Thursday, October 7, 2010

Kari's Queries, part 4

Where did you go to college and why did you go there?

I went to school at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, and I earned a BA in English with an emphasis in Literature.

Honestly, I chose Jewell because I visited and fell in love with the campus. It was beautiful, it was small enough that I didn’t feel like a little worm on a big hook, and they had a good English program.

I actually chose my degree track with an eye to being a writer someday. I chose the literature emphasis so that I could learn how to read and to break down what I was reading into its key components. If I could learn how all the pieces fit together, I knew I could build my own.

Who inspired you to write your books or become an author?

Oh now see, ya’ll are just getting tricky now. You tried to ask me this a couple weeks ago, and I kinda dodged the answer. Tricksy hobbitses.

Hm… I don’t know that I can lay my original urge to write at the feet of any one person. Especially when I was young, the greatest thing anyone did for me was simply NOT tell me to stop.

I suppose, though, as I got older, my husband was one to truly encourage me. If I said I wanted to be published, he took it as fact and never let me forget what I was striving for. No matter how dejected I got, or how neurotic, he was there to keep me moving.

And, I will admit, that the author Jim Butcher was also an inspiration, and for a totally ridiculous reason. Seriously, you guys are gonna laugh at me.

I picked up one of the Dresden Files books, way back when I was first starting to be a fan, and I read the author bio. And it said that he lived in Independence, Missouri. And I was suddenly like, “Holy crap, this guy lives like fifteen minutes from me!”

For some reason, it was like a light going on in my brain. I thought, if HE can do this, if he can get published and he lives right here in Missouri not spitting distance from my house, then I can do it too. The mystique was suddenly removed, and it all became very possible for me.

(side note: I have since become very good friends with Jim's sister, who is a lovely person, and despite living so close together, we don't get to hang out nearly enough)

What was it like knowing your work was going to be published?

Well, I almost wrecked my car. True story.

When I got the call from The Agent, telling me that we’d sold the JJD series, I was driving home from the dentist of all places, and my 6-year-old is watching me from the back seat, very worried, saying “Mommy, maybe you need to calm down…”

Even though it was what I had been working for all along, it was still fairly surreal. I think part of me thought it was a really elaborate practical joke until about the second advance check cleared the bank. (it would have gone down as the MOST expensive practical joke ever, btw)

And even now, a little part of me still can’t believe that people are reading my “little story”. People I don’t know, have never met, have never even heard of. They’re reading words that I wrote, learning to love characters I invented.

Surreal is the best word I have for it.

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