What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'Kirby Larson')

Recent Comments

Recently Viewed

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Tag

In the past 7 days

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
<<December 2017>>
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
     0102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31      
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Kirby Larson, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 37
1. Audacity Jones Steals the Show



Just finished this beauty.

So much to love.

Audacity Jones Steals the Show by Kirby Larson

Two words: TOTAL PACKAGE

It has mystery and humor and adventure.

It has a cat and an elephant.

It has HOUDINI!!!


So many things to love about the writing.

I love how Kirby speaks to the reader so seamlessly, without pulling us out of the story. In fact, quite the opposite...she lets us in on the fun:

I know, dear reader, it causes you to shudder as it does me.

I love the absolute SEAMLESS incorporation of historical details:

Not a kid-leather boot nor starched pinafore to be seen in either direction.

Audie inhaled deeply of the automobile fumes, the horse dung, the frankfurter carts, the fishy aromas from the Hudson River. "Just smell all that life!" She turned in a complete circle, arms wide, opening herself to the wonders of Manhattan.

I adore the language, sometimes soft and lilting, sometimes just plain old sparkly:

It smelled of hay and apples and something else: The young thing reeked of sorrow.

A murmur wobbled its way through the crowd.

And Kirby has never been one to write down to young readers. She tosses in so many yummy words, like PERFIDY. 

So much to love about this one.

AND.....I'll send this ARC along to the first person to tell me so in the comments. 

5 Comments on Audacity Jones Steals the Show, last added: 12/29/2016
Display Comments Add a Comment
2. #TrueFriends and a Great Giveaway

Back in this blog post I told y'all about a writing retreat I went to a couple of years ago.

It was at the beautiful vacation home of Kirby Larson.


(l to r) Kirby Larson with Winston the Wonder Dog, Susan Hill Long, Augusta Scattergood, and me

The amazing result of that writing retreat is that ALL FOUR of the manuscripts that we worked on there were published this year!

 
So we decided to keep the Sisterhood united and work together to help our books wing their way into the world.

We have some #TrueFriends goodies for you!

Here are 4 quick videos from us, telling a bit about our books.


And...drum roll, please...a fantastic giveaway!!


0 Comments on #TrueFriends and a Great Giveaway as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
3. The Sisterhood

In June of 2014, Kirby Larson invited Augusta Scattergood, Susan Hill Long, and me to have a writing retreat at her beautiful vacation home in Washington state. We all jumped at the chance.





What a special time we had!

Here we are with Winston the Wonder Dog. (l to r): Kirby, Susan, Augusta and me


Writing all day.

Then critiquing (so important).

Then breaking to watch the sunset and drink a little wine.


And here's the coolest part:

All four of the manuscripts we were working on at that retreat were published this year!

What are the odds? Seriously.

Here they are: 





AND Augusta's book and my book are publishing on the SAME DAY (August 30).

What are the odds?

Here's the fun part: we call ourselves the Butterfly Sisters. Here's why (as I remember it....we might all have variations of the story).

In an early draft of WISH, I had a scene where the main character hurls some very harsh words at her friend. Harsh and sharp. I then wrote that she wished she could take those words back...scoop them up like butterflies in a net.

My brilliant peers pointed out to me that that metaphor didn't seem appropriate for gathering harsh, sharp words.

Dang it! They were right. But I loved that phrase so much I was determined to keep it. I just moved it to a more appropriate place.

So we had kind of a running joke about butterflies.

And all four books have some sort of reference to butterflies. (Go read the books and see if you can find it.)

So there you have it. 

AND...this year Kirby invited us to have another retreat. BUT...Delta Airlines dealt me a lousy hand and cancelled my flight. So I couldn't go!!!

But we got together to critique the best we could:


Long Live the Sisterhood!

0 Comments on The Sisterhood as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
4. Diversity

I love this quote from author Kirby Larson SO much, and not just because she references me (but, um, shucks, thanks), but because I so totally agree:

Thinking about the diversity in children's books conversation: So glad it is happening! But worried that it might get narrowed to certain criteria. As a kid who grew up without much, I know I would have died and gone to heaven to read Barbara O'Connor or Frances O'Roark Dowell or Watt Key or Lois Brandt (Maddi's Refrigerator, due out in the fall) to find kids like me who bathed in gas station restrooms or didn't have enough to eat or always wore hand me downs. So write your story. Tell it true. Because there's a child out there for whom that story will be a mirror and an escape. A very important escape. And perhaps, perhaps, even a ticket out. That is what diversity in literature is all about.

0 Comments on Diversity as of 6/10/2014 3:47:00 AM
Add a Comment
5. Summer Check-in


Hey, y'all!

I know this blog has been quiet this summer but I have a good excuse.

I've been here:


And here:


And here:


With these folks:

(l to r) Kirby Larson with Winston the Wonder Dog, Susan Hill Long, Augusta Scattergood and me
 

Doing what, you ask?

WRITING!

And now:

Light at the end of the tunnel (sort of)
 

0 Comments on Summer Check-in as of 7/16/2014 7:41:00 PM
Add a Comment
6. Watch for it: DASH


 
Although Mitsi Kashino and her family are swept up in the wave of anti-Japanese sentiment following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Mitsi never expects to lose her home – or her beloved dog, Dash when she’s forced to move to an incarceration camp.

Kirby Larson  swings by readergirlz to chat with Janet Lee Carey  about her new middle-grade novel, DASH.

 

 
JLC - Welcome Kirby. Congratulations on your new historical fiction book and on the 2014 National Parenting Publications Gold Award (NAPPA) for DASH!

KL –  Thanks, Janet! It’s an honor to visit with you. And I am so delighted about the NAPPA award, as well as the two starred reviews, for my new book.

JLC - Tell us what inspired you to write Dash.

KL – I grew up on the West Coast and did not learn about the “evacuation” of 120,000 people of Japanese descent – most of them American citizens – during WWII until I was in college. I was shocked that something of that magnitude could have been omitted from my education. So I began to try to learn as much as I could about it; when I became a writer, I wanted to tell stories from that time period in hopes that no other child would grow up in ignorance about that shameful slice of history. One of the texts I read, Strawberry Days by Dave Niewert, had a short snippet of an interview with a woman named Mitsue Shiraishi, who told about being so heartbroken at the thought of having to leave her dog behind during the “evacuation” that she wrote to the man in charge, General John DeWitt, asking for permission to take her beloved Chubby to camp. He said “no,” so now Mitsi had a few days to find a home for Chubby; fortunately, a kind neighbor, Mrs. Charles Bovee, agreed to take him in.
 
Mrs. Charles knew how much Mitsi loved her dog so she kept a diary, in Chubby’s voice, of his first weeks in the Bovee household, and then mailed it to Mitsi at camp. Mitsi died as a very old woman and when her family was cleaning out her apartment, they found that diary in her nightstand. I was struck by the fact that of all the horrible things that had happened to Mitsi, the thing she held onto was a symbol of kindness and compassion. That heart hook into the story, plus the fact that I am madly in love with my own dog and couldn’t imagine having to leave him behind, lead me to write Dash.

JLC – Would you tell us a bit about your research, and give us a peek into your writing process?

KL – Do you have all day? ;-) As a researcher, I leave no stone unturned. For example, when I read that snippet about Mitsi in Mr. Niewert’s book, I began to reach out to everyone I knew in the Japanese American community to see if I could find Mitsi’s family. I did and they generously provided me with stories, photographs, and other ephemera to help me understand what Mitsi went through. I listen to music of the time period I’m researching, dig up recipes, put together outfits my characters might have worn (Pinterest is great for this!), and even scour second hand stores and eBay for old journals, letters and diaries to give me insights into the past. What I work hardest to find are primary resources – they are essential for helping me conjure up those delicious details that bring the past to life.

As for my writing process, it is a huge mess! I just jump in and start writing – no outline. No plan. What I do first, however, is get to know my character as thoroughly as possible. My work is very character driven.

JLC – The Kirkus starred review says: “Mitsi holds tight to her dream of the end of the war and her reunion with Dash. Larson makes this terrible event in American history personal with the story of one girl and her beloved pet.”
Would you share the secret of writing historical fiction in a way that makes it personal and real for young readers?

KL – I’m so flattered by this lovely review. I wish I knew the secret! What I do know is that if I don’t do my homework – really get myself grounded in a past time and place—I would never stand a chance of making history personal.

JLC – #WeNeedDiverseBooks is an important and long-awaited topic in the book world right now. Thoughts?

KL-   I am thrilled this conversation is taking place. Children need to see themselves – deserve to see themselves! -- in literature of all kinds. I do have a worry, however, that “diversity” could come to mean only ethnicity. It would be a shame to set such limits.

I’ve said this elsewhere: as a kid who grew up wearing hand me downs and sometimes finding the kitchen cupboards completely bare, I would have died and gone to heaven had I found books like Barbara O’Connor’s How to Steal a Dog or Janet Lee Carey’s The Double Life of Zoe Flynn, in which the main character is homeless. I hope and pray this #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign leads to an even richer and broader range of the kinds of kid characters and stories we’ll see in children’s and young adult literature.

JLC— What would you like readers to take away from this book?

KL – I want readers to take away their own meaning from all of my books. But if Dash made readers stop and think about what it means to be a decent human being, I wouldn’t mind that one bit.

By Kirby Larson
Scholastic, 10/2014


 

Add a Comment
7. Best Young Adult Books with Dorothy Hearst, Author of the Wolf Chronicles

I read a lot of Young Adult books. I love the strong storylines, and the passion and honesty of the protagonists. Here are a few of the many YA books I love.

Add a Comment
8. Audacity Jones to the Rescue




AUDACITY JONES TO THE RESCUE
by



I love this one so much.

Why, you might ask?

Well, first of all, it's KIRBY LARSON, y'all.

I started circling sentences I loved and before long the whole dang book was circled.

For instance, "Miss Maisie's barley-water breath traveled the length of the scarred mahogany table arriving well before her reprimand."

"Miss Maisie's smile wobbled in her pasty face."

"He felt the wings of freedom sprouting at his shoulders."

And it's funny.

"I don't like danger," said Bimmy. "It's too dangerous."

"Her sit-upon especially ached."

The descriptive details are luscious.

"...the scent of the desert about him."

"...the gray flannel afternoon sky.."
 
The word choices are perfection.
Squinched
Quailed
Gustatory
Salubrious
Olfactory conundrum
It's adventurous
and mysterious
and a darn good yarn. 
AND
There's a character named Mrs. O'Connor who was named after me! (But that in no way influenced my opinion of this lovely book -  but might have made me love Kirby Larson a SQUINCH more than I did before, if that's possible.)
So run,
Don't walk,
To your nearest indie bookstore
For this one.



0 Comments on Audacity Jones to the Rescue as of 11/13/2015 3:18:00 PM
Add a Comment
9. Best New Kids Books | January 2016

Take a look at our selection of hot new releases and popular kids' books and let us know which titles and covers catch your eyes. There are so many amazing new kids books coming in 2016!

Add a Comment
10. Story Secrets: THE FENCES BETWEEN US by Kirby Larson

Friend, writing mentor, and fellow Seattle author Kirby Larson is here today with a a brand new treat: THE FENCES BETWEEN US!

Kirby has not only generously shared her writing wisdom with many of us, both through workshops and classes as well as at her Kirby's Lane blog, but she was one of the very first authors to be featured at readergirlz with her Newbery Honor-winning historical novel, Hattie Big Sky. Kirby's writing is voice is warm, funny, and fascinating, and her books much-beloved.

So I am thrilled to welcome Kirby to Story Secrets!

*****

I was so honored when Scholastic asked me to write a book for the relaunch of their beloved Dear America series, the first new title in 5 years! It officially came out yesterday, September 1st--woo-hoo--and is called THE FENCES BETWEEN US.


Holly Cupala: Tell us the story behind the story!

Kirby Larson: Since writing Hattie Big Sky, I've become a history nerd. I had been working on another historical novel (which takes place between 1927 and 1941) and had thought it would include something about the incarceration camps to which over 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry -- most of them American citizens -- were sent during WWII. That bit of history didn't end up fitting into that particular book (called The Friendship Doll; it will be out in May 2011 from Delacorte) but Scholastic was looking for a WWII story and, boy, did I have it...

Find out more of Kirby's secrets here...

~Holly Cupala

Add a Comment
11. Tomorrow is a Big Day!

Tomorrow is a BIG day!  Tomorrow is the day that Kirby Larson's new book The Friendship Doll comes out!  I read this book a few months ago and I adore it.  Now, with the entire world about to read this book, I feel very protective.  Kind of like sending my child off to school for the first time... Will they like it?  Will they love it?  Will they be mean to it and bully it? (Not possible, by the way!)  Will people appreciate it like I do?  This isn't even MY book and I am worked up- I can only imagine how Kirby feels on this- the eve of her book release.  There is no turning back now, girl!  I am sending good vibes your way! 

My copy just shipped from Amazon about 2 hours ago!  I hope you get a chance to read this book very soon!  Put a hold on it at the library, buy it at the book store, download it on your Nook... your daughters and granddaughters will love this book.  After you read it, please leave a post here at The Lemme Library.  If you would like a sneak peek, read my review here. Oh- and please remember where you read it first- this is a Newbery 2011 contender.... 

1 Comments on Tomorrow is a Big Day!, last added: 5/9/2011
Display Comments Add a Comment
12. Kirby 1 Tom 0

This is what I imagine is going on at ALA right now...
Kirby Larson and Tom Angleberger competing in a lightsaber duel. Wish I were there!

0 Comments on Kirby 1 Tom 0 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
13. The Friendship Doll


Kirby Larson is a master at historical fiction.

I am in awe.

The Friendship Doll follows the journey of a Japanese doll as she makes her way from one owner to the next over the years.

The history is seamlessly woven throughout.

Each character's unique tale grabs you from the get-go.

Kirby isn't afraid to tell the tale the way it needs to be told. (See why I need an editor?)

She's not afraid to try something totally unique (i.e., the doll's point of view).

Loved this one.

1 Comments on The Friendship Doll, last added: 7/6/2011
Display Comments Add a Comment
14. Book Review


The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson, (Delcorte Press, 2011):  My writer friend, Kirby Larson, was researching Hattie Big Sky (which went on to win a Newbery Honor) when she came upon an interesting piece of history.

In 1927, Japanese schoolchildren sent 58 friendship dolls to the United States as ambassadors of friendship. Kirby had seen a photo of a blond farm girl with an exquisite Japanese doll and the seed for this story was planted. The story is told partly through the doll eyes of Miss Kanagawa - a hoity doll at that - who meets children through the ages and imparts telepathic wisdom upon each child. With each child she feels a tug at her heart.

The touchdowns in each era are interesting to me since Kirby does an excellent job of bringing in historical details and jargon of the country's different regions and time periods. I especially enjoyed the description of the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago during the Depression (although I secretly hoped the girl would ride the Sky Ride.) There's a valuable message as well as clever methods of exposing the doll to the various children throughout the ages which makes for an interesting read.

Kirby has put out a challenge to find the 13 dolls that are missing. Check your attic!

0 Comments on Book Review as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
15. Votive candles



Anyone who has spent a summer evening on my porch knows how much I love candles.

I have everything from cheapo Target votives to lovely Waterford votives.

Now, thanks to this blog post by friend, Kirby Larson, I MUST have these hand-blown Glassybabys.


(photo lifted from Kirby's blog)


They are gorgeous!!!!!

While you're at it, go vote for this talented artist for Entrepreneur of the Year.

0 Comments on Votive candles as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
16. Librarians and Chocolate Cake

In honor of my 1 Year Blogiversary, I have a GREAT week of guest bloggers lined up! Check back every day this week to see what I have in store for you! My very first guest is author Kirby Larson. Kirby won The Newbery Honor Award for Hattie Big Sky. Her newest book is The Friendship Doll. Thank you Kirby for your post, and thank you for your online friendship! I am so glad that cyber-fate brought us together!
I am so pleased to help celebrate both the first birthday ofthe Lemme Library blog and a truly amazing librarian, Kelly Butcher. She hasnot only been an enthusiastic cheerleader for my books, she has even given meblogging lessons, especially in how to manipulate graphics. Despite all thecoaching, I will never be able to create images as cute as the ones Kelly does.My particular favorite is the one she created of my famous light sword battlewith fellow author, Tom Angleberger:

I love librarians, for reasons you willdiscover below, and am happy to honor this library blog’s first birthday eventhough, sadly, there is no cake.
 
People often ask me why I became a writer, a question that Ican easily answer: books saved me. I grew up in a home with lots of love butlittle money and we moved nearly every single year as my dad searched for newways to support our family of six. This took place in the olden days whenpeople didn’t move around much so, at each new school, I was an oddball fromthe get-go. In addition to being the new kid, I was the new kid with a reallybad home-permanent, cats-eye glasses and a name that would make any bully thinkhe or she had won the lottery: Kirby Miltenberger. (My folks might as well havepainted a target on my forehead!) As a kid, however, I soon learned that, nomatter where I went, I could quickly find a friend in the school library,between the pages of a book.

Books allowed me to imagine myself tracking a thief, likeEmil in 1 Comments on Librarians and Chocolate Cake, last added: 9/16/2011
Display Comments Add a Comment
17. Life Returns to Normal





So, now I'm over jet lag and getting back to my routine. Well, sort of my routine. Normally my routine would involve writing for two or three hours a day in addition to house chores, email, and studying Spanish. But, I haven't been doing the writing part of it at all except for journaling. My writing time has been spent studying the 2012 Writer's Market and querying or composing cover letters for snail mail submissions. I have to confess great guilt over not working on revising and rewriting my novel for some time. Trips and visits seemed to take priority.


On the other hand, these visit were spent in heartfelt talks with friends and and family, filling my mind and heart with memory and insight, tapping heartwise into some of my deepest feelings. An outcome that can only enrich my future writing, I would think.


Last year I had the opportunity to interview an author whose writing I admire quite a bit, Kirby Larson, author of Hattie Big Sky and The Fences Between Us, as well as many other books. You can read the interview here. I asked at one point how her busy life impacted her writing. In addition to writing award-winning books, she teaches, presents at conferences, does school visits, etc.. Her answer was: 


"I am reminded every day of Katherine Paterson's powerful words: "The very persons who take away my time and space to write give me something to say." (Katherine Paterson is another author I greatly admire.)


So I take solace from the words of these two marvelous writers whose books shimmer and reach into the heart of things. After all, if we had no life outside of writing, we'd have nothing to write about. In fact, writer's block may often be about living too much in your head and not taking renewal from the life going on around you.


10 Comments on Life Returns to Normal, last added: 11/12/2011
Display Comments Add a Comment
18. What Kirby Read

Love this post about reading as a child by my pal, Kirby Larson. (Well, okay, okay, I like her even more after she wrote this article.)

0 Comments on What Kirby Read as of 2/21/2012 10:35:00 AM
Add a Comment
19. Hattie Ever After

0 Comments on Hattie Ever After as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
20. 7 Things You Don't Know About Kirby Larson

We kicked off 2008 reading HATTIE BIG SKY by Kirby Larson. 

In 2013, the sequel, HATTIE EVER AFTER, was released.

Now, in 2014, Kirby's sharing her list of...

7 Things You Don't Know About Me
1.     I have no willpower when it comes to red licorice (not Twizzlers) or Hot Tamales.
2.     By October, I will have visited 43 of the 50 states, plus the territories of Puerto Rico and Guam.
3.     Even though my dad's commanding officer offered to pay my mom $25 to name me something else (he was pulling for Lenore), my real name is Kirby.
4.     My sixth grade teacher, Mr. Steve Craig, made such a huge impact on my life that he and I are still in contact and good friends after all these years.
5.     Gym classes were not co-ed when I was in middle school and I managed to fail boys' PE.
6.     As a mom, I’m probably an 8, but as a grandma, I’m a 10+.
7.     My best book is that one that I've yet to write.
 


Add a Comment
21. How to Make a Friend in 1 Easy Lesson

A million, trillion years ago (okay, okay, 9 years ago), I received the following letter:

Dear Ms. O'Connor [that just kills me],

I just finished Taking Care of Moses and, after also reading Moonpie and Ivy and Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia, I had to write a fan letter! 

I love the immediacy of your writing and the Southern settings and sensibilities of the stories that entrance rather than overshadow the situations your characters find themselves in.

Thank you for caring so much about writing good books for kids.

Warmly,
Kirby Larson

I had no idea who Kirby Larson.

But I was, of course, touched by this letter. [Side note: a handwritten letter....not an email....big difference]

I put her info into my contact list on my computer and in the "notes" section I wrote: Writer who wrote me a nice fan letter.

Fast forward two years: Kirby Larson won a freaking Newbery honor for Hattie Big Sky.

I loved that book so much.

Now Kirby was one of my writing idols.

The following year, I like to died (as we say down South) when I saw this interview online.

When I saw my name there as a "Literary Crush", I was floored.

I confess that I clicked on the link to my name because I couldn't believe it was really me.

*Swoon*

Call me mushy, but that was sort of a turning point for me with regard to how I viewed my own writing career.

I saw myself through the eyes of someone whom I admired and respected. 

I will be forever grateful for that.

Over the next few years, Kirby and I stayed in touch via email.

Finally, in 2010, we met in real life at a conference in Orlando.


She was horrified by my Cafe Francais addiction but agreed to remain friends.

We hugged and gushed and chatted like old friends.

From that point on, Kirby has been my go-to gal in my writing world. 

If I snivel and gripe via email, she picks up the phone and calls me.

If she knows I'm struggling with a writing issue, she picks up the phone and calls me.

When I've hit some bumps in the road, she picks up the phone and calls me.

When I got a new puppy, she sent puppy gifts.

She sends heartfelt, hand-written notes of encouragement when least expected and sorely needed.

This past November, we presented together at NCTE in Boston with our mutual idol and friend, Karen Cushman.


I call Kirby The Great Connector

She is forever connecting writers to teachers to librarians to writers to teachers, etc. etc.

So, what's the 1 Easy Lesson?

Do what Kirby does: Write. Call. Connect.

P.S. I still have that note about Kirby being "the writer who wrote me a nice fan letter" in my contacts info on my phone. 

What a long way she and I have come! 

Kirby? *fist bump*

0 Comments on How to Make a Friend in 1 Easy Lesson as of 5/7/2014 10:02:00 AM
Add a Comment
22. Interview: Kirby Larson on research


Revision update: Halfway through chapter 10 of 29. Goal: To be finished by the end of the month.

Kirby Larson headshot

Kirby Larson

Today, I’m thrilled to have an interview with Newbury Honor winner Kirby Larson. I met Kirby at the Austin SCBWI conference, where she gave an awesome talk about her journey from unpublished writer to her current success and all the peaks and valleys in between. I asked her to answer a few questions on research, both the research she did for her fictional Hattie Big Sky (2007 Newbury Honor book) and the research she nows does for her non-fiction books. She also talked about writing with a partner and writing on your own.

But, before we get to Kirby’s wisdom, tomorrow I’m at the Houston SCBWI conference with another incredible lineup: author Cynthia Leitich Smith, Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins assistant editor Ruta Rimas, Henry Holt creative director Patrick Collins, Simon & Schuster senior editor Alexandra Cooper, Scholastic senior editor Lisa Ann Sandell, Harvey Klinger agent Sara Crowe and National Geographic Children’s Books editor-in-chief Nancy Feresten. So check in next week for reports from the conference.

And now, onto Kirby…

Hattie Big Sky book coverYou said at the Austin SCBWI conference that you did a lot of research for Hattie Big Sky. Can you tell us about the work you did and how the research helped you develop the idea for the book?

KL: I was an abysmal student of history so I knew nothing about homesteading in the early 20th century, nor even about WWI. I initially thought I might be doing something like a more grown-up version of the Little House books. But when I became aware of the tensions and prejudice of those part

5 Comments on Interview: Kirby Larson on research, last added: 2/21/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
23. Tip to success: Show Up

A friend of mine quoted Woody Allen to me recently: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” And I think it’s a perfect quote to inspire writers.

There’s another statistic that only a small percentage of the writers who start writing a novel finish it, and even fewer revise it, and even fewer polish it and query it.

Writing a novel isn’t easy, and writing a good or even great novel is harder. But there’s one thing that’s more necessary than anything else: Writing it. Sitting in your chair and typing in your computer or writing on your notebook. If you don’t write the first word, you can’t write the last.

My first novel took about three years to write. It was before I was writing every day. And in that three years, there were many times that I wondered if I was wasting my time, if the book was any good. But the truth is, it didn’t matter. All that mattered, at first, was that I wrote, word after word, day by day. The day I typed The End for the first time was soooo great.

Kirby Larson talked about something similar at the Austin SCBWI conference, offering writers the advice of “butt in chair,” to do the work and get it done. It’s good advice for all of us. That blank page can be scary, but the important thing is to fill it. The thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter how good or bad the writing is, because it will all be better after revising.

Here’s my advice: Choose one of these quotes, “butt in chair” or “eighty percent of success is showing up,” write it on a Post It and put it on your bathroom mirror. When you’re brushing your teeth in the morning, read it and make your plan of when you’ll write during the day. And when you’re brushing your teeth at night, read it and either congratulate yourself for writing or make a promise to yourself to do it tomorrow.

Now, where are my Post Its?

How do you keep on track with your writing?

Write On!


2 Comments on Tip to success: Show Up, last added: 3/5/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
24. Kirby Larson Interview

This interivew with Kirby Larson, author of Hattie Big Sky, originally ran in the March 2007 issue of the now-gone The Edge of the Forest.

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson is a story of dreams, survival, and hope; 16 year old Hattie Brooks is an orphan who at sixteen discovers that an unknown uncle has left her his homestead in Montana. It's 1918, and this is no Cinderella story. Hattie has to work hard to "prove up" the land in order to keep it. This book is both a straightforward story of a pioneer; it's also a look at family, as Hattie befriends her neighbors and at prejudice, as anti German sentiment turns to violence.

When I sat in the audience and heard Hattie Big Sky named as a 2007 Newbery Honor book; I jumped out of my seat. Hattie Big Sky is in some ways a perfect book: it works with almost any audience; it has a lot going on; and Hattie as a character stays with you long after the last page. I was also excited because a couple of days before I had met Kirby for the first time in person, and we had chatted over coffee at a Starbucks in Seattle. One of the things we discussed was attending the Youth Media Awards Press Conference, when all the winners and honor books are announced. Kirby also agreed to do an email interview for The Edge of the Forest.

Normally, an email interview is easier than a "real life" interview because you don't have to worry about traveling or time zones or things like that. Kirby lives outside of Seattle, I live in New Jersey. However, Kirby Larson is one busy lady! In addition to visiting Louisiana, she'd also been to a book festival in Missouri and was then heading out to New Zealand.

Sit back; enjoy your cup of tea (or coffee or hot cider, just please, don't spill on your keyboard); and get to know Kirby and Hattie a little bit better.

Liz: Hattie Big Sky, a work of fiction, was inspired by the story of your step great grandmother, Hattie Inez Brooks Wright. At what point did you realize that you were going to take Hattie's story and make it into a book?

Kirby: My great-grandmother was about 4'11" and 85 pounds. When I realized that she had indeed successfully proved up on a claim, I knew I had to tell that story. Unfortunately, our family knew very little about her experience-- just that she had homesteaded near Vida, Montana and that she had proved up. It was shortly after learning about her homesteading experience that I knew I had to write this story.

Liz: Did you ever have any conflict as a writer between what was "true" about the real Hattie's story and what was needed to write a work of fiction?

Kirby: Because I had so little information about my great-grandmother's experience on the prairie, I was not constrained in any way by what "really happened." I don't know what "really happened" to Hattie Inez Brooks. But, because of my years of research, I do know what happened to many other homesteaders and I was able to weave these stories into a satisfying adventure in HATTIE BIG SKY.

Liz: Hattie Big Sky was named a Newbery Honor Book. How has your life changed now that that you have the silver medal on your book?

Kirby: The biggest change is in the number of emails I get every day! Honestly, I feel like the same writer as ever, working to write the best story I can.

Liz

0 Comments on Kirby Larson Interview as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
25. Kirby's No-No's

A great follow-up post by Kirby Larson - this one about things she doesn't like in novels.

1 Comments on Kirby's No-No's, last added: 7/16/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment

View Next 11 Posts