I am delighted to introduce YA & NA author Katherine Locke to the Debutante Ball! Katherine and I have been Twitter-friends for quite some time now, and our publishing journeys started around the same time. I’ve long admired Katherine for how outspoken, tenacious, and brave they are on the social and political matters that are important to them. In addition to writing, Katherine also offers editing services, which you can learn more about on their website.
Katherine Locke lives and writes in a very small town outside of Philadelphia, PA, where they’re ruled by their feline overlords and their addiction to chai lattes. They secretly believe most stories are fairytales. They are the author of The Girl with the Red Balloon and its upcoming companion, The Spy with the Red Balloon. The Girl with the Red Balloon is the story of a Jewish American teenager who accidentally time-travels back to 1988 East Berlin by way of a magical balloon. She gets swept up in a conspiracy of history and magic connected to how her grandfather escaped a death camp in 1942. The only way to stop other people from being pulled through time may destroy her only way home. Kirkus called it “a gripping story”, and School Library Journal called it “sophisticated” and “unusual.”
The Deb Interview
Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
I’ve really fallen in love with podcasts this year. Both serious ones and light ones, informative and narrative. They give me space to think and feel both educated and creative, and it’s better than listening to the same six songs on the radio all the time. Some of the writing ones I loved in 2017 include First Draft Podcast with Sarah Enni, 88 Cups of Tea with Yin Chang, Writing Excuses, and Ditch Diggers. Some of the political ones I loved included Pod Save America and Majority 54, both of which made me feel like I learned something, gave me hope, and did both of those things without making me rage more. And I really needed that. A space to feel smarter, aware, hopeful, and engaged, without rage. Engage without Rage. (YMMV on this but for me, rage quickly turns into despair and it’s very de-motivating for me. I need a bit of hope.) And the two narrative podcasts I fell in love with are Steal the Stars, a Tor project, and 36 Questions: The Musical.
What’s your secret or not-so-secret superpower?
Sleeping. With very few exceptions, I can sleep almost anywhere and under most conditions. I really love sleeping.
When you were a teenager, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?
A veterinarian! For a long time at least. When I realized I’d be a bad vet (I cannot compartmentalize like a vet needs to do), I thought I’d be a diplomat or an intelligence analyst. I thought that’d be my career through college, honestly! I end up using my political science background for my books, but not in my dayjob.
What is your advice for aspiring writers?
Learn to finish a book, even if it’s hard, even if it feels terrible, even if you don’t think you can fix it and you just need to write something new. Learning to finish a book is really important and a skill you’ll come back to, because writing does not get easier the more you do it. I think writing and finishing drafts is harder now than it used to be. There are outside voices in my head that I consciously have to dismiss every single time I sit down to write. But knowing that I know how to force myself to finish a draft, and knowing that I know how to fix a draft, has been essential. You can’t fix what you haven’t written.
What’s your next big thing?
I am really excited about a few things coming up. In October, my second Balloonmakers book, The Spy with the Red Balloon, comes out. This was a beast of a book to wrestle (as most second books are) and it’s something new for me, more thriller than mystery, so we’ll see how that goes! And this spring I’m going to start reading stories for IT’S A WHOLE SPIEL, the Jewish YA anthology I’m co-editing with Laura Silverman (GIRL OUT OF WATER). I am so excited about this. The pitches we got from contributing authors were amazing. Thinking about this makes me giddy.
Find Katherine at:
Need a copy of The Girl with the Red Balloon in your life? Of course you do! Katherine is giving away one signed hardcover (US only) — RT the following tweet or share our FB post to enter!
— The Debutante Ball (@DebutanteBall) January 6, 2018