Where did the idea for The Dust of 100 Dogs come from?
The idea came to me while I was walking my dogs down the road I lived on, contemplating various times in Irish history (especially the Cromwellian invasion.) When I started writing, I started with the historical parts, but then the voice switched one day. Out came this woman who told us she was Saffron—Emer reincarnated 300+ years later, searching for treasure. The rest of the idea came from the necessity of having to explain how this happened.
When did you know that you wanted to be an author?
I realized it in the lunch line in eighth grade. I was looking at the metal shop through the window from the hall, and I thought, “I want to write books.” I’m especially indebted to my tenth grade poetry teacher who made us all start writing in journals. I journaled for about ten years before I attempted a novel.
Which one of your characters from The Dust of 100 Dogs would you say is most like you?
I wish I was as fearless as Emer, but I’m not. I think I relate to Saffron in ways—what teenager didn’t want to escape their parents’ house and go looking for their own brand of buried treasure? The boring reality—I’m probably more like the woman collecting for the local literacy group in Chapter 28.
What are a few of your personal favorite books?
My all-time classic favorites: God Bless You Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut. Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, 451 by Ray Bradbury, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Pardon Me, You’re Stepping on my Eyeball by Paul Zindel. More recently, any of Lisa McMann’s books (Wake trilogy) or Robin Brande’s books (Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature, and Fat Cat) and The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by MT Anderson, which blew my sockets.
Why YA? And do you plan to branch out to adult?
Actually, I started by writing adult novels, but my next three books will be YA, and I can’t see myself writing another adult novel in the near future. Why YA? Because I like being allowed to be myself and tell weird stories. I like writing teenage characters interacting with the adults in their life. I’m not sure why I do it—but that day in the lunch line in eighth grade, that’s what the books that I would write looked like.
What are you working on now?
I just finished what will, all going well, be YA book #3. I don’t mean to be secretive (okay, maybe I do) but it covers one of my pet subjects and it turned out really well, so I’m happy. It also has no title yet, so that adds to the vagueness of this description. My apologies. :-)
So now, I am thinking about #4. I love this part—the brainstorming.
Most of all, I’m working toward the October 2010 release of PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ, which is a novel about a girl, her dead (ex) best friend, and her attempt to clear his name. (Stay informed at: www.as-king.com)
I hope everyone enjoyed the interview as much as I did. Thanks again to A.S. King!