Author Chat with Kathryn Lasky (More Than Magic: Sweet Friends To The Rescue)
Today we're excited to chat with Kathryn Lasky, author of More Than Magic!
Below you'll find more about Kathryn andher book!
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Have to admit that I was inspired by the animated character Merida in the enormously popular Pixar Disney movie Brave. My granddaughter loved that movie. I bought her one of those Merida wigs for Christmas and she was running all over our house in it. Then it wasn’t six months later that I read about this outcry from some of the original artists who created the animated character. Merida was undergoing a makeover because she was going to become part of the pantheon of Disney Princess collection. There would be a myriad of products from backpacks to dolls. They were changing her appearance drastically to make her look older, more sophisticated and more sexual for the teen demographic. Merida was no longer the spunky, tough little hero. So I started thinking what if one of Merida’s creators had a daughter who had been the inspiration for that character? How would that spin out? Wouldn’t the inspiration and the cartoon character feel betrayed in some way? That could be a cool storyline. Hence Rory the animated character in More Than Magic was ‘born’ and so was her inspiration Ryder whose late mom Andrea Holmsby was the animator that had created her.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Well of course I like the two heroines Ryder and Rory, but I also really like Connie whose mom is trying to trap Ryder’s dad into marriage. Connie’s sisters are like the wicked stepsisters in Cinderella but you see that Connie has a sort of neat change in her character arc. It’s always fun to be able to show that kind of growth in a character. To provide something a little unexpected.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
Oh definitely the story. Titles are very challenging for me. I tried out a few before I was satisfied.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I love the scene when Ryder begins to draw for the first time after her mom has died and she begins to conceptualize the character of the Barn Owl based on Constance. To me that is a very moving scene and it was really exciting to write. I had to handle it very delicately. Ryder is having a mix of emotions from regret and sadness to the excitement of being able to draw again, to imagine.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
In five words: ‘There’s always a way out’. Writers get stuck all the time. They think they have wandered down a plot path that has become too tangled, or they simply have a big problem that they can’t figure out how to fix. Everything is fixable. You just have to fiddle with it, fool with it and after a while a solution will present itself.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love that the two characters Rory and Ryder are running. I love chapters that begin in the middle of action scenes and therefore I have a fondness for covers that show some kind of action.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2016?
Of my own? I don’t have any new books coming out in 2016 but in March of 2017 I have a very exciting book coming out Night Witches that that is a YA novel based on a true story about the only all women’s air combat team in the world. It was a regiment of young Russian women who fought off the Nazis that were attempting to hold Stalingrad and then chased Nazi butt all the way across Russia back to German.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2015?
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I real tour de force.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m starting another animal fantasy series. This one about polar bears. It is sort of an extension of the owl and wolf worlds of Ga’Hoole.
YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?
I can’t think of anything
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
The scene when Ryder gets up her nerve to try and draw again after her mom’s death. It was both my favorite scene but emotionally very hard to get it down.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
The character of Bernice the wicked step mom to be. I didn’t want her to be a complete caricature. I had to tone her down a bit if she was going to be believed.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I like them both equally. When I first started out I definitely did not like revising but now I actually do. I find it challenging in a completely different way from writing a draft and I always learn something new about the story I’m trying to tell.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Listening. People say I write really good dialogue and I think it’s because I enjoy listening to people—even eavesdropping. I love to go to those restaurants where the tables are really close and just tune in to what people are saying, how they say it etc. I think I’m supersensitive to tone and pauses and a myriad of inflections that people use. I really do think it helps me to write dialogue. Now how I translate that into actual writing I’m not sure. But I do know there are rhythms of human speech that stick in my mind some place really deep.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Yes the Boston Public Library that is the crown jewel in the American Library system. I have been a member of the Board Associates of the Boston Public Library for over a decade. We underwrite something called The Writers in Residency Program for aspiring children’s book writers and from that program we have had over a dozen first time authors published.
Meet Kathryn Lasky!
Kathryn Lasky is the American author of many critically acclaimed books, including several Dear America books, several Royal Diaries books, 1984 Newbery Honor winning Sugaring Time, The Night Journey, and the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series.
She was born June 24, 1944, and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is married to Christopher Knight, with whom she lives in Massachusetts.
Meet More Than Magic!
Join Rory and Ryder in their adventures in our world—and the world beyond the TV.
Ryder Holmsby is the same age as Rory, the popular TV cartoon character her animator parents created. Ryder and Rory are alike—bold and brave! But Ryder is a bit lonely: Mom passed away a couple of years ago, and Dad is dating a woman with snooty teenage daughters. Ryder doesn’t fit in with them at all.
And then: Shazam! Rory jumps out of the TV into Ryder’s bedroom to tell her that the TV studio behind her parents’ show is trying to turn Rory into a dopey princess—no more adventures. She needs Ryder’s help! The two girls team up with a crew of animated and real-life friends to save the day in both worlds.
More Than Magic
By: Kathryn Lasky
Release Date: September 27th, 2016