Kathleen Benner Duble grew up surrounded by very talented individuals. Her first book, Bridging Beyond, a young adult novel, about her grandmother, came out in May of 2002 and was an IRA Notable Honor Book. Pilot Mom, about her sister, came out in May of 2003 from Charlesbridge Publishing. Her third book, The Sacrifice, a story about an ancestor discovered by her father, was released in October of 2005 by Margaret K. McElderry. This middle grade novel was a Junior Library Guild Selection, received a starred review from Booklist, was a 2005/2006 Book Sense Pick, a Jefferson Cup Noteworthy book, and an ALA BBYA nominee and was on nine state reading award lists. For more info, visit her website.
Let the conversation begin!
What initially drew you to writing?
In the third grade, I wrote this terrible story. But my teacher liked it and told me that I should consider being a writer. That was all I needed to hear. From then on, that was what I wanted to do.
What was your favorite book to write?
I loved writing THE SACRIFICE. Mainly because it was about my great(x9) grandmother but even more so because it was so fun to imagine what it would have felt like to be accused of witchcraft at the age of ten.
Who is your favorite author?
Natalie Babbit is my favorite children’s author. (I love that image in Tuck Everlasting of the Ferris wheel hanging mid-air and the way she compares that to a hot August day.) My favorite adult author is Wallace Stegner and the book Crossing to Safety.
Where do you get your ideas?
All my ideas come from my family. I steal from them all the time. No one in my family is safe. So far I have stolen stories from my great-grandmother, my sister, my grandmother, my husband, my dad and my daughters.
Tell us what you’re working on.
I have just finished a book about Madame Tussaud. Not many people know but she was accused of being a royalist during the French Revolution and was slated to go to the guillotine. To save herself, she agreed to make wax models of the royalty they beheaded. Very freaky!
What advice would you give young writers?
The most important thing young writers need to do is read! Read all the time. And remind your parents if they complain about you not doing your chores but reading instead that you are working!
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Look for the good. My grandmother told me that. And it applies to life as well as writing. You can always see the mistakes you’ve made in your work, but can you see how you’ve improved?
When are you the most productive?
I am a morning gal for writing, but an evening gal for socializing.
Are your characters completely fictional?
Real people enter into everyone’s fictionalized characters. You can’t help it and most of the time, you don’t even know you are doing it. There is a little piece of everyone I know in everyone I create.
What book was the easiest to write? Hardest?
Easiest: The Story of the Samson. I wrote that book in a day, although I did research for a lot longer than that. Hardest: Quest. Telling a story from four people’s points of view is both challenging and rewarding.
My dream vacation is to go someplace I’ve never been before, someplace exotic like India or Bhutan. But what really makes it a dream vacation is that both my girls and my husband would be there, too. So even if I never make it to an exotic country, I can always have a dream vacation if my family is with me.