Author: Kathryn Erskine
Quaking is an inspiring story about a girl whose been to one too many foster homes and never found peace with anyone. After her dad beat her and her mom died she felt completely alone. Sam and Jessica are Quakers and become Matt’s foster parents. Of course this is an unlikely match because of her completely contradicting personality. She is Goth and amazingly apathetic towards just about everything while the Quakers are loving caring concerned people who only want the best for their new daughter. But in her new high school her history teacher and classmate are complete war mongers and are failing her solely because of her beliefs. She is too afraid to speak out against these monstrous people so she has to rely on here new guardians to protect her. And as the story goes on she rediscovers what its like to have someone who cares. As I was reading I was given the opportunity to rethink what my priorities are in life. Although there aren’t many Quakers left in the world it seems to me they have a better life than half the people I see walking around trash talking peace lovers. Kathy did a wonderful job with Quaking. I’m hoping to read many more books from her in the near future.
Author Interview: Kathy Erskine
Thank you Ms. Erskine for doing the interview with us. Its cool getting to know the author behind such a great book.
Kurtis: What was your inspiration for writing Quaking?
Kathy:Although it stems from my concerns about the war in Iraq and the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Matt's voice came to me when I was simply out on a walk, wondering if it was going to snow. A snarky teenage girl voice told me it was "too cold to snow" (which became the book's working title) and grew from there--her anger, what she'd been through, her attitude towards violence, her appreciation of peaceful people.
Kurtis: Are you a peace lover yourself?
Kathy: Definitely. From bumper stickers on my car to sending money to brave charities like Doctors without Borders (they enter wartorn countries) to writing about peace. Notice nothing about attending actual demonstrations -- I have done this but I'm a bit of an introvert and it's not something that comes easily to me. We all express ourselves in different ways.
Kurtis: I noticed that Matt did everything she could to avoid being talked to. Why is it that you chose the gothic type character?
Kathy: Matt is hiding from the world and puts on a tough exterior to protect herself. She puts others off because she's afraid of relationships. In her life, relationships have often led to pain.
Kurtis: Do you see any of Matt's personality traits in yourself?
Kathy: Yes--her desire for peace, her reluctance to speak out (until it's vital to do so), her humor (mine is not quite as snarky!).
Kurtis: Who would your characters be if they were in a movie? (Actor wise?)
Kathy: I wish I knew -- you'd be better at choosing, I'm sure. Then let me know! I'd love to hear what you think!
Kurtis: How long did it take to get Quaking in stores?
Kathy: Hmm . . . the novel was finished by late 2004, then got picked up in late 2005 and went through the editing process for about 6 months and was published a year after that in mid-2007. So, from completion of the manuscript until publication was 2 and a half years, or a year and a half if you count from when an editor took it.
Kurtis: Did it ever get turned down by the editors?
Kathy: I was lucky with Quaking. I had one editor who said if I made changes she'd look at it again, one editor who was interested but hadn't finished reading it, and Patti Gauch, who was very interested in it and I really loved working with her.
Kurtis: Did you think you would be a writer when you were my age (14)?
Kathy: No--I thought authors were special people who lived in a different stratosphere. I had no idea you could actually be one yourself.
Kurtis: Can we expect any new novels in the future?
Kathy: I'm about to submit one right now -- about a 14-year-old boy, in fact! I'm keeping my fingers crossed! Then I have 3 already written but they need some revision, another 4 partially written, and several more in the "many pages of notes" stage. And, of course, tons of ideas for more books.
Kathy: Thanks for giving me this opportunity, Kurtis (and friends)!
By the way, Quaking has been nominated by the American Library Association to be on its 2008 list of "Best Books for Young Adults!"
Kurtis: Congratulations that is really cool. I bet you're very excited!
Kathy: I just put up a myspace page!
Kurtis: It's been great learning more about you. I'm going to think about the character choices and post them later.
If anyone has read Quaking let us know who you think would play the role of your favorite characters from the book if they were in a movie.