Thursday, May 10, 2018

Interview with YA author Kelly Wittmann

Author Kelly Wittmann is here today and we’re talking about her new contemporary young adult novel, An Authentic Experience.

Kelly Wittmann is an author and educational writer who lives in Chicago. She has written or co-written 19 books. She loves reading history, doing cardio and yoga, checking out new restaurants, and watching weird, old stuff on Youtube.

Please tell us about your current release.
An Authentic Experience is about Silver, a fifteen-year-old girl whose upbringing has been unconventional in some ways, but traditional in others. When she is the victim of a traumatic experience, how will these two opposing forces influence her response? How will her relationships with her parents, her best friend, and her boyfriend be changed? I wanted to write a strong protagonist, but not to the point that she wasn't realistic. We all feel vulnerable at times.

What inspired you to write this book?
Well, the part about Silver's mother being diagnosed with a benign brain tumor came from my own experience of having one (I'm fine now). Something like that doesn't just affect you, it affects your whole family, and I wanted to explore that in this novel.

Excerpt from An Authentic Experience (from Chapter One):

Supposedly it’s against the body clock of a teenager to get up early in the morning, but Silver loved to rise before the sun to work with her grandfather at the family business, Tomasino’s Bakery. On these quiet mornings, they would roll out the dough together and bake the pastries that went on sale at 7:00 AM, under the supervision of Pope Francis, whose portrait hung on the wall.
“Gramps, is it illegal for me to work here?”
“Of course not; don’t be ridiculous.”
“I’m only fifteen.”
“Only fifteen!” he scoffed. “You know whatIwas doing when I was fifteen?”
“What?” said Silver, sprinkling some flour on the dough.
“Well… The same thing you’re doing right now. It wasn’t exactly breaking rocks with a pick ax, but my point is there’s nothing wrong with a little hard work. I pay you, don’t I?”
“And it’s not illegal, as long as you’re family. I wouldn’t do that.” There were several other people working with them in the big kitchen in back of the store, and he turned to one of them and said, “Esther, we gotta get those cronuts going for that catering job.”
“I know,” the woman said, waving a hand in the air. “It’s all under control.”
“What is it with the cronuts?” he said as he turned back to Silver. “I talked to a guy I know in New York who’s in the business a couple months ago and he said ‘Get ready for the cronuts. They’re coming your way.’ You know, I talk to these bakers in New York and it never fails, they can always tell me what the next trend is going to be. Used to always take almost exactly two years to get to Milwaukee. Always. But then came the internet and now everyone knows what people are eating in New York. So now it’s more like two months until it gets here!” Once upon a time, Gramps had resisted the internet with all his might, but now he loved it. He said it made doing business so much easier.
Silver started cutting up her dough with a triangular-shaped metal cutter. “Gramps, wouldn’t it be funny if we made up a trend? We could invent something totally ridiculous and tell our customers it was from New York and was the new, big thing.”
“Sil, you’re a little devil, like your mother.”
“But wouldn’t it be funny? Let’s do it!”
“I’ll think about it.”
“We could make it gross or shocking.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
My work in progress is about a high-school-age guy who sees the world through different eyes when he becomes temporarily disabled.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I've always considered myself a writer, but I guess first considered myself a professional writer when my first two books arrived in the mail. Opening that box and holding them in my hands was an amazing feeling!

Do you write full-time?
No, not even close. Right now, I'm trying to promote this book, and that takes up a lot of my time. I no longer guilt myself about how much I do or don't write. I love writing, but there are other things in life that I love, too. Like reading, reading, and reading.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmm... Well, I write really detailed character profiles before I start writing the book. I like to know my characters inside and out before I begin. That way, when I do begin, it flows very smoothly... most of the time.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Debbie Harry. Or a writer.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I want to thank them for taking an interest in my book and in what I do. Follow me on Twitter and I'll follow you back! Read my book and tell me what you think!


1 comment:

Wear This Place! said...

Thanks so much for having me, Lisa!