Introducing A.S. King, one of nine writers who will featured at the 2013 Chestertown Book Festival. King is the award winning author of The Dust of 100 Dogs, Please Ignore Vera Dietz (A Michael L. Printz Honor Book), Everbody Sees the Ants (A 2012 Carolyn W. Field Honor Book), Ask the Passengers (winner of the 2012 LA Times Book Prize), and the forthcoming Reality Boy, set to be released on October 22 .
King's reading will begin at 1:00 p.m. at the Emmanuel Church in Chestertown.
Where and when were you born? I was born in Reading, Berks County, PA in March 1970. I am a Pisces. And yes, I b A.S. King is best known for her award-winning young adult novels, though she writes novel-length and short fiction for adults as well. She has been a rare poultry breeder, photographer, master printer, contractor, summer camp counselor, pizza delivery driver and after more than a decade in Ireland dividing herself between self-sufficiency, restoring her farm, teaching adult literacy, and writing novels, she returned to the US in 2004. elieve in that stuff.
What does the A.S. stand for? A is for Amy. S is for Sarig. Those are my first and middle names. If you see me walking along a street, please call me Amy. But I'd prefer if you called me A.S. King if you're writing about me, because it's easier for a bunch of reasons. (Biggest reason: there are other Amy Kings. And a few of them write. See? It can get confusing.)
Do you have siblings? Are your parents like any of the parents in your books? I have two older sisters. And no, my parents are nothing like the parents in my books. You can see a little about them in the Printz Honor speech I made at ALA NOLA 2011. It is here.
What influenced youto become a writer? I always wanted to be a writer, but what got me to sit in front of a [Swedish] typewriter and actually write was a half year of reading one book a day. The book that physically moved me into the writing chair was Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses.
Did you go to college for writing? No. I have a degree in [traditional] photography from the Art Institute of Philadelphia. I do think photography influences my
writing, though. A lot. I think everything I've done *outside* of writing influences my writing. This is why I urge aspiring writers to do other stuff and not just writing.
Did another author inspire you? Yes. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. among hundreds of others. But Kurt Vonnegut the most. God Bless You Mr. Rosewater is my favorite book of all time, though in close second are Breakfast of Champions and Slaughterhouse-Five. I like reading a lot of different kinds of books. My favorites lately seem to be Scandnavian translations.
What influenced your book ideas? A mix of everything--real life, history, news articles, things I hear when I'm on the bus. You name it, I'm inspired by it. Oftentimes, I just hear a character in my head and I start to write and then, a few months pass and I have a book.
Is there a specific genre you like to write and why? I like weird adult literary fiction and I love writing for young adults because their minds are endless. Adult minds are often not so endless.
Did you enjoy reading and writing when you were young? Yes. I was a crazy avid reader. Used to read in my closet until the wee hours of the night. Writing--always.
How long have you been a writer? I wrote my first novel in 1994.
Was it hard to start your writing career? It took me 15 years and over seven novels to get published. So, I'd say, yes. :)