A Fourth Grader Interviews Kirby Larson

hattie ever after

I am honored to be the first stop on the Hattie Ever After blog tour. I can’t wait to go to the bookstore during lunch on February 12th to pick up Hattie Ever After. Interviewing Kirby made me way too nervous, so I asked a fourth grader if they’d be interested in interviewing Newbery Honor winning author Kirby Larson. Khadijah, a girl with a passion for all things books, smiled and nodded.

to kirby

Hi! My name is Khadijah. I’m so exited to ask you a few questoins!!!!!!

Here’s a little bit about myself: I have a big family that gives me headaches but is loving. I love reading, art, math, and some more reading. Since I love reading Mr. Sharp gave me Hattie Big Sky. When I first started reading Hattie Big Sky I wasn’t at all intrested in it.(sorry) I didn’t give up on it and as I got further into the book and finished it. I loved it!!!!!!

to khadijah

Hi, Khadijah,

It’s so nice now to have a face to connect with your name (we Skyped with Kirby on Wednesday)! And I can really relate to having a big family: I am the oldest of four children. I have two brothers and one sister and mostly I loved having a big family (counting Mom and Dad, we always had enough people for a pick up baseball game!). But there were downsides, too, like when my baby brother colored all over my copy of Alice in Wonderland, the only book I owned. Sigh.

Don’t feel bad about not being crazy about Hattie’s story at first — not all books speak to all readers. However, I think it is terrific that you kept with it and, of course, I am so happy that you ended up enjoying the book.

interview

1. Was it hard for you to let Mattie die?

My daughter still has not forgiven me for this! In my defense, I want to say I never planned for Mattie to die. I did, however, think that someone was going to die during the influenza epidemic because so many people really did die then. I had actually picked another character but when I began to write that scene, I could feel myself in Perilee’s house, looking around the room at everyone and I got this sad and certain feeling that it was Mattie that wouldn’t survive. I cried and cried when I wrote that scene.

2. What made you want to be an author? How did you feel about your accomplishment (books), happy, disapointment, okay, excited?

Though I always loved reading and writing stories, I never had any idea an ordinary person like me could be a writer. It wasn’t until I was a mom with two little kids that I realized that could be an option. It was reading with them that pushed me to want to write.

I feel very proud every time I finish a first draft. Many people talk about wanting to write, but it takes a lot of discipline and determination to actually do it! When I’m revising (I revised Hattie Big Sky 15 times!), I am sometimes frustrated and sometimes thrilled — it’s a bit like riding a roller coaster. Hearing from readers makes me very happy; hearing negative comments about my stories makes me disappointed and sad. Mostly, though, writing is a positive experience for me! I want to do it until I’m a really, really old lady.

3. Do you have any tips that you used while you were writing, that helped you?

I turn off my email when I’m writing so I don’t get distracted. And I don’t worry if I’m not writing scenes in the exact order that they’ll end up in the book. I take walks (with Winston the Wonder Dog!) twice a day to keep my mind clear and to think over problems. And I write nearly every single day. It’s my job after all!

4. Do you have any book recs?

I have a million! I gave you a few during our Skype visit (The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook, and Minnie McClary Speaks Her Mind) but here are a few more: I’m crazy about Barbara O’Connor’s books, especially How to Steal a Dog, and On the Road to Mr. Mineo’s; I loved Rodman Philbrick’s The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg; and, though I am a huge fan of Tom Angleberger’s Origami Yoda books, my favorite of his is Horton Halfpott. I’m a big Karen Cushman fan, especially Matilda Bone; and I read everything my good friend Dave Patneaude writes.

5. Here’s one more from my friend Jessica: Hi my name is Jessica. I`m a HUGE fan of your books (me too! -Khadijah)

I`ve read Hattie Big Sky. Here is my question: what was your expression when you got the Newbery Honor for Hattie Big Sky?

Hi, Jessica! Nice to meet you. I’m so happy you like my books, and I’m happy to answer your question: My expression was disbelief! I actually thought someone might be playing a practical joke on me because it was too hard to believe that an ordinary person like me could win such a wonderful award.

closing

P. S. Mr. Sharp said that Hattie was going to die in the sequel and scared me and my friend, Jessica to death. Thankfully he later admitted it as a joke.

That Mr. Sharp! You have to watch him every minute. He reminds me very much of my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Craig, who made a world of difference in the way I thought of myself. He had a lot of confidence in me and, after awhile, I began to feel more confident myself!

Thank you for such thoughtful and interesting questions. I’m so pleased we had this chance to “chat.”

Warmly,

Kirby Larson

khadijah reading more kirby

Khadijah is frantically trying to finish all of Kirby Larson’s novels before Hattie Ever After comes out on Tuesday.

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2 thoughts on “A Fourth Grader Interviews Kirby Larson

  1. What a great post Khadijah! You asked Kirby Larson some very good questions. I read both of these books very recently and loved them both. I cried and cried when Mattie died. I also learned a lot about homesteading and the time period from her books. Good luck with your goal to finish all of her books by Tuesday.

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