Guys, I got the chance to do my VERY FIRST author interview with the lovely Kristin Ward! A couple of days ago I already reviewed her book After the Green Withered here as part of the #UltimateBlogTour by The_WriteReads (go check out my review after this because I loved the book!) and now I also got the chance to ask her some questions! Since it’s day 9 of the blog tour and I know that some others have already done an interview with her (gosh, she is just lovely!), I wanted my questions to not solely focus on the book but to be more about her as a person in general – and also as a writer, of course. And she just smashed it – look at these answers! Kristin – thanks again for answering my questions! You’re just awesome! (And thank you also for providing this lovely image!)
1. What would you tell your younger self when it comes to writing?
That’s a great question! I would certainly tell myself to stop dreaming of writing and just write. My love of writing actually began in 7 th grade when my English teacher likened a piece I wrote to an author whose work we had been analyzing. That was the initial catalyst and I funneled that into poetry. I wrote lots of poems, terrible poems that stank of teen angst written in rhyme. *shudder*
I have gotten better at writing poetry. I promise! As the years passed, I began many stories but finished none of them. I just lost interest over time, as what I was writing didn’t have its hooks in me. The turning point was when I wrote a graduate course in environmental education. It was while doing research that I began to ponder what the world would look like if it were ravaged by drought and water became the global currency. And then I sat on that idea for a year. After that, I took another four years to finish it and publish. I’ll blame life getting in the way, but honestly I have the tendency to procrastinate. So, I guess that’s another piece of advice I would give myself. Stop procrastinating and write! But don’t stop procrastinating about doing laundry. I mean, let’s not go overboard!
2. Some people take a notebook or notepad with them wherever they go, in case a sudden flash of inspiration hits them. Are you one of them?
I avoid writing by hand. In fact, just the idea of writing copious notes with a pen or pencil makes my hand cramp. I don’t know how people did it in the past. In this age of technology, I use my phone to record my notes (typically while driving…Sh, it’s got Bluetooth so it’s okay). That is not without its bit of humor though, because Siri relishes any opportunity to mess with me. I don’t know how many times I’ve looked back on whatever voice note I’ve recorded and either found words that have no place in the English language or something really inappropriate that makes giggle.
3. Do you ever get up at night and have the sudden urge to write an idea down – maybe one that came to you in a dream or while you couldn’t fall asleep?
I have a love/hate relationship with bedtime. I love sleeping. LOVE it! But I hate going to bed. Heading to bed means my free time is over, typically followed by the acceptance that I have work the next day. Sadly, no, I don’t get to write full-time. It’s still a passion, not a profession. Considering this rocky relationship I have with sleeping, I stay up way too late during the workweek and often find it hard to shut off my mind. When those ideas pop into my head, I grab my phone and either text and speak them (gotta let Siri have her fun) and then hope I don’t get mentally carried away and find that sleep completely eludes me!
4. How do you select the names of your characters? Are they just names that appeal to you, did you look them up do they have special, hidden meanings?
I like to visit the internet playground. A lot. With that in mind, getting lost in that playground is an inevitable outcome. I can easily find myself spending time researching things like names (yes, I definitely do that and will explain in a moment) and then realize four hours have gone by and I’ve written little to anything. When it comes to names, I’m either really creative or completely stuck. When the latter occurs, I jump online and get name ideas based on meanings. In both books, the meanings of character names and place names have significance. *wink, wink*
5. What is your favourite childhood book, and are there any that influenced and shaped you as a writer?
If we go way, way back (I’m feeling old now) I absolutely loved The Wump World by Bill
Peet. This story is about a beautiful, green planet inhabited by the most adorable creatures, Wumps. They look like capybaras (They may even be designed after them? Not sure). One day, the Pollutions come to their planet and take over, driving the poor Wumps underground. You can imagine the impact they had on the pristine planet. In the end, the Wump’s world is utterly changed. There is no going back to what it once was before it was paved over and torn apart, filled with trash and clogged with smog. This connection with environmental themes is very evident in my writing.
6. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only few readers will find?
Yes, I do 🙂 I love infusing meaning into small things that may seem inconsequential. I often wonder if readers will find these little nuggets!
7. What is your favorite literary classic? If you could meet the author for one day, would you? And what would you ask / say?
That’s a tough question! I really love Wuthering Heights, To Kill a Mockingbird, Animal
Farm, Catcher in the Rye, 1984, and many others. If I could meet any one of these amazing authors, I would (I’m assuming that we are not talking zombies, right? Because I wouldn’t be down with it if we’re dealing with the undead. Lol). In a conversation with any one of these literary masters, I would love to know about their perception of the world they were living in and how this influenced their writing. I would also want to know what they think of our world/society today.
8. Are you a reader as well as a writer? If so and you had to give up either one of the two, which would have to go?
I love to read! I can’t fall asleep at night unless I read. Yes, that may be one of my many
quirky habits that reflect my tendency to get stuck in a routine, but let’s not open Pandora’s box with that one! Giving up reading would be heartbreaking. However, writing is my passion and I would have to choose writing over reading if I was forced into some diabolical ultimatum and I could only save mankind by giving up reading. Okay. I may have gotten carried away…
9. After The Green Withered is a YA dystopia. What made you want to write for young adults?
When the idea for this book took root, being a dystopian story was always the only option. Adding the YA element was natural as the story itself developed. The young adult book genre is somewhat of a misnomer. Many lovers of YA fiction are actually women between the ages of 20 and 40. Stories set in this foundational period of life resonate with so many of us on a deep level. The experiences we have as teens shape our perceptions of the world and our place within it. While we always grow and change over time, many of the pieces of who we were remain with us forever.
10. You have to stay on a hidden island forever but are allowed to take three personal items with you – what would they be, and why?
Okay, I’m going to get my nerd on for this one. First, let’s assume that the island has plenty of edible goodies, a water source, and is located in a temperate climate. If that’s the case, I’d bring a solar-charged phone, a portable water filtration system, and personal teleportation device. The phone will always be charged allowing me to talk to my boys, read books online, text my next novel (or talk to Siri and curse her out as she plays mind games with me), and maybe even order pizza to be flown in by helicopter. The water filtration system is a must because, well, no one wants to drink water riddled with bacteria and get the runs. Gross, I know. Sorry about that. It’s the boy brain. The teleporter is essential so I can leave whenever I’ve had enough solitude and then pop back to my hidden island so I don’t get in trouble for leaving in the first place.
Aaaand that’s it! I looooved reading Kristin’s answers and I hope so did you! She and I totally bonded over our love/hat relationship with sleep lol, but I find all of her answers really reflect her personality as an author of a YA dystopia (I hope this makes sense – I mean this in a totally positive way!!).
After you’ve read this, I’m sure you want to go and say hi to Kristin – you can do so here:
Thanks for reading, and thanks again for Kristin for being so lovely and answering all these questions with so much love and so in-depth!