Saturday, September 12, 2015

{Tour Stop} PIECES OF WHY by K.L. Going—Author Interview + Giveaway

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Pieces of Why
by K.L. Going


From the award winning author of Fat Kid Rules the World andThe Liberation of Gabriel King comes a lyrical, middle grade gem that asks all the hard questions and hits all the right notes--perfect for fans of Cynthia Rylant and Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine.

Tia lives with her mom in a high-risk neighborhood in New Orleans and loves singing gospel in the Rainbow Choir with Keisha, her boisterous and assertive best friend. Tia's dream is to change the world with her voice; and by all accounts, she might be talented enough. But when a shooting happens in her neighborhood and she learns the truth about the crime that sent her father to prison years ago, Tia finds she can't sing anymore. The loss prompts her to start asking the people in her community hard questions--questions everyone has always been too afraid to ask.

Full of humanity, Pieces of Why is a timely story that addresses grief, healing, and forgiveness, told through the eyes of a gifted girl who hears rhythm and song everywhere in her life.

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Age Group/Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
 Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books/Penguin
Purchase: Amazon • B&N • KoboIndieBound

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with K.L. Going


LM: When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

K.L. Going: It was a gradual process – a slow realization over a long period of time. Honestly, I think I was the last one to figure out what my profession would be!

I’ve been writing novels since high school (poetry and short stories even earlier than that) which you’d think would be a dead giveaway, right? But I was focused on the idea that I wanted to do volunteer service, and I thought that would be my life-long vocation. In the end, I did do volunteer service, but only for a few years. So, it wasn’t until I came home that I started to consider other options.


I always wrote for fun, but I’m not sure I would’ve had the courage to submit my novels for publication if I hadn’t ended up working in publishing. That was the final piece of the puzzle for me. Watching other aspiring authors go through the publishing process, I thought, “Maybe I can do this.”


LM: Tell us a little bit about your main character, Tia–who is she?

K.L. Going: Tia is a twelve year old girl who has a huge voice. She’s got amazing talent, but she also has a lot of obstacles to overcome if she’s going to succeed - including the legacy left behind by her father who is in prison, her mother’s tendency to hide from their problems, and the very real effects of growing up in poverty. Despite those troubles, Tia also has a kind heart and an awesome support network. Through the course of the book she learns that she has a strong inner core that will allow her to stand strong in the midst of tumult.

LM: If Pieces of Why had a theme song, what would it be?

K.L. Going: It would have to be “Note to God” performed by Charice. There’s so much about this song that resonates with this book. Charice is a tiny person with a huge voice, which is exactly how I picture Tia. And the lyrics are perfect for Tia’s environment. They reflect how many of us feel when confronted with the violence that exists in today’s world:

…give us the strength to make it through,
help us find love, ‘cause love is overdue,
and it seems like so much is going wrong on this road we’re on …

There’s no pat answer here. It’s simply a plea for help and understanding, and that’s really what Pieces of Why is all about.

LM: Can you share with us a behind-the-scenes story about this book?

K.L. Going: I started writing Pieces of Why six years ago! When I was pregnant, I worried about bringing a child into some of the harsh realities of this world… knowing that I’d do everything in my power to give him a wonderful, amazing life, but that some things would be outside of my control. The thought of anything bad happening to my child terrifies me, and when something produces a strong emotion like that, I know it’s worth exploring. So I started writing.

But then … I stopped. After I gave birth, I put the book away for a long time. I didn’t want to write. At. All. Writing is all about removing yourself mentally from the real world and immersing yourself in an imaginary world, and for the first year after my son was born I didn’t want to leave my real word. Every time I tried to write I felt angry at the intrusion, so in the end, I produced nothing for a long time. That isn’t the trajectory successful writers are supposed to take, but I don’t regret it at all. That was a golden time. The most beautiful memories of my entire life come from that year. And ultimately, it’s joy that balances out the parts of life that are terrifying. Like Tia, I needed to learn that lesson or I couldn’t have written this book.

LM: Tell us what you enjoy doing when you aren’t writing!

K.L. Going: If it’s a cold winter’s day, I love to bake comfort foods: molasses cookies, pumpkin bread, a favorite Mennonite recipe for baked oatmeal … I don’t particularly enjoy cooking meals, but baking is another matter. I also love to do puzzles that match seasonal events, so if it’s Halloween, I find a Halloween themed puzzle, Christmas requires a Christmas puzzle…

Every morning and night I love to read. I’ll read as many books as I can juggle at once, and always very different titles. And I’m addicted to The Great Courses (college courses on DVD). I love to learn. I’m not picky about subject matter, although history, science, and literature are my favorites.

KL Going’s Baked Oatmeal Recipe

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes in a greased 8 x 12 baking dish

2 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 cups oatmeal

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KL Going is the award winning author of books for children and teens. Her first novel, Fat Kid Rules the World was named a Michael Printz honor book by the American Library Association, as well as one of the Best Books for Young Adults from the past decade. Her books have been Booksense picks, Scholastic Book Club choices, Junior Library Guild selections, winners of state book awards, and featured by Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Children's Book Council as Best Books. Her work has been published in Korea, Italy, Japan and the UK.

KL began her career working at one of the oldest literary agencies in New York City. She used this inner knowledge of publishing to write Writing and Selling the Young Adult Novel -- a how-to book for aspiring writers, published by Writer's Digest. She has also written short stories for several anthologies and currently has two picture books under contract for future release. She currently lives in Glen Spey, NY where she both writes and runs a business critiquing manuscripts. To visit KL on-line go to www.klgoing.com.

WEBSITE • GOODREADS • FACEBOOK • TWITTER

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Huge thanks to K.L. Going for answering my interview questions so thoughtfully! ^-^

Readers, please continue on for giveaway details! ~


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Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy Reading!

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