Friday 4 September 2009

Featured on Friday: A.S. King

A.S. King lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and children. Her short fiction has been published in lots of journals and has been nominated for the Best New American Voices 2010. The Dust of 100 Dogs is A.S. King’s first young adult novel.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
I work in my basement. A corner of it. It’s small and there are no windows and if the dehumidifier breaks, it smells like a hamster cage. That is where I presently do my best writing! I’ve worked in prettier places, though, and aspire to do so again.The best time for me to write is all day. At the moment, my best first draft time is between 9AM and 3PM.

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
As a teen, Paul Zindel was my favorite. I haven’t read him in years, though. (Thanks for the reminder.) I read Ray Bradbury and George Orwell and Madeline L’Engle. I was attached to Stephen King’s short story collection, Night Shift, for years as a teen. I was so in love with that book! My current favourites are Kurt Vonnegut and Tom Robbins, which, in many ways, share the same qualities I enjoyed in the novels I read as a teen.

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
A large collection of American short stories
A large cyclopedia
Catch-22 (Great stuck-on-an-island book, I reckon.)

4. What inspired you to tell Emer and saffron’s stories?
When I started writing D100D, I had just begun to read a lot about Irish history. I wanted to write about Cromwell, because his army came through our area and I could really visualize it. I saw a plaque in a local town that paid tribute to the people who’d fought the invasion including a “warrior wife” which added to my thinking about warrior women.

5. What in the way of research did you do in order to write about Emer’s piratey exploits?
I read a lot of non-fiction and Googled a lot, once I had access. I spent some time in Jamaica and the Caribbean. The most helpful research for this book were a few pirate games on my computer. They really helped me understand the basics of sailing times and necessary supplies and even battle tactics.

6. Emer and Saffron are very different characters. Did you find it hard weave their stories together?
I tend to write two threads at the same time which weave themselves together without much help from me. This was how it happened for Emer and Saffron. The difference between the two characters is one of my favorite aspects of the book. They led such different lives in such different times.

7. I loved all of the dogs facts scattered throughout the book. What made you decide to include them?
I think the whole book started with the dogs. They wrote themselves nearly in place. Again, it seems to be the way my brain spits out stories. Halfway through, I squint at a project and think, “What are these dog bits doing in here?” but eventually, it becomes clear.

8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
This month I’m finishing two books. I am about to hand IGNORE VERA DIETZ to my editor at Knopf, and I’m just about finished what I hope will fill the next slot—a book about a boy, his missing grandfather, and a community pool.

Thank you very much, Amy! You can visit Amy at her website here and read my review of The Dust of 100 Dogs here.

P.S. I'm going to be away this weekend so I'll do an IMM post next weekend with both weeks worth. Have a great weekend guys!



  1. Thanks for this great interview, I haven't heard of this author before, but now I'm going to have to put her on my wish list!! Sounds very intriguing. I love piratey books.

    I have a Brit/UK only competition you may be interested in - on my site here!
    Closes September 30th!

    I think you'll love it - plus you can also enter a competition to win one out of 10,000 freebies - and not just the book, but a Radox product too!

    **Please spread the word to other UK friends**


  2. Great interview - I really should read Dust of 100!

    Have a nice weekend away :)

  3. Awesome interview. I really need to get a copy of this book, it looks amazing(:

  4. Fascinating interview. Thank you!


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