“I can’t stand when a writing teacher doesn’t look a little deeper than to say something that basically means, ‘I don’t like your style or your subject matter.'”
I met Stasia Kehoe at the Boston Teen Author Festival where we instantly bonded over her name (my daughter, Anastasia, prefers to be called, “Stasia”) and by the inclusion of handicapped-sibling characters/issues in our novels. Here’s what she has to say:
1. What’s the surprising inspiration behind one (your choice) of the characters or stories you’ve created?
It’s amazing how characters sometimes appear out of the blue while you’re writing. In THE SOUND OF LETTING GO, Daisy’s best friend, Justine, seemed to come from nowhere with her conflicted sense of rebel and good girl, and the struggle she and her brassy mother have to rebuild their lives after her dad leaves. It’s not so much an inspiration as a “Wow, where did that come from?” sensation that never ceases to surprise me. It’s one of the great joys of writing fiction.
2. If you could rescue one obscure book and make it more widely known to the world, which book would you choose and why?
WHEN HITLER STOLE PINK RABBIT by Judith Kerr. It is an amazing study of a nine-year-old girl swept into the horrors of World War II. Anna doesn’t realize the danger she’s in or the larger threats her family is facing, but she must learn new languages in new countries, and continually reinvent herself as her parents struggle to carve out some kind of future.
3. You can ask one question to any author, living or dead. What would you ask and why?
I would ask Agatha Christie to demonstrate her technique of speaking aloud dialogue for her characters because I am frequently awed by the brightness, fun, and volume of her work.
4. What’s the best (or your favorite) feedback you’ve received from a reader?
I recently got an email from a woman who read THE SOUND OF LETTING GO who told me she was so grateful someone had captured the emotional experience of having a handicapped sibling leave the home, as that had been her childhood experience, too. I was so glad she thought I’d got it right!
5. What’s the worst writing advice you’ve received from a teacher?
Wow, that’s a tough question. I suppose the worst thing a teacher ever said to me was “I don’t get it.” I can’t stand when a writing teacher doesn’t look a little deeper than to say something that basically means, “I don’t like your style or your subject matter.” At least, that’s my interpretation.
For more information about Stasia Kehoe and her books:
Visit her online at: www.stasiawardkehoe.com
Join her on Twitter: @swkehoe