Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Welcome to “Up Close & Personal.” For every interview I will be introducing a literary personality discussing her views and insights, as well as upcoming literary events around the world.
Today’s interview is with KL Going, author of popular young adult fiction.
E. I. Welcome, and thank you for stopping by. Please tell your readers more about KL Going -- the woman behind the author.
KL: First of all, thanks for asking me to do this interview. I'm always thrilled to have a chance to meet readers. As for describing myself -- that's always hard to do. I'd say I'm a person who loves a good story, whether I'm writing it, reading it, or watching it on the big screen. I love music and my tastes are very broad -- everything from rock to gospel to punk. I love little coffee shops where you can sit and drink chai tea on rainy afternoons. My primary goal at the moment is take a kick-a** vacation somewhere. Anywhere. I also want to save the world, but I'm realistic enough to know that I should aim for the vacation. Ha.
E. I. Ms. Going, could you tell your fans about your path to publication,
any sprints or stumbles?
KL: I wrote my first novel in high school, which was great except I didn't know anything about editing or submitting, so I didn't do anything with
the book. Then I wrote my next novel throughout my college years, only I lost it. (Long, depressing story) I taught adult literacy for a while, and then through a fluke connection I got a job at a literary agency. That's when I finally started to take my writing seriously. I wrote a young adult novel while working there, but it still took me a LONG time to work up the courage to show it to anyone. That novel never did sell, but it came close and gave me the encouragement I needed to write my next novel Fat Kid Rules the World, which got published and was named a Michael Printz honor book.
E. I. What encouragement helped you along your writing career?
KL: When I submitted my first attempt at a YA novel, my boss was so
encouraging and the editors we sent it to gave great responses. One of
them even considered buying it for a long while. This gave me the confidence to write something new. I have a pretty thin skin, so I don't know if I could have take the criticism had all those initial responses been negative.
E. I. What were your challenges in bringing SAINT IGGY to life?
KL: Saint Iggy was a complex book. I needed to strike a balance between wisdom and naievete with Iggy's voice and sometimes that was difficult. I also tend to find plot difficult in voice driven novels. I had Iggy's voice so
clearly in my brain, but the plot took a lot of hammering out.
E. I. What was your initial inspiration for creating this book?
KL: The first line of the book where Iggy explains about getting kicked out of school came to me whole, and from there I wanted to see what else this kid would say. I found Iggy to be very compelling, so he was actually the
inspiration for all that followed.
E. I. If you have total control of a Hollywood version of SAINT IGGY who
would be in it and who do you wish to direct it?
KL: Honestly, I would want the film to be an artsy indie film. I wouldn't want any name actors or big-shot directors. Saint Iggy is very visual --
there's a scene where Iggy stands in a circle of color that's being reflected on the street from a church window, and that's the type of thing I'd love to see someone do something very beautiful and creative with. It's also a story that contrasts a lot of harsh realities with what's very beautiful in the world. I'd love to see some first time film maker capture something unique.
E. I. What kind of response has SAINT IGGY generated from your teen fans?
KL: Teen fans have been very supportive of this book. I have been surprised at how often they say that they feel like they are just like Iggy. Iggy has a pretty tough life, so that's sad in a lot of ways, but I am glad I could
write a book that reaches out to people.
E. I. Your writing shows tremendous range in subject matter, and style.
Would you describe yourself as a confident writer, always ready to face the next new challenge? Or do you have to psyche yourself up to try different venues?
KL: Confident is not usually a word I'd use to describe myself, however, I do
tend to dive into projects others would probably shy away from. I definitely have not taken the "marketing 101" path with my publishing career. I write books for both teens and younger kids, I don't have a consistent "brand", and all my books are very different. All of these things are against the mainstream view of how you should become a bestseller, but I feel like I need to write what I feel driven to write.
So confident, no... but determined, yes.
E. I. What can your fans look forward to next?
KL: I have a middle grade novel (ages eight and up) called The Garden of Eve coming out this October. It's a spooky, magical realism sort of story. I'm also working on a new teen novel slated for 2008 and this one is a fun exploration of glam. I also have a story in Pete Hautman's anthology Full House which is due out this fall. This is an anthology of poker stories for teens.
E. I. Thank you for contributing to my blog. It has been a pleasure for
me to get to know you, and your work a little better. Would you like to end
your interview with a writing tip or advice for young aspiring writers?
KL: This is my best advice: live your life as fully as possible. When you're driven towards succeeding in a given field, it's easy to let that goal
dictate all of your decisions, but for writers, how you live your life --
the breadth and depth of your experiences -- will determine how extensive your palette is when it comes time to create. So go out and experience everything you can.
To learn more about KL Going, please visit her at:
Posted by E. I. Johnson at 5:21 PM