Even before publication, Warner Bros. has won a multi-studio bidding war to steal away 'Heist Society', a young adult thriller novel by Ally Carter. Warners beat out Disney, Paramount and Summit, all of which jumped at the chance to bring to the screen a book which can be described as 'The Thomas Crown Affair' with teens.
The book follows a young woman named Katarina Bishop who comes from an extended family of master thieves.
From priceless art to the crown jewels, her family is renowned for pulling the greatest cons of all time, and Kat is no exception. But when Kat turns fifteen, she scams her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave her grifting life behind.
But when a powerful mobster is robbed of his priceless art collection, Kat's father is at the top of the suspect list. Kat knows there's only one thing to do - she has to find the paintings and steal them back. But with only two weeks, a teenage crew, a plan that will take her across Europe, and her dad's life on the line, can she pull off the biggest heist in history?
Ally Carter is a writer living and working in the American Midwest. She loved school so much she kept going ... and going ... and going ... until finally she had to graduate. She has degrees from Oklahoma State University and Cornell University. She is the author of two adult books, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You and Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy and Don't Judge a Girl By Her Cover are her first young adult novels in the Gallagher Girls series.
Author: Ally Carter
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Interview with Ally Carter
Where did the idea for Heist Society come from?
Ally Carter: In the spring of 2007 I had just finished my second Gallagher Girls book, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, and I was starting to think about taking on a new project when I was driving to a meeting, listening to a book on tape. In the book, there was a line where the narrator said he felt like a cat burglar in his own house (or something to that effect), and I immediately knew I wanted to write about a girl named Kat who was a burglar. From there, I just had to brainstorm who this girl was and what she would want, and the rest, as they say, is history.
How does it feel knowing your book, Heist Society, is going to be made into a movie?
Ally Carter: Hollywood is a glamorous, exciting, and incredibly fickle place, so while it feels wonderful having the film rights optioned to Warner Brothers and to have wonderful filmmakers like Di Novi Pictures attached to the project, the realist in me knows that we're still a long way from seeing a movie actually made. But that's okay. Just knowing that such a thing is possible is very exciting and rewarding and, at the very least, is hopefully a good indication that readers will enjoy the book which is the most important thing of all.
Heist Society has been described as 'The Thomas Crown Affair' for teens; do you agree with this correlation?
Ally Carter: Well, it's about an art heist at a famous and incredibly secure museum, so I can certainly see where the comparison comes from, but, of course, I like to think that it's hopefully more than just that. That being said, however, I've always been a fan of heist movies--from Ocean's 11 to How to Steal a Million--way back to when my father made me watch The Sting for the first time as a kid. Writing a modern day heist story from a teen perspective was always a goal. Always.
How does Heist Society differ from the Gallagher Girl series?
Ally Carter: Aside from the obvious (thieves vs. spies) I think there are a lot of differences--the biggest of which stems from the characters themselves. Cammie (the main character in the Gallagher Girls books) has always been sheltered from her family's way of life. Her parents protected her and tried to keep her away from dangers. Kat, on the other hand, has always played a major role in the family business from the time she learned to cry on cue. That has shaped Kat's character in every possible way.
Is the character of Kat based on anyone you know?
Ally Carter: The technical answer to this question is no--I've never met a teenage art thief (that I know of). But in a way, Kat is more like me than any character I've written to date. We both grew up in very male-oriented family businesses. We both know what it's like to be the only girl in the room. And, most of all, we both have big, loving families that work very, very hard.
What is the best thing about writing a story about a heist?
Ally Carter: When you spend all your time trying to think like spies and thieves, life takes on a different perspective. It's very liberating to imagine life on the other side of the law--constantly playing 'what if' games with where and how a person might try to pull of the impossible.
How much research went into Heist Society?
Ally Carter: Heist Society probably required more research than any book I've written to date, but I never do a ton of research so that's not saying much. I read and researched a little about the world of art crimes and where and how those are going on today, how large the industry is, and what's being done to track those criminals down. But I spent most of my time researching art itself and, most importantly, the role art played during World War II and the Holocaust. On these subjects I highly recommend two documentaries: Stolen which is about the heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and The Rape of Europa which is an excellent resource about Nazi art plundering and the impact that war has on cultural treasures.
Finish this sentence 'The best thing about books is...'
Ally Carter: ...being with these characters, hoping they can get away with it.