May Author Spotlight
Stopping 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.
How 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!
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!
What advice would you give to new authors hoping to become published? On my website www.kathleenduble.com, 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.