Welcome to the first in a special fall series on Journeys and Life where I’m highlighting local Michigan authors and writing talent. This series will run bi-weekly from September thru the end of November so please check back.
Interview with A. Kidd, author of the middle-grade light fantasy, The Healing Star
What makes your books unique? They’re a little magical. I would say twinkly even. With a modern fairytale feeling. They often feature a strong, spunky girl as the main character. There’s a bit of sadness and a dash of hope sprinkled throughout. There’s always an adventure with quirky characters popping up along the way.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A children’s author and illustrator J And an astronaut! (until I figured out that I get vertigo easily- LOL)
And if you couldn’t be an author, what would you like to be? I’ve always loved to dance. I took ballet as a child. I’m also a big fan of the show So You Think You Can Dance. It’s amazing how dancers can tell a story without using any words at all. Plus I love how it is an art form that anyone can do.
How do you find time to write? Any practical tips?
I write whenever I can, wherever I can. This includes jotting notes down on scraps of paper and later saving them to my phone. I have a two-year-old daughter, so I have to work around her schedule too. I maximize my time by scheduling babysitters and utilizing my daughter’s naps, making sure they do not overlap.
Do you get writer’s block and how do you handle it?
I’m an idea person, so that usually isn’t an issue. But sitting down to do the actual work of writing a story can be challenging. I’m terrified of the blank page and will do anything I can, including laundry and dishes, to avoid it. A trick that often helps me is to end a writing session in the middle of a sentence or thought, so the next day, jumping back into the story isn’t so daunting. Sometimes I’ll start out by adding notes to my research, which also doesn’t seem as scary as working on the story itself. I always know that once I get going, the words eventually begin to flow.
Which authors have inspired your writing and why?
Too many to count! But without a doubt, my biggest inspiration is Toni Morrison. Her use of symbolism is really quite genius. Sharon Creech is also one of my favorites, particularly the book Heartbeat. That’s when I became a fan of novels in verse. I admire her use of poetic language. To that end, I’m also a fan of Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun and Francesca Lia Block’s Weetzie Bat series.
What book character inspired you most?
Definitely the Wicked Witch of the West! She’s the original supervillain. And thanks to Wicked, we also discover her backstory as well. As a child, I found her magical powers really intriguing.
Favorite Harry Potter character?
I love them all, but I find Luna to be very special. I love how she goes her own way. I think that’s important for kids to see. That it’s okay to do that instead of following the crowd all the time.
Tell us about your name. Are you really a kid? Haha, well I’d like to believe I’m a kid at heart. And some people say I have a youthful exuberance. Also, my maiden name is actually Kidd. I guess I was meant to be a children’s author.
Plotter or Pantser? I used to be a notorious pantser. I think I could get away with it because I wrote a lot of journey stories, which have an internal plot structure. But recently I tried plotting, and now I don’t think I’ll ever go back. It’s basically the difference between a lot of prewriting before or rewriting after.
What’s next for you? I’m currently working on a dual-perspective dystopian YA, which is different from my current style. There’s a little romance thrown in, which is kind of fun too.
For those interested in your work, where can we find you? My official book launch will be at Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham, MI on Tuesday, October 8, at 7:30pm. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Facebook by Clicking Here.