working on my adult fantasy debut, In A Garden Burning Gold, which is inspired by northern Greece and Byzantium, and will be out in 2022.
While we wait for the flames of Burn Our Bodies Down to settle, what do you recommend reading?
Catherine House by Elisbeth Thomas! It’s dreamy and hazy and full of dread, and it’s the mix between The Secret History and Never Let Me Go that you always wanted.
Rory Power grew up in New England and went on to earn an MA in prose fiction from the University of East Anglia. She now works as an editor of crime fiction and story consultant for TV, and is the New York Times bestselling author of Wilder Girls and Burn Our Bodies Down. To learn more about Rory, go to itsrorypower.com and follow @itsrorypower on Twitter and Instagram.