Welcome to a new monthly blog, Evernight Spotlight! I'll be interviewing other authors from Evernight Teen about their latest releases, their craft, and more!
Our first guest is Kate Larkindale.
Kate is the author of STUMPED, THE SIDEWALK’S REGRETS and AN UNSTILL LIFE, writing YA contemporary that touches on intimate themes for teenagers. She's a two-year veteran with Evernight Teen and you can find her books here. Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down the Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musket, and Residential Aliens - among others!
DEIDRE: Thanks for agreeing to this interview, Kate! I'm pumped to get to know more about another Evernight Teen author.
KATE: Thank you for having me!
D: Let's start with a basic question: How long have you been writing?
K: I think I’ve always written. I remember having my first story published in the Kidstuff pages of the local newspaper when I was about six. It was a story about a witch and her cat. I got serious about publishing my writing about twelve years ago, I think. I just realized it’s been ten years since I had my first short story accepted for publication this month. I’ve come a long way since then…
D: As young as six? That's super impressive! Do you still have a copy?
K: I think my mother might….
D: What draws you to YA in particular?
K: I find YA the most satisfying to write because the teen years are when people become who they will be for the rest of their life. It’s such an emotional time and people change and grow so much. It’s a time for experimenting and testing boundaries and making mistakes. It’s a time where people you thought you would be friends with forever may drift away and new people enter your life. It’s a time where changing personalities and looks and ideas is as common as changing socks. It’s the time people fall in love for the first time, and a time when people suffer their first heartbreak. And teens have such varied levels of maturity – one minute taking on adult responsibilities, the next behaving like a toddler having a tantrum. It’s such a rich emotional landscape to explore, I find it irresistible.
D: Do you have similar themes across your stories?
K: I never really thought I did, but I’m beginning to realize I have a few themes I seem to explore often. Sibling relationships, in particular, especially between brothers. But mostly I explore challenging ideas – things you don’t often find in books for young people. Like access to sex for those living with disabilities and euthanasia and drug addiction.
D: Those can be challenging subjects. Do you find those mindsets difficult to delve into when learning who your characters are?
K: Sometimes, but because I always know my characters really well before I send them down the rabbit hole, their decisions and choices are always very much organic to their personalities.
D: Is there a book that’s changed your life?
K: The Outsiders. I read it when I was twelve and I remember thinking when I’d finished that I’d never be able to read another book again because I loved it so much. Obviously I did, but that book had a huge impact on me. It was also the book that made me want to write books myself.
D: Tell me a little about your latest release.
K: My latest release is called The Sidewalk’s Regrets and it’s about a classical violinist who falls in love with the guitarist in a rock band and discovers that despite what the songs say, sometimes love isn’t all you need.
D: The cover is absolutely gorgeous.
K: I know! I love all my Evernight covers. Jay is very talented!
D: Tell me a little about your WIP.
K: I have three (maybe four or five, actually) new books I’m working on at the moment, all in various stages of done-ness. The main one is about three brothers who run away from their abusive mother and hide out at a lake house closed up for the winter. Then the owner shows up….
D: Which themes are you most passionate about?
K: I don’t know that I have themes I’m passionate about, but there are certainly things I’m passionate about that I bring into my writing. I’m very much about equality and inclusion and believe all people, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, religion or anything else deserve to be treated the same and have the same opportunities. I also believe very much that everyone should have the right to make their own decisions about their body and their health.
D: Which goes back to what you said about why you write YA - it's a big time for teenagers, and they have voices that deserve to be heard regardless of background.
K: Exactly! I think people often dismiss teenagers as children and don’t realize they have ideas and opinions of their own. Some teenagers I know are more mature than most of the adults around. And often smarter too!
D: Aside from writing, what is your day job?
K: I work for a government funding agency that funds film production. I’m in the communications area, so do lots of writing at work too!
D: Wow, do you ever worry about suffering burnout, or is it easy to compartmentalize?
K: No, burnout is a very real problem. I haven’t been writing nearly enough this year, mainly because I find I’m out of words by the end of the day. I need to find a better balance to my days, I think.
D: Tell us something we’d be surprised to learn about you.
K: I was once on a television quiz show. I didn’t win, but I was the runner-up…
D: It sounds like you've always been deep in some creative industry or another.
K: I guess so. I was a chef for about seven years, then spent the next 20+ managing cinemas before moving into my current role.
D: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?
K: I think invisibility would be an excellent superpower. There are so many ways you can use it, from playing pranks on people to getting top secret information to just eavesdropping on people and hearing what they really think.