Friday, December 7, 2012

An Interview with Kathi Appelt

Q: Patty Campbell talks about the germ for a piece of writing being like the sand in the oyster.  What is your grain of sand?  Do you begin with character or setting or something else?

A: Usually a story begins with some sort of premise.  For example, Keeper began with the notion of a girl who believed that her real mother was a mermaid.  She had no real proof, but the last time she actually saw her mother, her mother was swimming away.  So, for her whole life long, she believed that her mother must be a mermaid because why else would she leave?  With the story that I just finished, the premise was about a pair of raccoons who lived in an abandoned car. Whenever lightning struck nearby, the old battery would get a charge, the radio would come on, and the raccoons believed that the voice they heard was "the voice of authority."  Once I have a premise in my mind, I start worrying it until the story begins to emerge.

Q: Why do you write for Young Adults or Children or Adults?

A: I write because I have to write. Originally I wrote for kids because of my own two sons.  As they got older, the stories I was writing turned to older kids. But I still enjoy writing for little ones. Why do I write for any age? Because that's who I write for. I don't think I have a better answer.

Q: Who is your favorite character you have written or read about?

A: Hands down, Black Beauty. It's my favorite book of all time. And my favorite character too. I also love Judith Schachner's Skippy Jon Jones.

Q: Do you have a pet (pets)?  Tell us about it (them) and how they help/hinder your writing.

A: I have four gifted and talented cats. One of them, Jazzmyn, is my muse. She stays by my side most of the day, reminds me that there's work to be done. But then she also lets me know when to take a break. I rely upon her. Sometimes writing can be quite lonely, so it's good to have a cat nearby.

Q: How often do you dream about the writing you are working on?

A: I dream about my work all the time.

Thank you so much for your time Kathi. We look forward to seeing you at the festival!

For more about Kathi Appelt, visit her website.

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