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Author Interview with Kate Grace | What YA Reading?

Kate Grace, an  improvisation comedy group member turned freelance author, shares her thoughts on The Hunger Games, fears of failure, and pitchers of margarita.

 

ANA: What inspired you to write Burden of the Soul?

KATE: There are two answers to this. I was inspired to write my first novel by going through a terrible time that ended up being a blessing in disguise. There was nothing left to lose, so there was nothing left to fear about failing. I was inspired to write Burden of the Soul by how my imagination started coming to life during that time. I was recovering from an illness that zapped all physical energy, so I was cooped up at home in a New York City apartment all summer. I was mentally bored, so my imagination sort of took over. We lived down the street from Central Park and that’s the only change of scenery I ever got because that’s as far as I could go. On the way each day I passed this gorgeous apartment building and I started wondering about the people that lived there. Then I started making people up. I built up my strength by walking through the park, but I had to stick to lower traffic areas to make the most of the little energy I had. The Reservoir, Belvedere Castle and the Bramble were among my regular spots and all these different stories my imagination was building in these different areas starting merging until one day they started showing up on the page. So I stopped writing my “first” attempt at a book and just let Clara take over.

ANA: What’s your dream cast for Burden of the Soul?

KATE: That’s a tough one to answer because I see them as they are in my mind. They aren’t known actors or actresses, they’re just who they are. A few of the characters started off being inspired by people I knew, but during the writing and discovery process they just became themselves. So I’m going to flip this question on you and ask what’s your dream cast for Burden of the Soul?

ANA: Okay, this is really hard because– as I may have mentioned– I’m not a huge TV person and the closest I come to seeing actors in action is during the occasional really crappy movie. But, if I had my way, Dave would be played by Andrew Garfield (whom you may recognize from the newest Spidey movie).

And Clara would be played by Vica Kerekes.  Whom you may not recognize. This is the part where you thank Google for its miracles.


Actually, speaking of Clara, I noticed that you never provided the name of her spontaneously-developed blog. What is it?

KATE: Ah, there’s a reason for that and the answer will come in time. ;^)

ANA: Cryptic. Okay. Next question: do you belong to any particular team when it comes to the Dave versus Devin battle?

KATE: This is another impossible one for me to answer because I know how it ends and why, so I can’t give that away just yet. I can say the developments coming for Clara, Dave and Devin along with Grace and Brik cover massive ground and will make readers’ hearts flutter, then break and then hopefully heal. In the end, and I have to stay true to this, they will represent the realistic joys, challenges and struggles relationships bring.

But I’m going to flip this question on you as well. Do you belong to any particular team when it comes to the Dave versus Devin battle? Why?

ANA: No, actually. No, I do not. I don’t think I know enough about Dave or Devin to favour one over the other, but I’m hoping to get to know them a lot better in the next installment of the series and possibly come to a decision then.

Speaking of book series– who is your favourite YA author?

KATE: There are so many! Top notch for me in the YA genre is Suzanne Collins for The Hunger Games series. There is so much brilliance in those books in regards to coming of age and choices, all of which is layered with complexities of environment and survival. What I love most about her writing and her characters is she never waters herself down because her target readers are young adults. I come across a lot of YA literature that talks down to the readers because of their age, when really this group is the smartest and most challenging to write for (in my opinion). With teen and young adult readers imaginations are strong, open mindedness is present and honesty is of the highest importance. These readers are the smartest I’ve encountered and that’s why I love writing in this genre!

ANA: When you were in high school, did you know that you were going to write a book? What did you want to be?

KATE: I had no clue! And I loved reading! I think books were something I loved so much and respected so much that I put them on an unattainable pedestal. I wanted to be a photographer. I went to a creative arts high school and studied theater. Every since I got my first diary at age 9 I’ve been a writer, but because I loved it so much I feared it. I feared the thought of failing. I went to college for art (and took writing classes for the fun of it). I worked in magazines as an editor and finished graduate school in journalism. I continued to write, particularly with journalism, but I had convinced myself I didn’t have the imagination necessary to write a novel, let alone a few. I was living in New York City and performing with an improvisational comedy troupe regularly when the light went on and I realized, “If I have imagination to do this I can at least try.” Not long after that the bottom dropped out. I got sick. Lost my job. Had to move, and no longer had anything to lose by failing. So I started to write, and it just kept going. It’s funny looking back on all the different paths I took and seeing how they were shaping me to be an author despite how various and disconnected they seemed at the time.

ANA: Can you tell us 3 random facts about yourself?

KATE: I’m currently trying to teach my dog, Maddie, how to wave goodbye.

For my elementary school talent show I sang “Tomorrow” from Annie while wearing a Sunshine Bear (Carebear) costume my mom had made for me. Problem was the hole for my face to poke out was the bear’s mouth, so it just looked like a Carebear had swallowed a child whole.

I am currently rocking a major Farmer’s Tan due to my love of T-Shirts.

ANA: If you could take 5 things with you onto a deserted island, what would they be?

KATE: Pitcher of margarita

Another pitcher of margarita

Another pitcher of margarita

Another pitcher of margarita

And a getaway boat for when the margaritas have run out

ANA: That is seriously hilarious. I really hope to see more of this humour in your next book, but in the meantime…  please give us a teaser for the sequel!

KATE: Ha! Well it’s still too early for excerpts (my editor would kill me), but I’ll share a few facts with you.

– Readers have all the information they need… it’s action from here on out!

– I’ve always been able to picture the climactic scene of book 2, but my day job and a dear friend/co-worker named Kurt Meyland have brought it to life in a way that gets my blood pumping every time I read it!

– So far the two sides have been stationary waiting for someone to move. Now everyone is on the move!

– There’s a traitor among them. Which “them”? Not telling.

 

So, a big thanks to Kate Grace for the interview! I, personally, can’t wait for Burden of the Soul‘s sequel– if only to find out the URL of Clara’s mystery blog. For the moment, though, I’ll be satisfied–I’ll be thrilled– to get to know more YA authors, so stay tuned this summer; more interviews are coming up.

 

I’ll keep you posted,

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