Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Book Launch: The Year The Swallows Came Early

In my continuing series of interview with debut writers I'm featuring Kathryn Fitzmaurice, author of The Year The Swallows Came Early, which debuts one week from today. This is another lovely novel from an author you're sure to hear about. And today is the debut day for Rosanne Parry's Heart of a Shepherd - scroll down to read that interview.

Congratulations on the publication of your novel, THE YEAR THE SWALLOWS CAME EARLY. What specifically inspired it?
When I was thirteen, I spent the summer with my grandmother in New York. She wrote science fiction novels, and showed me how to write my first story that summer. She taught me to write what I know. The Year the Swallows Came Early is a story about how much easier one’s life can be when you choose to forgive someone who has wronged you.

The voice in THE YEAR THE SWALLOWS CAME EARLY is lovely and compelling. Is Groovy familiar to you?
I used to be an elementary school teacher. Groovy is a combination of two students I had one year, with a little bit of me mixed in. Her name, however, came from my next door neighbor friend when I was a little girl. Her parents called her Groovy because she danced all the time. No one ever called her by her real name.

How long have you been writing for children/teens? Have you written other books or is this your first effort?
I have been writing full time for five years. This is my first novel to be published. Currently, I’ve been working on a companion book to The Year the Swallows Came Early and an historical fiction book set during WWII.

Can you describe your path to the publication of THE YEAR THE SWALLOWS CAME EARLY?
My path to publication was a daily mix of doubt and hope. After three years of writing Swallows, I finally found an agent, Jennifer Rofe, at the Andrea Brown Agency, who believed in my writing. I’d still be wandering about without her help. She helped to direct me and showed me the gaps in my story. I had submitted manuscripts to editors on my own, and had some personal feedback, but, for me, having an agent was a way to get to publishers who wouldn’t look at my work otherwise.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
My advice for beginning writers is simple: join a critique group. I believe a critique group is the most valuable way to get objective feedback before submitting your work to an agent or an editor. Other writers can see the parts you’ve missed. They are able to pull out the story in you that you may not know is there.

Can you tell us something about your personal life – inspirations, plans for the future, goals, etc.?
I look forward to writing every day. Sometimes an entire goes by and suddenly, my boys are home from school. If I’m lucky, I’ll still be writing, wondering where the day went, many years from now. My grandmother’s books are on my shelf in my home office. I’d feel extremely fortunate if I was able to publish as many as she did.


Fran said...

Great interview, Janet and Kathryn!

Janet Fox said...

It was so much fun meeting you last week - I can't wait to give all you guys a launch interview! Such an awesome bunch of books.