Interview with Author Kathleen Duey

Kathleen Duey has published over 90 books for children of all ages and for YA and adult readers. She has won many awards, including a National Book Award silver medal for Skin Hunger, the first book of her Resurrection of Magic trilogy. The Unicorn’s Secret, a series of books for young readers has won state reader awards and celebrates 12 years in print this year. Her fan mail is increasingly international and she is grateful for….everything.
Since this blog is about offering inspiration to writers, my first question for you is, do you have a favorite quote? If so, why is it your favorite?
“We write by the light of every book we have ever read.” ~Richard Peck 

Richard is a famous and brilliant writer and a lovely person who talked writing with me as though I were an equal when I was just a beginner. He still does, bless his heart.
In your career as a writer, who’s had the biggest influence on you?  What did they do to inspire you?
This is an impossible question for me to answer because I was a student of writing in fourth grade and I am still a student of writing. I’ve had the great privilege of meeting a few of the authors I grew up reading—and have since met many more authors whose work astounds me. So I have no “biggest” influence, but amazing writing always inspires me….by intimidating me, pushing me, daring me, proving to me that the people and places inside books can be as real as any other part of my life. Hundreds of authors have inspired me—by being inspired!!

If you could send your younger self one tweet, what would you say?

Start writing novels now!!  But don’t burn your poems. They aren’t that bad.  
If at all possible, could you pick one book that has deeply affected you? If so, what was it that moved you about it?
There are many books that have affected me but this was the first one: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. She wrote it in 1877 when she was ill and dying. It became a best-seller, then a classic and still remains in print. Set in England, it’s a sad story of a horse’s life that includes all the cruelties of the times. Her story changed the way people looked at animals and inspired the first movement to end animal cruelty.  I read it in third grade. It was the first book that ever made me cry, the first book that made me realize stories could change hearts. 
When you are having moments when nothing seems to fit, how do you find what you are looking for and make a story come to life?
I often go outside carrying a shovel, a limb saw, and a digital recorder. I have an acre of land, a messy garden, overgrown trees and weeds. In the middle of physical work, almost always, the characters talk to me. I record the conversation. If I am stranded in a city at a conference, I walk, find a place to pace. Getting out of my head and into my body almost always works.

If you could pick a word to describe yourself, what would it be?

I collect words from old dictionaries and today I face an incredibly intricate scene in my book. So I hope to be a
flexuous writer.  **\FLEK-shoo-uhs\, adjective:  Full of bends or curves; sinuous.** 
Thank you, Kathleen! I love how you record your conversations with your characters, what a great idea! After this interview I’m off to purchase a digital recorder–genius! 
If you would like to find out more about Kathleen, please do visit her website and check out her fantastic blog

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