Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Meet Author Kimberly Pauley!

My guest today is Kimberly Pauley, a writer living in the Chicago suburb of Grayslake. Kimberly is the author of Sucks to Be Me: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire (maybe) (Mirrorstone / 2008), which was included in 2009 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and ranked #5 on the Fall 2008 Kid’s Indie Next List – “Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers.”

NPR correspondent Margot Adler recently praised Sucks to be Me in an article titled “For Love Of Do-Good Vampires: A Bloody Book List”.

The sequel – Still Sucks to Be Me – is scheduled for publication in May 2010. Kimberly has also written for a number of online and print publications, and is the founder and owner of Young Adult Books Central, one of the leading YA (& Kids!) literature sites on the Internet.

To read more about Kimberly and her books, visit her web site at .

Welcome to It Happened in Chicago, Kimberly!
Q: Please tell us a little about your ties to Chicago.

KIMBERLY: Well, we moved to the area just three years ago, but my husband had been working in the area for at least the last 10 years. He traveled here all the time and when it got to the point he was traveling every week...well, we decided it was time to move!

We now live in Prairie Crossing, a conservation community filled with amazing, wonderfully friendly people.

Q: How old were you when you first realized that you wanted to be a writer?

KIMBERLY: Oh, geez. I don’t know if I ever had the Eureka! moment, but really, as far back as I can remember. I always loved books.

Q: Please describe one of your earliest works (go back as far as you can remember). Who or what inspired you to create it?

KIMBERLY: My older sister actually sent me my first “book” last year. I’d sent it to her when she was in college. I would have been 6 or 7. It’s cute...but I can’t say that I had much to say! Of course, I did my own illustrating... It was, apparently, about a dog. I’m not sure why, since we didn’t own one at the time!

Q: Can you name someone whose encouragement made a significant difference as you developed into a writer?

KIMBERLY: Jim Warford. He was my Television Production and Drama teacher when I was in 9th and 10th grade. He read some of my (rather odd) writing and really encouraged me. And trust me when I say it was really odd stuff, so I’m happy he did even with that going against it!

Q: I understand that you quit a corporate job to become a full-time writer. What was that like? Do you have any advice for people who think they might want to do that?

KIMBERLY: Quitting my corporate job was the best thing I ever did. We were also moving, so it was kind of extra incentive as I wouldn’t have wanted to transfer anyway. I was a manager and it was very stressful, especially with all of the constant layoffs we had going on (I worked for a really large telecomm company). However, I was really only able to do this because my husband’s job paid enough for us to live on. It wouldn’t have worked out otherwise. It was tough to cut our income so drastically, but doable. Ha, though I guess it would follow then that my advice would be to marry well...

Seriously, if you want to do something like that, just be realistic. At this point, I’ve got one book out and one book about to be released and my income is still far less than I made as a development manager.  Income, of course, isn’t the most important thing for me (and we’ve also got a son now), but you obviously have to consider it. Even if you get a book published, it isn’t instant riches. It wasn’t instant for most of the writers we hear about every day.

Q: For you personally, what is one of the easiest things about writing YA fiction? What is one of the most difficult things?

KIMBERLY: I love writing for teens. I think they are, in general, more open about their emotions and also more accepting of fantasy. That said, you have to be authentic -- they can sense if you are condescending. But, as long as you stay genuine and have respect for them, it’s wonderful.

Q: Of the characters mentioned in Sucks to Be Me, please tell us about one you would like to meet and why.

KIMBERLY: Probably Uncle Mortie, because I envision him in my head a bit like Grandpa from The Munsters...and who wouldn’t want to meet Grandpa?

Q: Can you tell us a little about Young Adult Books Central – how and why did you start it? What have been some of the most difficult challenges? What do you enjoy most about it?

KIMBERLY: I started up Young Adult Books Central (YABC) back in 1998. It was kind of a side project, really, while I was working. I’d studied adolescent lit in college and really missed that type of thing while working in the corporate world. It was a way for me to stay connected. Well, it grew from there and is one of the leading teen lit sites on the Internet today. I’ve got a wonderful staff of reviewers that include librarians, former teachers, and published authors. There have been kids that have literally grown up with the site.

However, it’s been more a labor of love than anything else. Even though we’ve had the traffic, I never really tried to capitalize on it -- so over the years I’ve spent a lot of my own money on it. Recently, after talking it over with my husband and balancing it against my own writing career, we figured out that we either need to make it sustainable/profitable...or else. So I’m working on that now. That’s really been the most difficult of the challenges -- and is still underway. We’ve connected so many readers and authors over the years (and I’ve made some great friends), so I really don’t want to give it up.

I really enjoy all of the authors and publishers I’ve met through it. I’m sure it helped me to get published myself, both from a “who you know” standpoint to just having taught me so much about the industry. It’s been a huge learning experience. And, I got to interview Clive Barker on the phone once!

Q: What would you like us to know about your current work/s in progress?
KIMBERLY: I’m working on a non-vampire related novel right now about a teenage girl who has a “superpower” (that she calls a “stupidpower” since it’s kind of useless) and stumbles into a celebrity kidnapping plot that only she can solve. It’s kind of an urban fantasy, but also really funny.

Q: Anything else you'd like to share?

KIMBERLY: I’ve really loved living here far more than I thought I would! Of course, I do miss Florida when Winter sets in, but the people up here are wonderful. There’s a lot to be said for the Midwest!

1 comment:

  1. Terrific interview Scotti and Kimberly. Thanks for posting. It is always helpful to aspiring writers to hear the stories of accomplished authors.