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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