Kate Gordon-Smith, founder of the Kiwi Kids’ Bookstore, answers a few questions about her writing life.
What inspires you to write for 9-12 year olds?
Thanks to my family, I loved books and reading from a young age. Around the age of 9 or 10, I remember feeling a real sense of escapism and adventure in the books that I was reading. I was obsessed with horses; everything had to be about horses! (My poor non-horsy parents…) I didn’t have a horse of my own then, so getting lost in a book about horses was the closest I could get. It was magical, discovering the power of story-telling, and it fuelled my love of reading then and now. That sense of magic, of being lost in a story to the exclusion of real life, that’s what inspires me to write for 9-12 year olds. I hope I can offer today’s 9-12 year olds the chance to make new friends and embark on many exciting adventures through the stories I tell. In many ways, I’m writing for the girl I once was who wanted nothing more than a book about horses and a comfy chair.
What have you read lately for this age group and what did you enjoy about the book?
Right now, I’m hanging out to read Donna Blaber’s new book “Just Remember”. If it’s anywhere as good as “Just End It”, it’s going to be a fantastic contemporary read for 9-12 year olds. Donna blends some tricky-to-navigate aspects of real life with magical realism to create awesome stories. I wish there had been more books by New Zealanders for this age group when I was that age.
What are you working on at present? Are you going to publish it and when?
I am working on book two in the Unicorn King series called “Sasha and the Warrior Unicorn”. It carries on from “Lily and the Unicorn King” with Sasha and the Unicorn King’s lieutenant Sigvard taking the starring roles. The three friends and their ponies travel by a magic portal created by the unicorns to Scandinavia to help the unicorns rescue their patron, the good witch Celestina. It’s about 3/4 written and has sadly sat like this for months while I got KKRKB up and running. One day soon, I’m going to hustle myself back into finishing the first draft. And then there’s the editing and revisions. It will be published some time this year!