GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with K.A. Barson, Author of 45 POUNDS (MORE OR LESS)

Today we’re interviewing Lucky13 author K.A. Barson, whose young adult debut novel 45 POUNDS (MORE OR LESS) hits the shelves today! Here’s a bit about the book:

ImageHere are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:
She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks
and wants Ann to be the bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind:
Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less)
in two and a half months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, endless wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen–and some surprises about her not-so-perfect mother. 
And don’t forget the last part of the equation: It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin–no matter how you add it up!  

What inspired you to write 45 Pounds (More of Less)?

I wanted to write a story about a real girl—one who is overweight and has family issues, but who suffers more internally than externally. Some of it is based on how I felt as a teen, and some of it comes from teens I’ve been around since then.

Which comes first for you:  character or plot?

Character. Always character. Once I know what my character wants and what she’s going to do to get it, then I start to figure out plot.

You earned your MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. How has VCFA shaped your writing?

VCFA transformed my writing! First, the program taught me how to make writing a priority because I had to for the two years I was in the program. It also taught me about craft. That’s huge, obviously. Students learn craft by reading craft books, studying published work in the field, and by dissecting each other’s work. That’s not even counting the fabulous lectures, from faculty, visiting writers, and students. Most of all, I’m discovering that they taught me how to take criticism and not get defensive about it.

Do you have any quirky writing habits?  Something you absolutely need or a special place where you have to write?

I have to write alone, and it has to be quiet. With a husband, four kids + significant others, four dogs, and two grandkids, that’s sometimes easier said than done.  I also need snacks. Sometimes crunchy, sometimes smooth, for when I’m pondering.

 What is the most challenging part of the debut process?  The best or most unexpected?

The most challenging part is the waiting. The best and most unexpected part is all the little celebrations that creep up in the waiting—receiving editorial letters, meeting editorial deadlines, seeing the cover for the first time, revealing the cover, getting ARCs, reading blurbs and trade reviews. There’s always something happening.

There’s a scene in 45 Pounds (More or Less) where everyone dances Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance.   I really have to know…can you do the Thriller dance? 

I haven’t danced to Thriller since high school, which was a loooong time ago. I watched videos a lot while writing those scenes though.

And finally, as this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d like to know two or three books that inspired you when you were a kid?

Judy Blume’s Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret and Forever. I also loved V.C. Andrew’s Flowers in the Attic series and anything by Stephen King.

Kelly, thanks so much for stopping by!  Congrats on your debut!  I can’t wait to get my hands on this book!!

To celebrate the release of 45 POUNDS (More or Less) Kelly is hosting a DANCE PARTY ON TUMBLR!! EVERYONE is invited to participate!!  Just post pics and videos of hideous prom or bridesmaids dresses OR of dancing to Thriller!  Better yet, dancing while wearing that dress!!  There will be a book giveaway too!!  How cool is that?

K.A. Barson.jpg
About the author:
K.A. Barson earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She and her husband live in Jackson, Michigan, surrounded by kids, grandkids, unruly dogs, and too many pairs of shoes.
Here’s where you can buy 45 POUNDS (More or Less):
Robin Constantine is a born and bred Jersey girl who moved down South so she could wear flip-flops year round. She spends her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, well, eventually but not without a lot of peril, angst and the occasional kissing scene. Her YA debut, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING, will be released in 2014 by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
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2 thoughts on “GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with K.A. Barson, Author of 45 POUNDS (MORE OR LESS)

  1. Thanks, Robin, for such a thoughtful interview. It was fun! Go, OneFourKidLit! 2014 is just around the corner!

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