With such a unique find, he’s sure to win the grand prize. But, oddly, the bone doesn’t appear in any photos. Even stranger, it seems to be growing into a full skeleton . . . one that only children can see.
When Miren starts to grow sick, Stanly suspects that the skeleton is responsible and does everything in his power to drive the creature away.
However, Miren is desperate not to lose her friend, forcing Stanly to question everything he’s ever believed about life, love, and the mysterious forces that connect us.
Please describe your pre-publication craft apprenticeship. How did you take your writing from a beginner level to publishable?
I wrote a lot of manuscripts, and I kept writing. This one summer in particular—I had reluctantly returned to my hometown because of money—I was in a job I didn’t love and I was desperate to do something more meaningful with my life.
|Halloween in Naryn City, Kyrgyzstan, hometown of Kim’s favorite character in Skeleton Tree, Ms. Francine.
Kim served in the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan from 2010 to 2012. (She’s the one holding a cleaver.)
What was the funniest moment of your publishing journey?
I planned a launch party for Skeleton Tree at a local bookstore, but when I arrived nothing was set up like it was supposed to be.
It was basically a book avalanche, but thankfully my friends and family pitched in and we got everything set up on time, though just barely.
|Kim with her critique group: Gwendolyn Hooks, Pati Hailey, Todd Hardin and Regina Garvie|
What advice do you have for beginning children’s-YA writers?
- Understand and embrace the failure-success cycle.
- Make sure that you’re continuously learning and evolving as a writer.
We also need to make time for the learning zone, where we break writing down into its component parts and work on improving our ability in each of these areas. That might involve analyzing the work of other authors, doing focused writing exercises, reading for enjoyment, practicing our observational skills, etc.
- Emphasize the process rather than the outcome.
|Kim’s dog and co-writer, Hera|
You write because you love it (maybe even more than you love yourself), and chances are that the part you love most is creating something new and magical that has never existed in the world before.
That’s the joy of writing and the part that you can control. The outcome (whether it sells, fails or totally tanks) is completely out of your hands, and it won’t make you happy anyway.
Basically, write because you love it, and if you do that, then you’ll never be shut down by outside forces.
See the discussion guide for Skeleton Tree.
Kirkus Reviews wrote, “(An) emotional roller coaster tempered by a touch of magic and a resilient, likable protagonist.”
She loves sharing weird, whimsical stories with readers of all ages.
Find her on Twitter @KimVentrella.