Author Interview: A.S. King

as_kingThe other day I read and reviewed an excellent, The Dust of 100 Dogs by author A.S. King. And today I bring you an interview with her on the book, her personally, and writing. Enjoy!

Author’s Bio: A.S. King has recently returned from Ireland, where she spent a decade dividing herself between self-sufficiency, teaching adult literacy, and writing novels. Her short fiction has been published in a bunch of cool journals and has been nominated for Best New American Voices 2010.
She now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and children and is a huge fan of corn on the cob, nice weather, and fleece socks.
She is not (and has never been) a pirate. (Taken from The Dust of 100 Dogs website)
1. In haiku form, tell us about The Dust of 100 Dogs.

It’s the kind of book
That’s really hard to explain
Some people dig that.

2. Did you listen to any particular songs while writing The Dust of 100 Dogs?
The epigraph in the book is from a Bob Marley and the Wailers song, “Crisis” which is on the album Kaya, which was in my tape deck around the time I was writing the book. “Running Away” on the same album, is also particularly fitting. (I recently wrote a short playlist for the book here:

3. You use three different POVs for the story ― Emer’s, Fred’s, and Saffron’s. Did you choose this many before you started writing or along the way?
Pretty much everything in my work is an along-the-way thing. The more books I write, the more I realize they write me, and not the other way around. D100D was a particularly tough book, because it didn’t want to have much order to it, so it took me a while to beat it into shape.

4. What made you pick dogs as the reincarnation critters, and pirates as the previous lifestyle?
I dreamed up the idea for the book while walking my dogs. So the dogs-being-cooler-than-humans-because-they’re-natural-and-honest idea came before the book did. The pirates were a weird turn for me, because I have no particular affection for pirate stories or sailing. But I happened to be hooked on a few pirate video games at the time, and they presented the perfect transition into the next segment of the story. I knew Emer had to land on a beach in Jamaica . Why not take the more daring path to that beach? But again, I don’t plan my books—they take the course they need to take, so these weren’t really my decisions. They just happened organically.

5. Who are your favorite fictional pirates? (Captain Hook, etc.)?
I haven’t read a lot of pirate fiction. Just Treasure Island, which is a favorite of mine, in general. My favorite movie-fictional pirate is Tim Curry’s Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island. No kidding. He’s awesome.

6. If you were a dinosaur, which one would you be and why?
Pterodactyl. Because my name would start with a Pt, end in ctyl, and have eroda in the middle. Also, the whole flying thing.

7. What’s the best book you ever read?
My favorite book is Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions.
The worst? I have no idea. I think reading is a very personal thing. Without the reader, a book is only a series of thought dots with no one to connect them. How we connect those dots is a deeply individual thing. I’ve hated books that people loved and loved books that people hated. This is the beauty of art.

8. Can you tell us a secret that you haven't told before?
I emptied the ice cube tray about 25 minutes ago, and totally didn’t refill it. Busted.

9. Boxers or briefs?
Boxers under miniskirts. Briefs never.

10. Could you tell us a little (or a lot) about your journey to becoming a published author?
It was really, really, really, really long. I always wanted to write, but didn’t have the means/guts/time to do so until I moved to Ireland. I started by writing novels—which weren’t great—on a typewriter. I tried short stories, then, too, all fifteen of which sucked so badly, I swore off ever writing short fiction again. My first published pieces were in an Irish interiors magazine, thanks to a brilliant woman/editor named Muriel Bolger. (The first article was about patios.) I wrote four novels before I realized the work still wasn’t good enough. (Somewhere in there, I bought my first computer! YAY! What a difference!) I turned to poetry. (I’m a big poetry reader.) I published a few poems in some nice journals, but I knew I wasn’t a poet. So I went back to novels. Then, years later, after writing a few more novels, moving back to the US, and landing an agent for my adult fiction, I took up writing short fiction again and published about a dozen stories—a few of which got nominated for really cool things. Then, while I was totally concentrating on selling my adult fiction my agent sold The Dust of 100 Dogs.

11. Finish the thought: I like being a YA author because:
I like being an author because when I write fiction, I’m allowed to tell the truth. I like being a YA author because most readers of YA fiction get my voice and can think outside of the box, which is where I like to go.

12. And finally: What new books can we plan to see from you?
You’ll see Ignore Vera Dietz in Fall 2010 from Knopf. (14+) I just finished another YA book, too, about Lucky Linderman and his grandfather—and I really hope you see that in Fall 2011.

Thanks again for the interview!
Thanks so much for having me!
Thank you to A.S. King and all those who sent in questions to ask her. I’ll be doing another interview soon if you wanted to ask a question to an author but didn’t get a chance this time. Also, if you haven’t read The Dust of 100 Dogs yet, what are you waiting for?! Go, go, go!


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