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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

INTERVIEW: Kitty Keswick

Aurora is pleased to have Kitty Keswick, the co-president of the Class of 2k10, a group of debut MG and YA authors. Kitty's debut novel, Freaksville, will launch January 17 from Leap Books. The second book in the series, Furry and Freaked, is scheduled to be released later this year.

Freaksville is told through sixteen-year-old Kasey Maxwell's blog. Here's a little about the book and series (and if you're interested, our review of it is here):

High school is hard enough when you’re normal: peer pressure, book reports, yearning to be in the in-crowd, and the enormous zit that has a life of its own. Having a family whose skeletons in the closet lean toward the paranormal is not a topper on anyone’s list. Sophomore Kasey Maxwell is busy juggling typical teen angst. Add visions, ghosts, and hairy four-legged monsters into the mix and you get FREAKSVILLE. It’s a wonder Kasey has survived.

Every woman in the Maxwell family has the gift of sight. A talent sixteen-year-old Kasey would gladly give up. All she wants is a normal life. Shopping and talking about boys with her best friend and long-time sidekick Gillie Godshall consume her days. Until Kasey has a vision about Josh Johnstone, the foreign exchange student from England. The vision leads her into new waters, a lead in a play, a haunted theater…and into the arms of the Josh. Yet both Kasey and Josh have secrets lurking in dark corners. Can Kasey’s new romance survive FREAKSVILLE?

It's not surprising Kitty has a character from England in her debut novel. She's a self-confessed Anglophile (lover of all things British) and has been since she fell head over heels in love with Robin Hood at the age of four.

"Problem was," she said, "he was a cartoon fox. Minor detail, right?"

Kitty has written since she was a kid, but she's had a few detours along the road to publishing. "Rent will do that," she explained. But, she choose to write for kids and teens for one very simple reason.

"I never grew up," she told me. "Peter Pan doesn't have anything on me." She then added, "My voice fits the YA genre, and I find the characters have more energy and are fun to write."

"If you weren't a writer, what would you be?" I wondered.

"Queen?" she said. "Errr, okay, maybe not royalty, but it would be kinda cool. I think I’d want to be a set designer. If we are talking dream job, I’d like to work on location for fantasy movies. Like the LOTR or something along those lines. One of the things I like best about writing is creating the worlds (I love settings almost as much as conflict), so to be able to that with a visual canvas would be pretty darn cool."

Kitty is a fan of series, not only in her own writing, but also is what she reads. She's currently reading Tempted, the sixth book in the House of Night series by PC and Kristen Cast as well as Fade Out from the Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine. "Great series," she said.

Kitty feels one of the most important things a writer can do is "read, write, read. Then read." The second most important is be prepared for rejections.

"Everyone gets them and you will too," she declared. "Thicken your skin and keep at it. The publishing game is all about persistence."

She also shared that her high school journalism teacher, Ms. Kingston, told her something that has stuck with her.

"She wrote in my yearbook: 'Welcome to the world of publishing. If you do anything that stands out, people will either love it or hate it."

Normally, Kitty uses a computer for her writing, but does confess to jotting ideas down on… well, anything.

"I jot things down on napkins, scrap paper, notebooks, gum wrappers, magazines, sticky notes, whatever I have that will hold ink. If an idea strikes, I’ve been known to scribble on just about anything. I once wrote dialogue on the tub surround so I wouldn’t forget it. I had conditioner in my hair and—well, ideas come at the most inopportune time sometimes. TMI? Yeah, TMI."

On a more personal note, I asked Kitty if she had any pets.

"Does the spider in the corner of my room count?" she asked in return. "Darn thing’s spun its own condo, and I’m too chicken to swat at it with the broom. I also have two cats. One likes to keep my lap warm while I type."

Along with having her cat in her lap while she types, she also snacks on Peanut M&M's. "They are easy to eat and don't require any thought," she explained.

She realized that, in her writing, she uses the word gingerly a lot and has to watch herself. And, talking about words, I asked her what her least favorite word was.

"No," she said promptly. "Oh, you mean in writing??? One that’s long or hard to spell."

Finally, I asked, "Do you have any book tours or 'Meet the Author' events coming up soon that your readers can meet you at?"

"Check me out on various blogs during Traveling to Teens this January, and the Class of 2K10 has various events throughout the year. One of our big events will be attending BEA in May. You can look for me there along with co-president Judith Graves and also Bonnie Doerr, both fellow Leap authors."

Warning: Dating a werewolf can be dangerous to your...heart.

Every woman in the Maxwell family has the gift of sight. A talent sixteen-year-old Kasey would gladly give up. Until Kasey has a vision about Josh Johnstone, the foreign exchange student from England. The vision leads her into deep waters...a lead in a play and into the arms of Josh. But Josh, too, has a secret. Something that could put them all in danger. To solve a mystery of a supernatural haunting, they must uncover the secrets of the haunted theater when they are trapped on the night of the full moon.


  1. Fun interview, great cover and the book sounds fun! Welcome to LASR's new YA blog!

  2. Great interview!! Nice to meet you Kitty. You'd love my best friend Rosemary Barraco...she's from England and a writer:)

    Sylvie Kaye

  3. Checked out your book on amazon. Do you know if it will be going into Kindle?