Marcia Strykowski

May Author Spotlight

kathi dubleStopping in today for our May Author Spotlight is prolific author Kathleen Benner Duble. Let’s get right to her words of wisdom and learn more about her award-winning books. Please share a little about your books.  I write historical fiction for middle schoolers and young adults. I love finding interesting ways to bring history alive for students and parents alike.  For me the writing is less about the time period and more about a little known tidbit from some period that I have stumbled across.  So for instance, when I discovered that my great (nine times back grandmother) was accused of witchcraft at age 10 and put in the Salem Town Prison in 1692, I knew this was a perfect way to write about the Salem Witch Trials. For my newest book,  I heard the story of Madame Tussaud, the wax-worker, when visiting her museum. l learned how she had worked with the King’s sister and was imprisoned when the Revolution came about. And when I read more, I discovered that the way she had kept herself from being guillotined was to agree to make wax heads of those who were actually beheaded. Then, I knew I had a story and a way to introduce students to the turmoil of the French Revolution.

May bk1How has where you’ve lived or traveled influenced your work? Traveling is a big part of my life and I’ve managed to collect some amazing stories during my adventures. I have been to Colorado and seen the training grounds of the soldier skiers I wrote about in Phantoms in the Snow. I was even shocked to find out that for years, I had known a real live Phantom and that he was a friend of mine from our summer home in the mountains. I have sailed in a lot of places, including Croatia and Sicily and this certainly helped me when writing about the last and fateful voyage of the explorer Henry Hudson in my book Quest.  And of course, I HAD to go to Paris when working on Madame Tussaud. I visited the Palais-Royal where my main character is caught stealing and I walked the grounds of the beautiful palace, Versailles. Nothing like a warm croissant to aid in anyone’s writing efforts!

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Could you briefly tell us your writing process?  Because I am at my most creative in the morning, I am in my office by 8:30 every day and I write until about 2:30-3:00. In the afternoons, I work on marketing or returning emails or running all those wonderful little trips we call errands and exercising! If I am not writing, I am doing school visits. And when I really get stuck on one of my writing projects and I have folded laundry and done dishes and made beds and am still stuck, I go to the movies! Oh, and I always write in my pj’s! – Two of the perks of being an at-home author!

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What advice would you give to new authors hoping to become published? On my website, I have a list of twenty tips for aspiring writers. But if I was going to choose just one, I would say that you have to believe in yourself – no matter what happens.  In this field, you will get many rejections. It’s part of the job. You have to be able to lift yourself up from these disappointments and move on. You will also receive a lot of criticism on your work. You have to be able to see criticism as a positive – a way for you to grow and learn and improve as a writer. Hearing what’s good about my work makes me feel great and is nice, but it’s the criticism that makes me a better writer. So in my opinion, the most important factor and key elements to being a successful writer is determination and belief in yourself.

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Favorite book = For Kids – Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit   For Adults – Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
Favorite movie = It’s a Wonderful Life followed closely by Dead Poets Society and Out of Africa
Favorite vacation = Any place I get to go with my husband and my girls.  I treasure those times.  But my favorite places I’ve visited so far have to be Africa and Thailand.
Favorite hobby = Reading is Number One – always.  But I also like to needlepoint.  I am learning Italian.  And I am trying (poorly) to play the piano.
Favorite color = Green, green, green!

pilot_lrgIf you weren’t a children’s book author, what career(s) would you like to try?  A rock star!  Just kidding.  But it would still have involved music as I would have liked to have been a great violinist or cellist.  I love the symphony, especially the strings.

Thanks for your interesting answers, Kathi!


  1. Bette Norton

    It was interesting to meet Kathleen Benner Duble! Historical fiction is near and dear to my heart. One of my favorite kind of reads! Her books look amazing! Thank you again for yet another great Author’s Spotlight post!


  2. Historical fiction was probably my favorite thing to read when I was in school; I’m sure I would have loved these!


  3. Interesting to learn about Kathleen’s research and how it sparked her story ideas.


    • I agree, her research sounds fascinating. Thanks for stopping by, Yvonne!


  4. Ashley

    Interesting!! I’ll have to look up these books. Some of the covers look awesome!


  5. Bobbi Miller

    These books look FANTASTIC!! I will surely hunt some of these down. I also appreciate her research process. What a great interview, Marcia!


  6. Great interview and her answers provided much insight into being an author. I also visited Kathleen’s web page and found her writing tips to be priceless.


    • Oh, great, Greg! So glad you found her tips valuable. Thanks for letting us know.


  7. Sixty + years ago, my wonderful godmother sent me a copy of Mary Queen of Scots by Jean Plaidy. I was terribly upset because I had asked for the latest Famous Five book by Enid Blyton, but as I had nothing else to read I decided to give it a go. I loved it and have enjoyed historical fiction ever since.
    I’ve not read anything by Kathleen Benner Duble, but I would certainly like to. I really enjoyed the interview.


    • Thanks for sharing your special memory. Wonderful how she gave you the ‘wrong’ book, which turned out to be the right book, after all. 🙂


  8. Thanks for the great interview with Kathleen. I now have new historical books to add to my to-be-read list! 🙂


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