Kay Honeyman grew up in Fort Worth, Texas and attended Baylor University, graduating with a Bachelors and Masters in English Language and Literature. The Fire Horse Girl (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic) is her first novel. She currently teaches middle school and lives in Dallas, Texas. You can visit her online at www.kayhoneyman.com.
Kay answered a few questions to give our readers a little extra info about her. Read her responses here:
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 a character or setting or something else?
It takes about three or four grains of sand before I can start turning them into a story. I usually need a character, a situation, and a setting. For THE FIRE HORSE GIRL I knew that I wanted to write the story of a girl immigrating to America through Angel Island (the Ellis Island of the West off the coast of San Francisco). I also knew that I wanted her to be strong-willed and stubborn, and I wanted her to feel out of place. I had written several chapters before I discovered the Fire Horse women.
Women born in the year of the Fire Horse (a year in the Chinese zodiac know for strong, bold women) are seen as dangerous, even cursed. Birth rates can plummet in some Asian countries. The description of Fire Horse women fits some of my favorite women, real and fictional. That was the last grain of sand I needed.
Do you outline before you write or just dive in?
I much prefer just throwing words on a page like an over-caffeinated monkey and then wondering why it doesn’t turn out perfectly the first time around. It is not the most productive system, nor is it recommended by any of the writing books I’ve read, but it does result in endless revisions. I am working on getting better at outlining, but I am a slow learner. I think of my first draft as a rough outline and build from there.
In high school, where did you fall? (Prom Queen/King, Brainy/Book Nerd, Jock, Shy/Quiet Scholar, Skate Rat, Stoner, Class Clown, etc.)
I fell in the cracks between all of these. Maybe that is why I love to write about labels and identity.
What books or authors have most influenced your writing?
I am most influence by writers like Jane Austen and Edith Wharton. I love they way they pick at society, pointing out people as beautiful, ridiculous, noble, and fascinating creatures. I have read To Kill a Mockingbird every year for the past decade. If you ask me what I’ve read recently that I love, it’s usually the last book I read, because that is the story swimming in my head.
It’s the dawn of the zombie apocalypse, what 3 things are a must to take with you when you flee your home for refuge from the undead hordes?
This one stumped me, so I did what any author would do when blocked by lack of knowledge, I googled it. Based on ten minutes of research, I have decided to pack the following: a baseball bat (many sites chose this as the weapon of choice), matches (fire, historically been valuable and handy), and a tent since I will be getting out of highly populated areas. I think I would be zombie meat against a horde, but I like my chances mono-e-mono. They are slow moving and not known for their intelligence.
Thank you for taking a few minutes to answer our questions, Kay!
Meet Kay with the other authors at the 2014 Montgomery County Book Festival on Feburary 15th.