Interview with A. Kidd, Writer
Recently, I had the opportunity and pleasure of interviewing A. Kidd, a writer who lives in Michigan with her husband and daughter. She recently wrote and published a book entitled, The Healing Star. You can learn more about A. Kidd here.
KATHEIRNE CARVER: You recently wrote The Healing Star, a novel, for young readers. Can you provide a glimpse of what your novel is about, which includes a dog?
A. KIDD: Stars with healing powers are falling from the sky. Feisty 4th grader Julia is trying to catch one to save her grandmother’s life. Grammu, who Julia calls her cosmic twin, has the invisibly illness and will eventually completely disappear. The town itself is feeling hopeless because of this mysterious disease. A great read during the pandemic about how to find hope during difficult times. Julia’s faithful sidekick is a farting beagle with extra-long ears named Petie who accompanies her on her journey to find the mysterious ladder to the stars.
KATHERINE CARVER: How did your journey lead you to becoming a writer?
A. KIDD: I actually started telling stories around age four, before I could even write. My mom wrote them down for me while I drew the pictures. In high school I actually wrote my first picture book in Spanish class. Imagine trying to write in a language you aren’t actually fluent in! In college, I participated in performance poetry, which really helped me learn how to tell a story. I enjoyed the immediate feedback as well. I studied journalism, which taught me research skills. I also liked interviewing people and getting to know their stories. But one day I covered a poetry open mic and realized I wanted to be part of it, not writing about the event. I went to graduate school to be a children’s librarian. It was inspiring being around all those books! Then one day I took a leap of faith and wrote my own book!
KATHERINE CARVER: What artists/writers inspire you?
I’m inspired by authors Sharon Creech, Francesca Lia Block, and Jandy Nelson for their use of lyrical and poetic language. They each have a unique writing style. I’m impressed by their ability to create relatable characters and intriguing stories while also captivating readers with their words.
KATHERINE CARVER: Do you have any rituals and/or practice that you implement while writing?
A. KIDD: I start with research first, because it’s less intimidating and can help spark ideas. I also reread the previous chapter before moving to the next chapter, to reorient myself to the story. Sometimes I actually stop in the middle of a sentence so that it will be easier to begin again the next day. I also believe in working in time blocks where you reward yourself at the end of a session with a short break or treat.
KATHERINE CARVER: Do you have any favorite, go-to books for inspiration?
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield helps remind me that I’m a professional writer, no matter what stage I’m at. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg is comforting to read, because it shares writing tips in the form of poems. It’s essentially sharing craft while teaching it. Wired for Story by Lisa Cron shows you how to write in a way that will connect with readers down to their very core.
KATHERINE CARVER: How do you not let fear hinder you from beginning a new endeavor?
A. KIDD: Fear is always with me, like a little bird on my shoulder. I let it talk, but I don’t let it stop me from pursuing my dreams. I use the same tactics I mentioned above to trick myself into starting something new or continuing the work. Since I now have a three-year-old daughter, I don’t have the luxury of giving fear my time. If I give into fear, I’ve lost not only a day’s work, but also money spent on a babysitter, and time I could have spent with my daughter. Also, I get a little braver with each task I accomplish. Deciding for myself that my book was finished and sending it out into the world has given me more confidence than ever. There is power in making your own choices and not asking for permission.
KATHERINE CARVER: What inspires you to keep going and what keeps you motivated daily?
A. KIDD: I’m motivated by my life’s dream to be a children’s author. I feel like we all have a purpose in life, and I feel most fulfilled when I’m on my path, even on the hard days. I’m even more motivated by my young daughter. I want to create stories for her that will help her find her way in this complex world. With everything going on these days, I feel it is my responsibility to share my gifts and talents and try to make the world a little brighter.
KATHERINE CARVER: How has becoming a mom impacted your creativity and writing?
A. KIDD: Being a mom creates both challenges and opportunities. Finding time to write and not feeling guilty about it is difficult. However, I want to show my daughter that mothers have their own aspirations too, and that it is important for everyone to contribute to society and do what they’re good at and what makes them happy. And honestly, I’ve never felt more creative. My daughter inspires me every day as she grows and learns about the world. I’m grateful to be there to witness it. It’s easier to get into the mindset of a child when you’re raising one. And I feel like sometimes she’s teaching me about life more than I’m teaching her. The story ideas just naturally flow from our day-to-day interactions.
KATHERINE CARVER: What is your favorite quote and why is this your favorite quote?
A. KIDD: I once heard children’s author Rachel Vail speak at a conference. She wrote a wonderful middle grade book called Justin Case about a boy who worries a lot. I can totally relate! She said, “Being brave is not the opposite of worry.” I never used to think of myself as brave since I didn’t like to do risky activities like skydiving or bungee jumping. But when I wanted to become a better writer, I got on a plane and went to a big national conference in Los Angeles all by myself without knowing anyone. I was scared, but I didn’t let it stop me from going. You don’t have to take every risk to be brave. You don’t have to be worry-free to be brave. I think true bravery is doing something you want to do even though it scares you. I always ask myself if something I’m afraid of is something I actually want to do. If the answer is no, then I don’t do it. But if the answer is yes, then I push myself to try.
KATHERINE CARVER: What are you currently working on now?
A. KIDD: I have a few projects in the works. One is a young adult dystopian science-fiction book about the fate of the environment told in dual perspectives. Another is a picture book that retells a Japanese myth but with a twist at the end.
KATHERINE CARVER: What advice do you have for living a creative life?
A. KIDD: Society will make you think that what you’re doing isn’t useful and that you should get a “real” job. But there is nothing more real or useful or needed in the world than art. Take small steps if you must, but attempt to incorporate some form of creativity into your daily life. A quote I love is by renowned poet Mary Oliver. She says, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” I try to ask myself that question every day and so should you.
KATHERINE CARVER: Where can people find your book?
For signed copies, email: A.Kiddwrites@gmail.com
Author page: https://www.facebook.com/A.Kiddwrites/