We are so excited to bring you an author interview with K.M. Walton, mastermind behindÂ Cracked. Â Magan’s review, in which she gushed over the fine line K.M. balances between serious topics and humorous characters, went live yesterday. We contacted K.M. after perusingÂ her websiteÂ (which is fabulous, by the way). She has so, so many wonderful things to offer – information about herself, helpful resources for librarians and writers, etc. – and it’s all packaged quite beautifully in a website designed by her sister.
We’ve had a wonderful time getting to know a bit more about K.M, and Magan certainly loved her debut novelÂ Cracked,Â which was released in January. Thank you, K.M., for the lovely interview!
Summary: Victor and Bull are sworn enemies. Bull terrorizes Victor, and Victor roams the hallways of his high school seemingly invisible. His home life isnâ€™t anybetter; his parents remind him each birthday that he was an accident and was never wanted. Bullâ€™s grandpa and mom are always drunk, thereâ€™s very little food, and he hangs out in the cemetery to avoid the regular beatings he receives. Bull and Victor become roommates in the psych ward after an incident goes wrong with Bull and Victor swallows too many sleeping pills.
CrackedÂ is your debut novel. Congratulations and thank you for sharing such an awesome story with us! How did you feel when you found out your book was being published? How did you celebrate?
I did a tremendous amount of hooting and hollering and hugging. My husband brought home champagne and we toasted to my years of hard work finally paying off. It was a very special time for me.
Elements ofÂ CrackedÂ are extremely serious – thereâ€™s abuse, both verbal and physical, and a suicide attempt. How did you balance writing about these deep issues while interlacing laugh out loud, funny moments?
The charactersâ€™ personalities allowed for the moments of levity. Those boys became real to me, and I wanted their realness to come alive in the pages of the book.
Why have you chosen to write for young adults, and why was it important for you to tell this story?
I chose to write for young adults after being inspired by reading so many genius young adult books. I found particular inspiration in Looking for Alaska by John Green, The Absolutely True Story of a Part Time IndianÂ by ShermanÂ Alexie, and Going BovineÂ byÂ LibbaÂ Bray. Each book featured teenaged boy protagonists and I wanted to try my hand at that. To answer your second question, it was important for me to tell Victor and Bullâ€™s stories because combating bullying and injustice have fueled nearly every lesson I taught while in the classroom. I spent twelve years as a public school teacher, ten of those years in middle school. I made it my personal mission to stamp out bullying and other forms of hatred. CRACKED was born from that mission.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I just heard comedian and author Michael Ian Black speak and he said something that resonated with me, â€œThe thing Iâ€™m most proud of is having written. Not the actual writing part, but being able to say that I wrote something, having written it, is cool.â€ Thatâ€™s my favorite part of the process â€“ having written.
Did you ever hit a point where you had to stop writingÂ Cracked? How did you get past the writerâ€™s block and back to writing?
No, when Iâ€™m in the middle of writing I canâ€™t stop. The charactersâ€™ stories flow out of me like a rushing stream.
Weâ€™ve been oohing and ahhing over your incredible website. Not only do you provide awesome resources for readers, librarians, and writers, but thereâ€™s so much ofÂ youÂ present. How did you and your son devise the concept for your site?Â
My oldest son and I were discussing ideas for my site, brainstorming and stuff, and he said, â€œMom, you do everything at your desk. What if your website was your desk?â€ I grabbed a piece of paper and sketched it out. You can actually see my original sketch on my website â€“ in the FUN drawer under â€œRandom Factsâ€. My youngest sister, who happens to be a creative genius and designer, took that sketch and designedÂ kmwalton.com. I donâ€™t think itâ€™s possible to love a website any more than I love my website. Iâ€™d like to marry it. But Iâ€™m already happily married.
We noticed youâ€™re a fan ofÂ GleeÂ (we are, too!). When youâ€™re not writing or watchingÂ Glee, what do you like to do?
I love to read, go to the movies, hang out with my family, dance, eat chocolate, sleep,Â playÂ around on twitter and Facebook. Regular stuff. And Iâ€™m really into two new shows this season: Awake and Touch. I hope they fill the cavernous void LOST left when it ended. My fingers are crossed.
And now for our raid fire round, tell us your:
favoriteÂ place to write:
My desk. I have a killer office in my house with tons of windows. Itâ€™s like writer heaven.
Oh my. I have a little â€œlipstick problemâ€ in so much as, Iâ€™m addicted to lipsticks. For instance, I have twelve (yes, I counted) lipsticks in my makeup bag sitting in my purse. My favorite brands areÂ SmashboxÂ andÂ Stilla. They last and have the perfect shine.
Hmmm. Favorite town of all time would have to beÂ Galway,Â Ireland. It has the perfect mix of modern and old and it is filled with awesome shops, pubs and Irish people.
I should say something, like, apples or air popped popcorn, but, that would be lying. And Iâ€™m not a liar. CHEESE CURLS. They areÂ orangy, evil, tangy, crispy and probably poison. But holyÂ hell areÂ they tasty.
Can you tell us about what youâ€™re currently working on? What can we look forward to reading from you in the future?Â
My new book, titled EMPTY, releases from Simon Pulse January 2013. Itâ€™s about an overweight teenaged girl named Dell who gets bullied and abused and her life spirals out of control. I was thrilled to work with my brilliant editor againâ€”Annette Pollert. The woman is so damn smart.
Thank you very much for hosting me here today!
A huge THANK YOU to K.M. Walton! Here’s where you can find more from her around the Internet.