Reasons To Be Happy Tour Stop

I have on the blog today, a fantastic interview with author Katrina Kittle. Her book REASONS TO BE HAPPY comes out October 1 with Soucebooks. Here's a little about it!

21. Cat purr vibrating through your skin
22. Jumping on a trampoline in the rain
23. Raw cookie dough
24. Getting yourself all freaked out after a scary movie
25. Dancing like an idiot when no one is watching
What happened to the girl who wrote those things? I miss that girl. She used to be bold and fun. Now she's a big chicken loser.
How could so much change so fast?
Let's see, you could be the plain Jane daughter of two gorgeous famous people, move to a new school, have no real friends, and your mom could get sick, and, oh yeah, you could have the most embarrassing secret in the world.
Yep, that about does it.
So, the real question is, how do I get that girl back?

You can learn more about the book on Katrina's website |||| Katrina's blog ||| on goodreads ||| pre-order on Amazon. You can also read the first three chapters here. Now, check out our interview. Our review is going up tomorrow and if you leave a comment here or there (with your email or twitter!), you could win an ARC.

If you could be an item on mexican restaurant menu, what would you be and why? 

Hmm. What a fun question. I'm almost embarrassed to admit I thought about this one longer than any of the others! I think I'd be a tamale, because they're unique and labor intensive, and therefore not on every Mexican restaurant menu. That means, they stand out—for instance, I look for them on menus and I'm always excited to see them and try them. A really good tamale is not commonplace. 
Everyone’s journey into writing is different. Tell us about yours. Was it something you always wanted to do or did it just happen?

It's funny. I've always written. In those fuzzy memories of my childhood before I could write, I "told stories" in elaborate picture story boards, like graphic novels with no words! I have journals dating back to third grade. I loved to write stories and all of my creative assignments for English classes were always far longer than the assignment requirements. 

I was an English major in college, but I was always studying other authors' writing, and the writing I did was academic. I never thought about creative writing for publication, for any kind of audience, until after college. It "happened" because a very particular story tugged on me, wanting to be told. 

I was really driven to write my first novel, TRAVELING LIGHT, because I was teaching high school at the time and I wanted to put a human face on AIDS for those students. It started as a short story, then ended up growing into a novel. Every novel since has also begun with a social issue I'm very passionate about. I start with an issue, but then I work hard to find the characters who would inhabit a story about that issue...because a novel must be a story above all else. It can't just be some public service announcement! 

What was a recent book that you read that you really enjoyed? 

I was recently blown away by WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN by Lionel Shriver, told from the fascinating point of view of the mother of a school shooter. I was completely smitten with her amazing storytelling and gorgeous language. I'd go back and reread pages, just marveling at her skill and the pleasure I got from watching her unfold this suspenseful, harrowing tale. I now want to read every single other book she's ever written! I've also been haunted by WINTER'S BONE by Daniel Woodrell. I love a strong, kickbutt heroine. 

Did you do any research for your writing? If so, what are some things that you pulled from? 

Yes. Most of my research centered around the eating disorder. I'd had some experience with former students to pull from, but I also researched on my own extensively, as well as meeting with a therapist who works with many young women with eating disorders. Dr. Ackerman helped talk me through the "shape" of Hannah's disorder, and what her treatment and recovery would likely look like. 

I'd also been wanting, for years, to use some of my experiences from a trip to Ghana and other West African countries I was lucky enough to visit. Sometimes lots of seemingly disparate ideas simmer around for a good long while before I realize they might be connected. 

Tell us about REASONS TO BE HAPPY in six words or less. 

Life's short. Be authentic. or LA bulimic lands in Ghana. Lifechanging. 

How did you create the world of REASONS? Was there an event or a moment that inspired the idea? 

I'd been a middle school teacher for several years and I'd seen a particular phenomenon occur over and over again: bright, bold, curious girls—strong and confident in their abilities—would hit a wall of self-doubt in sixth or seventh grade. They'd lose all sense of their own unique identity, stop taking any risks, and retreat into approval-seeking behaviors that made them all seem like watered-down clones of each other. I know I'd done it myself when I was in sixth grade! 

So, I was interested in trying to catch that struggle, as well as the experience of coming out on the other side of it. I knew that all too often body image was still a huge part of this identity crisis. With every story I write, as the story is taking shape in my head I try to continually "up the stakes." So, originally I thought: what if this girl feels ugly but her parents are gorgeous? I upped the stakes to: what if her parents aren't just gorgeous but everyone KNOWS they're gorgeous because they're famous? What if they live where beauty is higher valued than most places? What if her parents are not just famous and gorgeous but distracted and unavailable to her...and on and on. 

And then, once I got poor Hannah into a miserable situation, I thought: what if I now plunk her down in a culture where she has no idea what's even considered beautiful? What is one thing you want readers, especially young readers, to take from your books? I think all of my novels share the topic of human resilience. I'm fascinated by stories of ways people have been broken but then come back stronger at their broken places. I think that's what I want readers to take away: that life will kick us all in the teeth at some point or another, but we can rise above it, and not just survive, but thrive. 

With REASONS TO BE HAPPY, I especially want them to grasp that every struggle is easier when we're our authentic selves. 

What are the five things that make you happiest? 
 1. My amazing tribe of family and friends 
2. My silly cat Joey 
3. My overflowing garden 
4. Cooking for friends 
5. Writing 

Lightning Round: 
Favorite sound? Cat purr
Favorite show? The Walking Dead—can't wait for Season Two! I love a good zombie apocalypse story. 
Soup or salad? Winter=soup, summer=salad 
Ice cream or cake? Ice cream! 
Mountain or beach? Beach
London or Paris? London 
Pen or pencil? Really sharp pencils 
Rain or snow? Ohhhh, such a toss up. Rainy days make great writing days...so rain.

 Thanks so much to Kit for stopping by! I love this interview. Check out Hannah-Beth's review of Reasons to Be Happy and.....BLAH BLAH INSERT TOUR INFO.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment!! I appreciate you stopping by! :)