Saturday, August 18, 2012

Interview with Kimberly Willis Holt


Q.  Piper is obviously a tad reluctant to move again (new friends, the loss of the Gypsy Club), as one who had to relocate a lot, what advice would you and Piper give to children who are either moving or experiencing change? 

I'm currently going through a move myself so I'm going to take this advice myself. Look at your next destination as a new adventure. Stay true to who you are, but you can also reinvent yourself. For example if you didn't have a lot of friends in the place you lived because you waited for people to approach you, here's a chance to change that about yourself. Look at each new person as a potential friend. Step up and introduce yourself. Participate in something new, something you always wanted to try but were afraid to do so. Maybe you'd be great at soccer or chess. You'll never know, if you don't try. Moving to a new place gives you new opportunities.

Q. I moved frequently as well when I was younger (6 states and Canada before I was 12 -- I wish I’d had Piper Reed along to help me navigate!) – what does one gain when you are forced to move/make new friends?  

Moving a lot gives you confidence and makes you be more adaptable than most people who stay in one place. You may realize that until you're grown. Believe me, it's an asset. You'll be able to talk about almost anything to anyone. That's a gift that the military childhood or any childhood on the move gives you.

Q.  I often meet people who have NEVER moved (like my husband, born and raised in the same house, where his parents still live – it is mind boggling) – how different would Piper be if she wasn’t a “Navy Brat?” 

I think Piper would have been the sort of person who sought out adventures in her own backyard. My niece is like that. She's got a wonderful imagination and never ever is bored. She creates an adventure where others might not see anything.

Q.  Of all the places where you and Piper have lived – where would you want to visit again? 

 I've been fortunate. I've revisited every place that I've lived. Even Paris and Guam. One thing that might childhood provided me was the vision to make anyplace home. As long as my loved ones are there. 
Q.  I don’t have sisters – why do the changes Piper’s experiencing seem more complicated because she is 1 of 3 girls?!

Oh goodness, where do I begin? It's probably that each girl has her own distinct personality and sometimes those differences make life complicated. Sometimes they harmonize and make sister magic. 
Q.  What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?  
I reread Little Women over and over again. I also loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I guess those books reminded me of the military life. They were always moving.

Q,  What's the craziest writing idea you've had?

I haven't thought of it yet!

Q.  If Piper had a Pinterest board, what would be on it?  
The Blue Angels!

Q.  What do you foresee Piper doing at, say, 35?  
I think Piper will be a successful Navy Pilot who is finally getting to live her dream of being a Blue Angel. 
 
Kimberly Willis Holt is the author of the Piper Reed series, including Piper Reed, Navy Brat, Piper Reed, Clubhouse Queen, and Piper Reed, Rodeo Star. She has written many award-winning novels, includingThe Water Seeker and My Louisiana Sky, as well as the picture books Waiting for Gregory and Skinny Brown Dog. A former Navy brat herself, Holt was born in Pensacola, Florida, and lived all over the U.S. and the world—from Paris to Norfolk to Guam to New Orleans. Holt long dreamed of being a writer, but first worked as a radio news director, marketed a water park, and was an interior decorator, among other jobs. A few years after she started writing, her third book, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, won a National Book Award for Young People's Literature. She resides in West Texas with her family.  Visit her at What's New with Kimberly.