Monday, February 23, 2009
Kirby Larson Blog Tour Stops by WOMS!
Well, I must say I was pretty excited to get an email from Kirby Larson's publicist asking me if I wanted to be part of Kirby Larson's blog tour, although admittedly I had NO idea what that even meant. When I asked what it meant, I got REALLY excited, because what you do in a blog tour is write up a bunch of questions for the author to answer, and then you email them to the author and the author writes answers and sends them to you. I mean, how cool is that? Kirby Larson, Newbery honor author, would be writing to ME (and to all the readers of my blog, of course). So much fun! so, without further ado, here's my first Blog Tour posting! Thanks so much to Kirby Larson for taking the time out of her busy schedule to respond to my questions.
When did you decide you wanted to become a writer?
I don't remember the exact day but I do remember the moment. I had just finished reading Arnold Lobel's picture book, Ming Lo Moves the Mountain, to my (then young) children. A switch went off inside me and I knew I'd finally found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Were you surprised that you decided to write historical fiction since you didn't have a passion for history in the past?
No one could've been more surprised than me!! What was I thinking? Here, I'd never written a novel before and I decide to tackle a historical novel, complete with in-depth research? It was crazy. And wonderful.
Could you share a bit about the main character of your book and what makes her unique?
The main character of Hattie Big Sky is Hattie Inez Brooks and I think she connects with people because she is so far from perfect. She bites off more than she can chew and she makes huge mistakes and she has to work hard to figure out what matters in life. Maybe she's not so unique after all. . .she sounds a lot like me.
What do you hope readers will gain from reading Hattie Big Sky?
It's up to the reader to take away what she or he wants. That's the magic of reading and writing!
It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule, and maybe you could describe the process sort of from start to finish - how long do you generally spend on your first drafting, how many times do you revise and edit? How long does it take once you've finished to get it published?
There is no typical day -- if there were, I'd have a lot more books finished, I'm sure. HBS took four years to research and write. I revised the book 13 times before it sold and two more times at my editor's request. And there are still things I'd like to revise! There is also no standard in terms of how long it takes to get something published. I have a picture book I've been working on for 25 years that still hasn't sold to a publisher! Typically, though, once a book sells, it takes a year or 2 before it comes out. Picture books can take longer.
What do you do if you get into a writing slump to get back in the groove?
I have been in a slump of sorts. I've dealt with it by reading a lot, writing bits and pieces and drinking lots of lattes. I also rely on my writing friends to snap me out of it.
How did get your first book published?
My first published book was a chapter book called Second Grade Pig Pals, which came out in 1994. It took me about 2 years to write and was sent to about 10 editors before it was accepted by Holiday House. But -- I had been writing for a long time before that and collecting hundreds and hundreds of rejection letters.
How did you find out that Hattie Big Sky won the Newbery Honor? What were your thoughts and feelings when you found out? Who was the first person you told?
It's a big secret -- no one knows which books are even in the running. I found out I'd won when I got a phone call at 6:30 in the morning on January 22, 2007. I groggily answered the phone and a lady asked, "Is this Kirby Larson?" I said yes, but wondered who in the heck was calling me so early. Then she said, "The Kirby Larson who wrote Hattie Big Sky?" And I said yes, again, now irritated that someone was calling so darned early to ask about a school visit or something. Then she said, "Well, I'm calling from the Newbery Committee to tell you that Hattie Big Sky has won the Newbery Honor." I couldn't speak. I couldn't even breathe! My husband was about ready to call 911. When I was finally able to speak again, I don't know what I said. But when I hung up the phone, I broke down and cried. It was the most magic moment in my entire life -- my favorite ever, aside from the day I got married and the day each of our children was born.
Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
I am working on another historical novel that is a big huge mess so would prefer not to talk about it. But I am so excited about my newest book, Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship and Survival, which I wrote with my dear, dear friend Mary Nethery. We loved collaborating so much we have just finished another book due out in fall 09 and we're looking into yet another project to do together.
To finish up, would you like to tell us the name of a young adult novel you highly recommend and why?
Just one??? You are a hard-hearted woman. ;-) I can highly recommend dozens. . .but will highlight just a few: Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson, Unwind, by Neal Shusterman, and Confessions of a Serial Kisser by Wendelin Van Draanen. Other authors to read: John Green, Dana Reinhardt and Jennifer Bradbury.
Thank you, Erin, for the great questions and for your interest in my work. This was great fun!
Thanks again to Kirby Larson for appearing, courtesy of Provato Marketing. For other stops on the tour you can check this link.