Ally Carter is a shining example of how FFA can help propel you into new experiences. After studying agricultural economics in college, the Locust Grove FFA Chapter alumnae from Oklahoma (known then as Sarah Leigh Fogleman) took her pen name and began a new journey writing novels. She’s now a New York Times best-selling author who’s been published in 20 countries. More than 2 million of her books have sold in the United States.
Q: You grew up on a farm. How has that helped you in your writing career?
A: Farm kids learn how to do things: 1. work hard and 2. entertain themselves. My imagination and my work ethic are now my bread and butter, and I’m grateful to have learned both at a young age.
Q: What did you enjoy most about FFA?
A: I enjoyed being a part of a community and organization larger than myself – both in the friends I made and the experiences I was lucky enough to enjoy.
Q: Is there an example of how FFA and your farm background inspired one of your novels?
A: My first young adult book, I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You, is about a girl who goes to the world’s most exclusive spy school. She’s exceptional, but I also really wanted to ground her and make her real and relatable. That’s why Cammie spends her summers on her grandparents’ ranch in Nebraska.
Q: What advice would you give students about pursuing their own career paths?
A: Never stop learning. You hear a lot of “follow your dreams,” and that’s good, too! That’s definitely what I did. But dreams don’t do you any good if you’re not putting in the work. No matter where you are in life, there is never a point at which you should stop trying to learn.
Q: What’s one book every FFA member should read? Why?
A: People need to find the book that works for them. Read widely. Read often. And if you’re not loving a book, then that’s OK. That’s just not your book. Keep looking. It’s out there.