Friday, March 27, 2015

Author Interview with Katherine Applegate


The DMS was lucky enough to interview Katherine Applegate. Lizzy reviewed her book The One and Only Ivan, and it was great to share our thoughts about it and hear yours! We're excited to learn a little more about her story. So, without further ado... take it away, Katherine!

What inspired you to write The One and Only Ivan?


I read an article in the New York Times about the plight of a real gorilla named Ivan, who’d been caged in a shopping mall for 27 years. The story was so haunting that I decided to write about it.


The book is based on a true story, so it must have involved a lot of research. How long did it take you to write The One and Only Ivan?



I have the hardest time answering questions about how long it takes to write a book, partly because the process is so messy: there’s the “gestating,” the research, the actual writing, and the endless rewriting. I played with the story off and on for 2 or 3 years, I suppose.
 



What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?

I loved E.B. White, but I wasn’t much of a reader until I got older. I always make it a point to tell my student audiences that fact. It gives many kids hope!

Where did you come up with the characters Julia and Stella?

My daughter’s name is Julia, and she wanted to be in a book.  Stella’s story was based on the research I did on the treatment of circus elephants. They do not have happy lives, to say the least.

The path to publication varies from author to author. Every author has a unique story and one that other writers can learn from. Can you tell us a little bit about your path to publication or do you have any advice for new authors?

Write because you love to write. If you want to be published, develop a thick skin. For every overnight sensation, there are plenty of writers who could paper their walls with rejection letters (and I’m one of them)! SCBWI is a great organization for children’s writers who want to learn more about the craft and business of writing.

If you could live anyplace real or fictional, where would it be? Why?

Pretty much anywhere other than my current location, where I am stuck while doing a frustrating first draft.


If you could befriend a character from one of your books, who would you befriend? Why?

Kek (from HOME OF THE BRAVE), a Sudanese refugee from whom I could learn a lot about bravery and compassion.  Also cows. 

Where do you like to write? Do you listen to music while you are writing?


I’ve learned I can write anywhere, as long as I have headphones available. I listen to a lot of Bach when I’m writing.  Even when I write garbage, it seems better with Bach in the background.


Are you currently working on a book? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

Yes.  I’m in the final rewriting of a middle grade novel called CRENSHAW. That will be followed by ENDLING, a MG trilogy. 

Where can we purchase your books or learn more about them?

THEONEANDONLYIVAN.COM is a good place to start. My books are available at your local indie bookstore or online. 

















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56 comments:

  1. I wish her much success with the book... that is terrible that a gorilla would be stuck in a shopping mall for 27 years, what a sad life for him... I also have read horror stories about elephants in captivity, I really think we need to free the animals or at least put them in habitats that mirror their home surroundings xox

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    1. Launna- My heart broke when I learned that a gorilla lived in a shopping mall cage for 27 years. So sad! I am glad that Katherine took this story and made us all more aware of it! :) ~L

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  2. I guess Bach would make bad writing seem better. ;)
    I adore this cover.

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  3. What a treat to read this as I've read this book and enjoyed it immensely. It was such a powerful and emotional read.

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    1. Medeia- I am glad you enjoyed this followup to reading the book. :) ~L

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  4. Wonderful interview, ladies. This book is on my Wish List and I am going to read it soon. Trying to catch up.

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    1. Beverly- You will love it when you get to it! :) ~L

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  5. Hi Jess and Katherine - that must have been so heart-rending researching about circus elephants ... but a story that needs to be told ... I can imagine it takes 2-3 years to bring the whole together .. congratulations and good luck - cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary- This was definitely a story that needs to be told. So important for everyone to stop and think about what happens to animals in these types of environments. :) ~L

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  6. Always interesting to read of what inspires authors, of what books they enjoyed as a child. Great questions and answers, thank you.

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    1. Tracy- Glad you enjoyed the questions and answers! :) ~L

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  7. I think this is going to be one riveting novel. Animals in captivity always grips my heart.

    Thanks for sharing the interview. I like it when I get to know about the book and the story behind the story more.

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    1. Lux- Animals in captivity grip my heart too. This was a powerful story that will make people stop and think. :) ~L

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  8. Thanks for a terrific interview. This book is on my TBR list. I hope to get to it soon.

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    1. Rosi- You are welcome! Enjoy The One and Only Ivan when you get to it. :) ~L

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  9. I too loved The One and Only Ivan. It made my heart ache though. Thank you for sp;otlighting the book and the author.

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    1. Elephant's Child- I am glad you loved the book and enjoyed the interview. I think it is a book everyone should read. :) ~L

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  10. I thought it was based on a true story and my heart goes out to those animals. I never did like circuses because of the animals. I hope your Ivan has a happy ending. I would read the book knowing the elephant and Ape come out OK..I am strange that way

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    1. Birgit- You were right! I definitely think you should read the book and although there is sadness in the story, there is also happiness. :) ~L

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  11. I have to agree with what Birgit said, I remember just bawling after reading Marley and Me; now I choose more wiser I guess. Great interview; I think Bach is a nice touch to listen to while writing; I would think a bit soothing at times! Much success with the book!

    betty

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    1. Betty- I haven't read Marley and Me, but I understand what you are both saying. I think this is a book that you will be happy you read. I agree that writing to Bach sounds like a good idea. :) ~L

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  12. Love SCBWI!!!!! Soooooo much. Really fun interview, Jess and Katherine. Loved. :) :) :)

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    1. Morgan- So glad you enjoyed the interview! :) ~L

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  13. I love that Katherine's daughter wanted to be in the book so she named a character after her! It's so sad about the real gorilla - but wonderful that it inspired such a delightful and touching book. Wishing Katherine much success!

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    1. Lexa- I thought it was cool to learn that Julia is named after her daughter. I really like how the book spotlights the way animals are treated by letting us get to know some of them and see they world through their eyes. :) ~L

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  14. Fascinating interview! Ideas come from all different places as Katherine has shown. Congratulations!

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    1. Donna- So glad you enjoyed the interview! :) ~L

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  15. Great interview, congrats to Katherine Applegate!

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    1. New Release Books- Thanks! :) ~L

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  16. Sounds like a very unique book! Congrats. Beautiful cover too.

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    1. Catherine- It is a unique book. I agree with you that the cover is very well done. :) ~L

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  17. I love the cover of that book. And I'm the same way--if I have headphones, I can write anywhere. If I'm somewhere where the scenery is distracting, I find myself staring at the scenery instead of writing.

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    1. Stephanie- I think it is awesome that you and Katherine can both write with headphones on and music playing. :) ~L

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  18. Great interview! And what a beautiful cover!

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    1. Kate- So glad you enjoyed it! :) ~L

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  19. THANK YOU! circus animals are treated horribly, I have never been to a circus and am dead against it. Wonderful wonderful book, and the cover..I can't...I LOVE :)

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    1. Beth Ellyn- I think the cover is wonderful too! The One and Only Ivan is a great way to get the word out to people about the way animals are treated in the circus and at some zoos. :) ~L

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  20. Like the cover. Great interview. Congrats on the release!

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    1. Nas- Isn't the cover great! Glad you enjoyed the interview! :) ~L

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  21. I wasn't much of a reader until I got older either and then I made up for it. Love the cover.

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    1. Mary- I love that you are doing a lot of reading now! :) ~L

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  22. Hello, Katherine! My daughter read The One and Only Ivan and enjoyed it very much.

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    1. The Armchair Squid- I am so happy to hear that your daughter loved The One and Only Ivan too! :) ~L

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  23. Oh my goodness. I love that cover!

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  24. Writing a story can take a long time, and it's always good to take the time to play around with it. I'm not surprised it took two or three years in that case then!

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    1. Olivia- I agree that it can take a long time to play around with an idea and write the story that needs to be told. :) ~L

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  25. Wonderful interview. I haven't read it yet, buy have heard many rave reviews on it.

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    1. Janet- It is a wonderful book and you will love it when you read it! :) ~L

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  26. This is an amazing interview! Katherine gives some great advice for budding writers, and The One and Only Ivan sounds like a must-read. We'll definitely be adding this one to our list.

    ~Mckenzie & Michele @ A Belle's Tales

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    1. McKenzie- So happy you enjoyed the interview. You should definitely read The One and Only Ivan- it is an amazing book. :) ~L

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  27. I'm looking forward to reading this one. Lovely to know more about Katherine, and that routine of listening to Bach is something I'd like to try since I listen to mostly instrumental music when I work, too. Best of luck with the upcoming novels!

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    1. Claudine- I know you will love The One and Only Ivan. I think the idea of listening to Bach sounds like a good one! :) ~L

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