Out here, I can feel the dead in the trees…
Today we’re speaking with Kate A Boorman, author of WINTERKILL, a young adult alternate history thriller that releases September 9th, 2014. One author, four questions….. and go!
Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?
I always want this answer to be: I started writing when I was a child and just pursued a life long dream. I mean, I wrote a kickass mystery short story in grade six (just ask my elementary school—it won an award, I remember, and why wouldn’t it? It featured death by steam room!) and some extremely bad poetry and some short stories in high school, but the truth is, it didn’t occur to me that I could write fiction until very recently.
I’d been writing for hire for several years—qualitative research/analysis etc.—and I was an avid reader, but fiction always felt like it lay far beyond me—not so much beyond my abilities, but my purpose (ie. what would I have to say?). You know those people who have “write a bestseller” on their bucket list—or if not their bucket, their Dream Big list? I always thought those people were completely out to lunch. Like, yeah, I’ll write a book and also be an astronaut and a rockstar in my spare time. I think my decision to try writing fiction was born of a combination of (old) age emboldening me, and needing a creative outlet outside my life of momosity. It was sort of like: what’s the worst that could happen? I don’t have to tell anyone I’m writing.
Very quickly I realized I loved it (also? I am obstinate and the first book I wrote went nowhere and my failure made me more determined). When life threw a curveball a couple of years ago I realized writing was also a really safe place for me. I used NaNo 2011 to finish a different book. I went to a couple of conferences, took workshops on craft, read voraciously, and revised that book. When I felt like it was finally the book I’d hoped to write, I started querying. I received offers of rep, accepted rep, revised with agent, went out on sub, and my agent sold the book in about three weeks. And that book, obviously (and surreally) is my debut that releases this September.
What’s your debut book about?
WINTERKILL is about a young girl living in an isolated settlement whose dreams urge her out into the forbidden woods, where the enemy lies in wait. It’s about fear—how it motivates and inhibits us—and discovery, and choosing to believe you are worthy of love.
Here’s an unofficial blurb:
The woods outside Emmeline’s walls are deadly. Years ago, her people settled out there. Only a handful survived.
Emmeline knows she can’t go out there. She is already watched for Waywardness—the rule-breaking behavior that sent her grandmother to death. She should ignore those dreams that urge her to ask questions she shouldn’t.
But inside the walls is a marriage she doesn’t want, and a boy she can’t have.
And something out there calls to her.
What cool facts might readers not know about you?
Super cool: I have man-hands, which are “abnormally large hands on the end of rather stick-ish arms” (not the OED definition). The hands are very useful for playing piano (which I do) and opening jars (which I feign being unable to do because who likes opening jars?). The stick-ish arms would be useful for stabbing zombies through their torsos. Or so says my husband. I suppose I’d have to make my man-hands go rigid into something like spear-points to accomplish such a thing, but if I couldn’t get ahold of a stabby-stabby-poke-stick (which is what you’d need to fight zombies), then I’d be willing to try it. (Note: my book is not about zombies. Or man-hands.)
Less cool: I’m a terrible bike rider. Five words: pant leg in bicycle chain.
Why do Canadians use extra letters in their words and spell stuff funny? (colour, honour, cheque)
It’s an issue of National Security and I can only tell you if you pledge allegiance to these things: maple syrup, poutine and David Suzuki. On Canadian soil, of course.
|Kate Boorman is an independent artist and writer from the Canadian prairies. She was born in Nepal (where she was carried up the Himalayas in a basket) and she grew up in a small Albertan town (where she rode her bike to Girl Guides). She is fond of creepy things. Speaking of! Her YA fantasy WINTERKILL debuts September 9th, 2014 (Abrams/Amulet and Faber & Faber).