2017 Debut Authors Bash: Author Chat with Heather Kaczynski (Dare Mighty Things), Plus Giveaway!
Heather writes books for teenagers and other people who like books about teenagers. They’re usually about teenagers saving the world, because she really believes they can.
Heather never got to go to Space Camp, so she had to settle for writing about it. After graduating cum laude with a degree in biology from University of Alabama in Huntsville, she returned to her first love of books, and now works in a library near NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. She lives with her husband, their daughter, and cats named after mythological figures. She’s not nearly brave enough to go into space, but she did twirl a fire baton in high school.
She’s represented by Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency.
Meet Dare Mighty Things!
THE RULES ARE SIMPLE: You must be gifted. You must be younger than twenty-five. You must be willing to accept the dangers that you will face if you win.
Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Gupta’s entire life has been leading up to this—the opportunity to travel to space. But to secure a spot on this classified mission, she must first compete against the best and brightest people on the planet. People who are as determined as she to win a place on a journey to the farthest reaches of the universe.
Cassie is ready for the toll that the competition will take; the rigorous mental and physical tests designed to push her to the brink of her endurance. But nothing could have prepared her for the bonds she would form with the very people she hopes to beat. Or that with each passing day it would be more and more difficult to ignore the feeling that the true objective of the mission is being kept from her.
As the days until the launch tick down and the stakes rise higher than ever before, only one thing is clear to Cassie: she’ll never back down . . . even if it costs her everything.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
They’re all close to my heart, of course, but Emilio is definitely the most fun to write. I never plan anything he says or does; he just kind of jumps in and does his own thing!
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
I’m the worst at titles. The novel definitely came first, and the title came while I was doing research in edits. I changed it during querying, but luckily my editor liked my original title best!
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
Probably the running scene in the beginning of the book - the first selection process the competitors endure is a marathon race around a track in the Texas late summer heat. A lot of people have told me that was a really evocative scene for them, and it’s almost entirely unchanged from the very first draft.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love the colors! They’re so vibrant in person, and it really shines in sunlight. I love the rainbow effect of the text. Overall it just captures the feel of the book so well.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2017?
Oh, that’s so hard, because there are SO many amazing books that came out this year that I can’t wait to read - I have them currently sitting on my shelf - but just did not have time to get to them yet. Of the few books I was actually able to finish this year, I loved SONG OF THE CURRENT by Sarah Tolcser with all my heart!
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Finishing up the sequel to DARE MIGHTY THINGS, called ONE GIANT LEAP! It’ll be out next fall.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
The scene where Cass says goodbye to her family - what she thinks might be the last time she ever sees them. When I first drafted it, I didn’t have the temperature of the scene quite right. It was hard to gauge the level of emotion she’d be feeling; she’s accomplishing her dream, after all, but possibly also sacrificing life with her family to do it. Would she be more happy, more sad, or more conflicted? That scene went through dozens of changes.
After I had my own child, I rewrote the scene with a clearer vision of how it would feel - this time I had the perspective of a mother imagining myself on the other side of that conversation, of watching my child possibly leaving me forever, but also fulfilling her life’s ambition. There were a lot more tears - both the characters’ and my own.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Hanna! Hanna is as much an enigma to me as she is to Cass in the book. She keeps her motives so close to the chest and doesn’t give up her secrets easily. I had to really sit down and examine her at every turn, going “what are you thinking right now, Hanna? What’s your end game?” Her personality was elusive.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Oh, revising, 100%. I’m very intimidated by the blank page and have a hard time letting go of my inner editor to draft. I love having words to rearrange - often I don’t see where the novel needs to go until it’s all there on the page, even if it’s wrong.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I’m very passionate about girls in STEM. I think there’s a huge bias against girls liking science, engineering, and math. They get scared away by it in middle school, discouraged by teachers and parents, and never get back into it. I love that there’s been a surge of support for girls to get involved in engineering as children and I especially hope to see more girls and children in general involved and invested in space travel. If we want to see the future that sci-fi has promised us, we need to invest in our children’s education - they will be the ones inventing new technologies and traveling new frontiers.
Dare Mighty Things
By: Heather Kaczynski
Publishing Date: October 10th, 2017
Two winners will receive a signed copy of Dare Mighty Things (Heather Kaczynski) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
This beautiful color palette definitely got my attention, which is great, because I would love to read more stories like this about gifted young women! This sounds awesome -- so glad I found out about this gem! Kara S
This book is towards the top of my "still need to acquire" books of 2017! The cover is what drew me in at first, but after looking into it a bit more I realized that Dare Mighty Things is exactly the type of book that I usually love. Really hoping to win this one!
The cover is very cool, but can I say that the title is really what caught my attention? I immediately felt uplifted and encouraged just from reading that. The synopsis got me even more intrigued.