New year, new books. Happy, happy.
I’m so happy, happy to be starting 2012 by welcoming Kami Kinard to the blog.
Kami’s first novel, THE BOY PROJECT, is a new year’s baby, released 1/1/2012. It’s getting great reviews. According Kirkus, the book “lends refreshing perspective on teen relationships, and the results point to self-enlightenment.”
Publishers Weekly said, “Kinard creates a highly credible middle-school universe of popular girls, dorky boys, unpredictable teachers, and volatile loyalties; she hits all the right notes as Kara learns that first opinions are rarely accurate and that the scientific method does not always apply to human beings.”
First of all: YAY! Second, how did you go about creating that credible middle-school universe?
I think two things really helped me with this:
One: I was the parent of a middle-schooler when I wrote the book. (And I have another child in middle school now.) So I gleaned a lot of information from the interactions of my son and his friends.
Two: I went back and read all of my old diaries. These helped me remember what it felt like to be in middle school. Middle school is kind of a hard time. Friendships fluctuate, girls are often hard on each other, and no one really knows what they are doing when it comes to relationships. Reading the diaries gave me a glimpse into my old tween self – the one who was insecure about things (like having a boyfriend) that seem so unimportant now.
Where did your main character, Kara, come from?
Kara is probably the person I wish I had been in middle school. I was far more shy than she is, for one thing, and far less likely to act on any of my good ideas if they involved the possibility of humiliation!
What were your favorite books when you were a young reader?
Hmmm. I had a lot of favorites, but I’m trying to remember what I liked best when I was Kara’s age. I think THE BLACK CAULDRON by Lloyd Alexander and THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE by C.S. Lewis were probably my favorite books at that point.
What fictional character would you have liked to move next door to younger-you?
Nancy Drew. I had burned through the Nancy Drew books earlier, but I always admired how smart she was. She had a great group of friends who supported her interest in sleuthing. She seemed like an interesting and fun person to hang out with!
What are you working on now?
I am working on a literary fantasy. (Influenced by Alexander and Lewis, maybe?) It’s very different from THE BOY PROJECT, but I actually started writing it earlier. For me, literary fantasy is harder to write than contemporary because you have to build a world. It takes a lot more time, but I love doing it. I’ve almost completed this manuscript now and I’m really excited about it.
I am also working on another humorous contemporary book with a middle school protagonist, but I’m only a few chapters in. I like the way it’s going, though!
To learn more about Kami, visit her website, where you can see pictures of her as a child, her beautiful children, and a hilarious one of her dog.