Ally Condie 'Reached' for success and finally got it

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Entertainment,Associated Press

It certainly seems that author Ally Condie is an overnight success. After all, she had publishers -- and movie companies -- bidding for her first mainstream novel for teens.

That's not all: Foreign rights to Condie's book, titled "Matched," were sold to 30 countries before the book was even published -- something that is extremely rare for an unknown author.

Published in 2010, "Matched" did, indeed, become an instant best-seller. Readers and critics alike raved about Condie's elegant writing style and her ability to create both a darkly futuristic novel and compelling teenage characters -- Cassia, Xander and Ky -- who must figure out what to do when caught in the beginning of the breakdown of the controlled "Society" into which they had been born.

Buoyed by the success of "Matched," Condie, the mother of four young children, wrote a sequel, "Crossed," which was published in 2011 and also made the best-seller list. Now, Condie has just published the final book in her trilogy. Titled "Reached" (Dutton, $17.99, ages 12 up), the book currently is one of the top-selling children's and teen novels in the nation.

So, with three best-selling books in three years, it appears that Condie, 34, has just suddenly hit the jackpot. In an interview before a recent program for teens in Bethesda, however, Condie is quick to correct the record, noting that she earlier had published five novels for teens with a small, religious-focused publisher, Deseret Book Company in her home state of Utah, before even beginning "Matched."

In fact, Condie now credits those early novels as a type of apprenticeship that gave her the skills to eventually write her best-selling trilogy.

"The editors there [at Deseret Book] were the first ones to see some promise in me, and I'm grateful," Condie added.

The idea for "Matched" was sparked one day when Condie and her husband, an economics professor at Brigham Young University, had a conversation about marriage.

"We started talking about what would happen if the government decided who people could marry," Condie said. And that's how the "Matched" series was born.

Now Condie has come to the end of the series.

"It did feel good to reach the end of the writing," she said, adding that she's planning to spend even more focused time with her family for a while.

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