I hope you’re doing well!
Following on from my review of The Wonder of Us, today’s post is an exciting one. If you haven’t read my book review yet you can do so here: www.ashleighbekkah.wordpress.com/2018/08/01/book-review-the-wonder-of-us-kim-culbertson
I was lucky enough to have been given the oppourtunity to interview the author Kim Culbertson. I would like to thank Walker YA Books, Kristen in particular for giving me this oppourtunity. I also want to thank Kim for being kind enough to say yes and for answering my questions so brilliantly!
I hope you enjoy this post,
1. Who is your favourite character in The Wonder of Us and why?
I love both of these girls so much – getting to know them was such an incredible part of writing the novel. They both have their own stories and feelings and dreams and are trying to navigate them alongside a friendship – not an easy task! But I have to say, my favorite character might be Neel – mostly because he was so much fun to write. And he “moves surprisingly fast for a guy in loafers” ☺
2. Have you been to any of the countries Riya and Abby visit during their tour?
I have been to Switzerland (my husband’s mother is from there) many times and I’ve been to Iceland, Scotland, England and Italy – but not Germany. Not yet. I was lucky because my editor had been to Berlin and I had a former student who enlisted help from her friend who was living there at the time I was writing the book.
3. What inspired you to choose these countries?
I love traveling in Europe – I’ve probably traveled more there than in my own United States. I think everyone is drawn to a certain landscape and I am drawn to Switzerland’s mountains and old European cities. Maybe I read too many fairytales as a child or something, but I love all the old history paired with the modern elements. I grew up in California and we have or own history of course, but I feel like we think the 1970s is old! ☺
4. Parts of The Wonder of Us focus on Abby’s love for history. My favourite part of history to research is The Second World War, what is yours?
We are on the same wavelength! I am fascinated with the Second World War too and deeply interested in novels set during that time – two of my favorites are Ruta Sepetys’s Salt to the Sea and Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life.
5. If The Wonder of Us was made into a film, what actor/actress would you most like to play a specific character in the book and why?
Some of my favorite film performances are by an actor I’ve never quite registered before, but then just bursts into a performance – Abigail Breslin comes to mind in Little Miss Sunshine. I remember thinking – she’s amazing, who is this kid? At the time, my husband reminded me that she had been in Signs but this was the first time she just popped for me. I would most like it if both of the actors playing Riya and Abby in The Wonder of Us fell into this category; maybe they’d done some smaller parts, maybe some theatre and then suddenly, bam – they create two wholly original and interesting versions of Abby and Riya. Maybe that’s a weird answer, but I love it when a film sparkles with a cast of unknowns. Of course, I would also want Mark Ruffalo to play Abby’s dad. Because he’s Mark Ruffalo. I would want him to be one of the characters in any of my books.
6. What draws you to the YA genre?
This might be the question I get asked the most and it’s my favorite question because I believe YA literature taps into that shimmery, challenging time in our lives when we hover in the gap between being a child and being an adult. There is something elastic and expansive and frightening and scarring and beautifully romantic about this time period – we go through so many firsts, so many doubts, so many dreams. Of course as adults we continue to change and make important decisions that recalibrate our lives; however, during our teen years, we are new to this kind of independence and tension and I think it makes for great literature.
7. Are there any authors you take inspiration from when writing?
My inspiration comes from the collective group of writers around me who continue to do this work even though it can be hard and frustrating. In my writing groups, in the classes I teach with young writers, in the festivals I attend with other YA writers, I continue to feel buoyed by their passion and commitment to stories. They inspire me by continuing to insist that a creative life matters, that creating art matters, and that regardless of whether or not you’re published or your books sell well or people love or hate your work – the very act of creating something matters in the world.
8. What is your all time favourite book to read?
Any book that makes me laugh out loud.
9. If you could meet any famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’m always wary about meeting famous people because I want to keep my version of them that I glean from their work. However, if I had to choose, I would love to meet Michelle Obama because I admire her so much as a woman, mother, wife, activist, intellectual and she seems like she would be easy and fun to talk with. But she is so very cool that there is a high chance I would act like a complete idiot around her. Of course, she’s Michelle Obama, so she would be undoubtedly gracious and kind about that.
10.What is your favourite snack to eat when writing?
Does espresso count as a snack? Always espresso in some form (latte, flat white, iced with milk) and if I want a treat I pair it with chocolate covered almonds.
Question to readers of this post: Where is one place in Europe that you’d like to visit the most and why? Let me know in the comments below. 😊
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