When we last visited K.L. Going in 2003, she shared with us the story behind the story of her debut novel, Fat Kid Rules The World (Putnam, 2003), which went on to be named an ALA Printz Honor Book; School Library Journal Best Book; to the list of Booklist Top Ten First Novels; to the list of Top Ten First Novels For Young Listeners; and a Blue Ribbon Book of the Bulletin of Children’s Books. (Note: my site is being redesigned in fall 2005, so if these links don’t work, simply check the site guide and/or search engine).
What is new in your writing life since we last chatted?
I am working on my third novel which is a return to the older age group. It’s tentatively titled Saint Iggy. It’s a voice-driven novel with a quirky main character who gets kicked out of school on page one. This book will come out with Harcourt, hopefully in the fall of 2006. My editor moved houses this past summer and I moved with her, which is why I’m no longer with Penguin Putnam.
Do you have a new/upcoming book(s) to tell us about?
Other than Saint Iggy, my latest novel is The Liberation of Gabriel King (Putnam) which hit stores in June 2005. Liberation is for the 8-12 age group and it’s about two kids who decide to overcome all their fears in the course of one summer. It takes place in 1976 down in Georgia when Jimmy Carter is running for President. The two main characters, Gabe and Frita, have very different types of fears. Gabe’s are often humorous and childlike, while Frita’s are a bit more sophisticated and deal with issues of race and growing up.
If so, could you give us some insights into how this book(s) came to be?
The Liberation of Gabriel King had its beginnings after 9/11 when I was working in a literary agency in Manhattan. We were overwhelmed with submissions from people who wanted to write about 9/11 for kids. I kept wishing that someone would write about the more general issue of fear because it is something all of us deal with all the time, whether during times of crisis when it is magnified, or simply in the course of our every day lives. I tried to imagine how kids might decide to tackle their fears and what the results would be of their efforts.
When I look back at The Liberation of Gabriel King as a finished product, I feel like it is a very personal novel because I drew on so many of my own fears as a child, and even those fears I have now as an adult.
How about children’s or YA books that you’ve read lately? Which are your favorites and why?
I just read How I Live Now [by Meg Rosoff (Wendy Lamb Books, 2004)(2005 Printz Award winner)] and thought it was very well written. The voice was great, and the author takes you from a world that feels familiar into one that feels totally foreign without faltering.
What are your writing goals for the immediate future?
I want to keep things fresh and keep expanding my skills, and learning new things. You learn something different from every genre, so I am working on a picture book to see how that will turn out. We shall see.
Cynsational News & Links
Glen and Karen Bledsoe: authors of children’s fiction, children’s non-fiction, books for the school and library market, fantasy, and articles. They offer articles on writing, resources for teachers, and information for young authors.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hearing illustrator Erik Kuntz of 2 Bad Mice Design speak at the monthly meeting of Austin SCBWI on “How To Build A Better Web Site.” Erik is Greg Leitich Smith‘s Web designer, and we highly recommend him. In related news, author/illustrator Janie Bynum is moving from Wimberly, Texas; back to Kalamazoo, Michigan.