Today for our May Book of the Month, we’re excited to present part 2 of 3 from our exclusive interview with Sucks to Be Me author Kimberly Pauley:
Oh, I’d be terrible at this! I’m so much better on paper when I can think it out. Um, maybe I’d just tell ‘em I’d sign it for them? Or I’d ask them if they like funny?
At Novel Novice, one of our main goals is encouraging teens to read. What would you say to reluctant teen readers to convince them to pick up a book (any book)? Why do you think reading is so important?
When a teen tells me that they don’t read, I tell them they just haven’t found the right book yet. I really believe that there is a book out there (and hopefully, a *lot* of books) for everyone. No matter what you are interested in or what your problems are or what kind of escape you need, there is a book out there for you. And new ones come out every day. Through reading, we can experience what life is like, what it should be like, and what we hope it will be like, as well as what we hope it will never be like. You can read to escape or you can read to embrace. And every book you read, no matter what it is about and whether or not it is fluffy or serious — every single book — enriches your life.
Tell us about an educational experience you had that changed your life.
I was able to attend Governor’s School when I was in high school. This was a summer program where you basically went away to a college campus and studied something for a week or two (I honestly can’t remember how long it was). There was stiff competition to get in and it was just amazing. It was a first taste of freedom and life beyond high school.
Many of our readers are young writers and teachers. Can you tell us about your writing process? (Do you use an outline? Do you know how it ends before you start?)
I do outline … now. Before I started outlining, I never finished a book. It’s not a very extensive outline and sometimes there’s only a couple of words to tell me what I want to do in that chapter, but it works for me. Some people write out really detailed things, but I find that restricts me too much. I also discover some things as I go along and have to make decisions on whether or not I want to explore those things or not. In fact, in Sucks to Be Me, George wasn’t really in the original outline. Amazing, right?
I do know basically how the book ends. Honestly, beginnings and ends are generally the easy parts. It’s all the stuff in the middle that’s hard.
The Young Adult genre is booming right now, when many others are faltering. Any idea why? Why did you decide to write in that genre?
There are a number of reasons. One, of course, is the economy. There have been news articles about it, but most seem to boil down to these thoughts: a) adults may skimp on buying books for themselves, but they don’t skimp on buying books for their kids, even in bad economic times; b) YA fiction is identifiable to people of all ages, since we’ve all been there. And the books tend to be less burdened by expectations in that they are freer in form and method in a lot of ways than adult fiction. YA authors can try new things, where a lot of adult fiction follows a more set format. I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve seen so many “adult” authors join the YA bandwagon.
I do firmly believe that the genre as a whole has some of the best writing going out there today.
I don’t know that I really made a conscious decision to write YA. So far, those are the stories I’ve had to tell. I’ve also had some short fiction for adults published in magazines, as well as poetry.