When a writer from Kirkus Reviews contacted me about doing an interview for their YA Blog, I admit I was pretty shocked. I mean, they even trademarked their motto: "The world's toughest book critics"!
But this writer was very kind, and even told me that one of my answers made him cry. That doesn't sound so tough to me. :-)
The interview went up today, and you can read it HERE
I love their tagline: "Jo Knowles talks about the beauty of butter..." LOL!
This interview has been cut WAY down, so many of my answers have been condensed. But since one question and answer were completely eliminated, I thought I'd provide it here, since this has been an issue with all of my books so far, and I am still trying to figure it all out:
There’s a lot of heavy subject matter here in the span of a book that isn’t incredibly long, yet it progresses smoothly. What was your key to merging so much - death, secret lives, secret relationships, psychological scars, amorous developments - without being clunky?-Gordon West
You know, I’m always surprised when people point these things out to me. I consider PEARL to be my lightest book so far, so when I see it described as “heavy” I think, What do you mean?? But when you point out the elements the way you do in your question, I can see your point. As for keeping the story progressing smoothly, that is always my biggest challenge, so I’m glad you didn’t find it too clunky. In most cases, the answer is revising over and over and over until it works. But with this book, while there was tons of revising, I think there was a little more going on. The truth is, we all walk around with our own invisible luggage. Some people (and yes, I’m talking about myself in particular) are incredibly good at hiding the weight we carry. I’m not sure this is a healthy thing, but I do think it might somehow be tied to the first part of my answer, which is that I wasn’t quite aware of all those elements as “elements” in the first place. Maybe that’s why they don’t appear to overwhelm the story.
I think this is not a very good answer and probably why it didn't make the final interview. I am still working on this idea of recognizing the true weight of the things I carry quietly. I suppose my characters are, too. :-)
What is one of your struggles and how are you working to overcome it?