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Presenting ... K.L. Going!

K.L. Going is one of the most talked-about authors in the young adult circuit, thanks to the success of books like Fat Kid Rules the World and Saint Iggy. She recently turned her attention to non-fiction, working together with Writer's Digest to create Writing and Selling the Young Adult Novel. It includes not only her ideas and encouragement on the subject but responses from teen readers as well! It was released on April 4th and can be bought through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters, or maybe even your local independent bookstore (an option particularly close to K.L.'s heart).

Under the cut is our interview. Grab your beverage of choice, sit back, and enjoy!

What was the most valuable information you gleaned from working as an assistant to two agents?

I would have to say the most valuable thing I learned was that editors and agents are regular people. It's easy when you're trying to break in to publishing to see them as somehow removed from the average person, to put their literary taste on a pedestal, but in reality, they're just as fallible as the rest of us, and somehow knowing that helps me to put my career in perspective. We're all just doing the best we can. We have our ups and downs, our hits and misses. Also, I realized how much material they're receiving every day which also puts things in perspective.

Did your time as a manager of an independent bookstore overlap with your writing career? If so, how did you transition from one to the other?

They did overlap. When I managed the bookstore both Fat Kid Rules the World and The Liberation of Gabriel King were out. It was funny because I'd be standing at the register and watch people browsing my own books. Sometimes I'd tell them I was the author and other times I wouldn't. I didn't work at the bookstore full-time, which was how I managed to do both the writing and working at the store. Now that I've moved out of that area, I miss the bookstore!

You have very eclectic taste in music (Nirvana, Alanis Morisette, and Oasis, to name a few). Do you listen to music while you write? How does this inspire your writing?

I so wish I could listen to music while writing, but unfortunately I need things absolutely silent or I can't think. This is terrible because sometimes I'll realize I've gone a whole day without any sound in the house and then I'll go crazy turning on the TV just to have some noise. I do however, listen to music around the time when I'm writing. I let the music inspire my imagination. When I was working on The Garden of Eve I was stuck at one point in my revision, and I listened to the soundtrack from Finding Neverland to help my imagination soar in the direction I wanted it to go. I try to pick the perfect music for the tone of each book.

Your upcoming non-fiction book, WRITING AND SELLING THE YOUNG ADULT NOVEL, is a departure from your myriad YA novels. How was it transitioning from fiction to non-fiction?

I was so nervous, but I'm very glad I took the leap. It was fabulous to use a different part of my brain. I had a lot of fun coming up with the structure and content of this book -- you'll see that it's very playful in a lot of ways. Honestly, it was an honor to be asked to write it and I hope some day I'll get to write another one.

As research for WRITING AND SELLING THE YOUNG ADULT NOVEL, you recruited teen readers to fill out a detailed survey. What was the most surprising thing you learned from their answers?

Every single question had its surprise answers. It's hard to narrow it down. I'd say the biggest surprise for me was the electronic book question. I truly thought the vast majority of teens would say they had read them and were open to using them, but instead most had never heard of e-books and confused them with audio books. There's so much talk about e-books within publishing -- a veritable doom and gloom "it's the end of the book as we know it" attitude at times -- and yet e-books still haven't really hit the streets.

If you could have lunch with any of your characters, who would it be and what would you talk about?

Ooooh. This is so tough. I'm going to say Iggy, from Saint Iggy. He just pulled at my heart strings the whole time I wrote him and he's a character who tells things like they are, so I would love to have lunch with him and just listen to how he sees the world because he has a worldview unlike any other.

***

She'd also like to say:

"I really hope your readers will visit me on my forum. I LOVE to chat with readers and I've got a cool group of people who stop in there. They can also check out my website -- I've got playlists up on the Non-Lame Stuff page, so they can see some of the music that inspired me when writing both Fat Kid Rules the World and Saint Iggy."

As for myself, thanks, as always, for joining us, and have an awesome day!

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
sachaw
Apr. 14th, 2008 08:54 pm (UTC)
Great interview Tori!
britlitfantwin
Apr. 15th, 2008 05:52 am (UTC)
Thanks so much!
2skippingstones
Apr. 14th, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC)
Great questions and interesting answers. I'd sure love to sit in on that lunch with Iggy.
britlitfantwin
Apr. 15th, 2008 05:53 am (UTC)
Me too! I bet it would be a really interesting conversation ...

And I'm thinking I'd be ordering the drink from your icon to have at that lunch!
lizannewrites
Apr. 15th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
Great interview!
hey Tori!

I loved that you asked this question --

If you could have lunch with any of your characters, who would it be and what would you talk about?

I had a chance to talk with KL Going last year at a conference =)

I just bought her book Writing & Selling the YA novel. i love that she has quotes from teens in the book -- reminded me of one of the special features on the DVD for How to Deal

--Liz
britlitfantwin
Apr. 16th, 2008 01:15 am (UTC)
Re: Great interview!
That's one of my favourite questions to ask -- it's popped up in a few of my interviews. ;)

That is so cool that you got to chat with her, and that you got her latest book ... I can't wait to read it myself.
(Deleted comment)
britlitfantwin
Apr. 16th, 2008 01:14 am (UTC)
K stands for Kelly, but the L? That's a good question! Thanks for tipping me off about the links, by the way, I fixed those up. :)

So glad you enjoyed the interview! She does sound cool, doesn't she? And she's so nice!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )