Monday, July 11, 2011

Ask a Writer! Interview: Cynthia Kieber King

             CW: How did you get started writing children’s books? CKK: I think it must have started when I was a kid and fell in love with books – I was what they used to call a bookworm, reading books whenever and wherever I could! Those books I loved are still important to me, and when I had my son I wanted to share them with him.  I realized I wanted to be one of those authors – what could be better than to write a book that makes a kid excited about books and reading?  So I took some classes at our local community college on writing for children and loved every minute of them.  I actually wrote the rough outline of what would become Habitat Spy during one of those classes!  I subsequently joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and began learning what I could from other authors, agents, and editors, either through books or from attending SCBWI conferences and visiting children’s writing websites.  The world of children’s books is inhabited by fabulous people willing to share what they know.   

CW: Since this is your first children’s book, what was the road to publication like?  CKK: I think many side roads of experience intersected for me to be able to create Habitat Spy.  But the actual path between my first rough poem and the final published book was fairly straightforward, though lengthy, involving two submissions of two quite different versions to Sylvan Dell.  I think it was important to believe in my idea and persist with the submission process.
CW: What is your background? CWW: I have degrees in zoology and biological oceanography; my first career was in environmental science.  But all during my formal education and first career I remained an avid reader and creative writer.

 CW: What is the inspiration behind this book? CKK: I live in a beautiful rural area in Central New York State, and a number of years ago the area behind my backyard was full of brambles, and far beyond the brambles the land rose into a wooded hill.  I would wonder what those woods looked like, but I couldn’t get to them - those brambles were too extensive and painful!  I imagined what I would see if I could get from the meadow to those woods.  And then I wondered what I would see if I kept walking across the United States to the Pacific Ocean.  What a trip that would be – so many habitats full of incredible plants and animals!  Since I couldn’t make that walk in real life, I made that trip come to life on paper, and that imagining turned into Habitat Spy.

CW: What do you have coming out after this? CKK: I hope to have a chapter book and a young adult novel; both are in final stages of revision.  And I have several ideas for another science picture book…  

Thanks so much Cynthia! 

Cynthia and I will be at River Read Books River Read Books August 16th at 6:30. Hope to see you there! 

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