The Book Buddies Book Club had the unbelievable priviledge of speaking with the author of our October book, Marlane Kennedy. We called her at her home in Ohio and had about 15 minutes to ask all of our questions about her wonderful book, Me and the Pumpkin Queen, and her life as a full-time author. The book club members came up with some fabulous questions and Ms. Kennedy was so kind and gave us very thoughtful responses.
The club members wanted to know if she writes everyday and where she does her writing. She writes on her couch with her laptop and she doesn't write every day. Some days she has a harder time feeling inspired to write and other days she can't stop! Her favorite part of being an author is hearing from her readers. It makes her feel good to know she has written something that someone else has enjoyed. She has a degree in teaching but never taught as a career and now she is enjoying visiting classrooms and having the opportunity to speak with her readers.
We wanted to know if she's anything like Mildred and she told us that part of her is a lot like Mildred - she was shy and loved animals growing up - but she had her mother with her and did enjoy things like clothes and shopping.
One of our club members wanted to know if she had ever grown a giant pumpkin of her own and up until this past summer she hadn't! But this year she decided to try and although it was a lot of work her family helped and she grew a 250 pound pumpkin which is sitting on her front porch and which she will carve into a jack-o-lantern for Halloween.
We all wanted to know if there would be future books about Mildred and at the moment she does have some ideas but nothing is definite. She told us a very interesting story about how when her publisher, Greenwillow Books, bought the manuscript for Me and the Pumpkin Queen, she originally had an epilogue as the ending where Mildred was age 16! Her editor didn't like the idea of Mildred at age 16 and asked her to change it. And now she is thrilled that she did because if she had left Mildred at age 16 there wouldn't be any need for another book!
Ms. Kennedy shared that it took her about a year to write Me and the Pumpkin Queen and that besides wanting to be an author (which she decided in 4th grade) her other career aspiration was to be a jockey because she loves horses!
Finally, we wanted to know what inspired Me and the Pumpkin Queen. Ms. Kennedy grew up in Pickaway County, Ohio and went to a lot of pumpkin shows. But the idea came to her out of the blue one day. She thought of a 5th grader and she started asking herself questions like, why is she growing pumpkins and what are her problems? This all eventually turned into Mildred's story.
We had such a great time talking with Ms. Kennedy. She was so nice and we so appreciated having the opportunity to ask our questions. Thank you to Ms. Kennedy for her time and her willingness to be involved with our book club. Authors are the best!