Saturday, October 6, 2012

Introducing: Kari Jo Spear

Hi! I'm the author of Under the Willow and Silent One

I live in northern Vermont, which, especially this time of year, is about the most beautiful place in the world. We're famous for our fall foliage, and I live right in the heart of foliage country. My commute to town is other people's idea of a vacation destination. This is the view outside my window.

My novels are set in Vermont, with a dash of science fiction and fantasy thrown in. I've lived here all my life, and so have my ancestors for at least five generations. The state's beauty and strength have inspired me, and yet here, as everywhere, is trouble and sadness, and that has all seeped into my writing as well. I work with high school students every day, so, in a sense, I live in a YA world. I see the stress many kids are under. But my characters cling to brightness and hope the way Vermont farms cling to rugged hillsides, and the way tough cedar trees grow out of narrow cracks in rocky cliffs.

Publishing YA fiction has been one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. I've been invited to speak to high school classes, I've signed books at our local independent bookstore, and people from around the world have read my stories. I've corresponded with a gay teenager in Turkey who fears for his safety if his secret gets out. He told me that he rereads Under the Willow when things get tough.

In keeping with the tradition started by other authors who've posted on this blog, I've been thinking about books that are on my shelves. I grew up (and this is probably going to date me) reading Walter Farley's The Black Stallion novels, Alexander Key's Escape to Witch Mountain, Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, Chaim Potok's My Name is Asher Lev, Richard Adam's Watership Down, Mary Stewart's Merlin Series, Katherine Kurtz's The Chronicles of the Deryni, and of course C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. More recently, I've read and loved Harry Potter. I can feel the influence of all these authors in my work, too.

Here is a link to the book trailer I made for the release of my second novel, Silent One. To watch it, click HERE
Thanks for reading!

Kari Jo Spear

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