Friday, June 7, 2013

All About Middle Grade Interview: Kristen Kittscher (author of Wig in the Window)

Today, I am very, very excited to have debut author Kristen Kittscher, author of The Wig in the Window, stopping by to answer a couple of questions.

About the author:
Kristen Kittscher grew up in over 13 cities, including San Francisco, Dallas, and London but she feels most at home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, Kai, and their hopelessly spoiled cat and dog. A graduate of Brown University and former English teacher, she now writes funny mysteries for the precocious middle-schoolers she once enjoyed teaching so much. Her debut novel, THE WIG IN THE WINDOW, comes out in June 2013 with Harper Children’s.
You can haunt Kristen Kittscher at-
Goodreads | Twitter | Website |

Mind telling us a little about your debut, The Wig in the Window?

I’d love to! Sophie Young & Grace Yang are best friends and seventh graders whose game of spying on their neighbors turns real when they stake out the home of notoriously phony middle school counselor Dr. Charlotte Agford (aka Dr. Awkward) and stumble across a terrifying scene.

But do they really? Dr. Agford manages to explain everything away, but the girls are convinced that her sugary sweet façade hides a dark secret. As the Sophie and Grace get closer to the truth about Agford, the strain of the investigation pushes the two farther apart. They might crack their case, but it’s not clear whether their friendship will survive.

I’m a big fan of Hitchcock, and I originally set out to write a REAR WINDOW for kids, with a good dose of comedy mixed in. Though it’s a mystery, the girls’ perceptions, doubts, and friendship struggles are at the heart of it.

I am an absolute fan of MG mysteries because they are just so much fun to read. What inspired you to write The Wig in the Window? Did you always plan on writing a middle grade mystery?

I’m so glad to hear you are a fan!

Writing a middle grade mystery came as a bit of a surprise, actually. Many years ago, while doing some writing exercises at a conference I attended as an English teacher, I reminisced about some pretend spy games I’d played with a childhood friend. Years later, I stumbled across my notes and thought it might be fun to turn it into a story that funny, precocious kids like my seventh grade English students might enjoy.

Sophie and Grace both sound like interesting characters, can you tell us what makes them special? Why do you think readers will like Sophie and Grace?

Sophie Young & Grace Yang are of course special in their own rights, but I think it’s the way they play off of each other that is the most interesting. Like their yin/yang last names suggest, the two are opposites who nonetheless rely on each other. In Sophie’s eyes, Grace is far cooler and bolder than she – so much so that, much to Grace’s annoyance, Irish-American Sophie even goes so far as to appropriate elements of Grace’s Chinese heritage – arranging her room according to feng shui principles, taking up tai chi, studying ancient Chinese philosophy. Grace is impatient with Sophie’s self-doubt; she doesn’t understand why Sophie doesn’t see her own strengths and boldness.

I hope readers will admire their spunk and sharp wits, and feel for them through the ups and downs of their friendship.

Let's talk mysteries. What are a couple of your favorite mystery books and authors? Why?

I could go on for hours! I’ll stick with my favorite authors of mysteries for kids to narrow down the list a bitJ

Top Five Classics: Ellen Raskin (THE WESTING GAME), E.L. Konigsberg (FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES), John Bellairs (THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS), Louise Fitzhugh (HARRIET THE SPY)


While these authors represent quite a range, they do share some essential characteristics: they never condescend to their young audiences and give their stories very high stakes. Quite a few of them infuse their books with a good bit of humor, too.

I admire these qualities – and always try to do the same in my own writing, even if I fall short.

If you had to pick a song to describe The Wig in the Window, which would it be? Why?

Hmmm. Let’s say Chubby Chucker’s “The Twist.” WIG might have one or two of those…

The a mystery going on in your neighborhood and you have to go into deep cover behind enemy lines, describe your legend and how you would keep your enemies from recognizing you?

I’m afraid I can’t reveal such sensitive information… What makes you think I’m not under deep cover in my neighborhood right now?:-)

The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 

Percy Jackson is the clear choice here. Given his ability to control water, a rusty fate would be in store for our potential robot overlords! (Aquaman’s a close second, but I think all he can do is talk to dolphins and swim fast?)

Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

Welcome to my neurotic world: I constantly change writing locations. If the going was tough one day, the next I’ll pick a different chair or view or entirely new location.

I do have a detached office in my backyard where I write (picture attached – right now it had a collage of pics I use for inspiration on my current book), but I also go to libraries, coffee shops, and – I hate to admit it – write in bed, too. There is one constant, though. I always bring my “writing knight” with me. A dear friend’s father -- a writer and scholar I looked up to --used to keep it on his desk when he was still alive.  My friend passed it along to me when I sold The Wig in the Window. I like to think it brings me luck.

Any upcoming projects that you can share with us?

Sure! Thanks for asking. I’m under contract for a sequel, THE TIARA ON THE TERRACE. This time Young & Yang go undercover Miss Congeniality-style as “pages” in their town festival’s Royal Court in order to stop a murderer. It’s loosely based on the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, where I live. Lots of hijinks in this one – and I’m having fun playing around with such a rich setting!

Kristen, thank you so much for stopping by. I haven't even read The Wong in the Window, yet, but am already excited over the premise of book two.

The Wig in the Window (Young & Yang, 1) by Kristen Kittscher, June 18, 2013. Published by HarperCollin's Childrens.
Sophie Young and Grace Yang have made a game of spying on their neighbors, but when they stake out the home of notoriously phony middle school counselor Dr. Charlotte Agford (aka Dr. Awkward), they stumble across a terrifying scene.
Or do they? The girls are convinced that Dr. Agford’s sugary sweet façade hides a dark secret. But as they get closer to the truth about Agford, the strain of the investigation pushes Sophie and Grace farther apart. Even if they crack their case, will their friendship survive?
Perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Wig in the Window is a smart, funny middle-grade mystery with a Rear Window twist.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I read, and am working on replying, to all the comments y'all leave. All comments are moderated by me, so, if you don't see it automatically that's why.
Psst, there is no "Word Verification" on the comments. =)

Keep on being awesome!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin