Friday, January 15, 2010

Find Out Friday: Jo Knowles

What inspired you to write books for young adults?

I think because I really didn’t become a “reader” until I was a teen, I’ve always held those early, powerful books in my heart. They inspired me in so many ways--as a reader, a thinker and simply as a young person trying to make sense of the world.

Are you currently working on any other books?

Yes, my next book is called PEARL, and it is set to come out Spring 2011 with Henry Holt.

What is your favorite young adult book?

Oh my gosh. I could never have a favorite. The book that really set me on the course of becoming a reader and writer, though, is The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier.

Any specific author that really inspires you?

Just about everyone inspires me. But I love most of all authors who dare to tell it like it is.


What inspired you to write about the topic you did in Lessons From a Dead Girl? In Jumping Off Swings?

For Lessons From A Dead Girl, it was an article about kids abusing kids. For Jumping Off Swings, I wanted to explore how one event affects people in different yet profound ways--how no story is just one person’s story.

Are the covers of your novels what you imagined them to look like while you were writing?

I was totally shocked when I saw the cover for Lesson From A Dead Girl. I never would have thought of a door, but it was love at first sight. I think it portrays the story perfectly. With Jumping Off Swings, I had sent the image that is on the cover to my editor, explaining that I really liked it and suggested that maybe they could come up with something similar. Instead, they contacted the photographer and got permission to use the image! That was a really nice surprise.

Where did your character names come from in Lessons From a Dead Girl?

You know, I have no idea. The characters just came to me, names and all. That’s been the case so far in all of my books.

Was there any specific message you were trying to spread by writing Lessons From a Dead Girl?

I just wanted to explore, and, I guess expose, a type of abuse that no one talks about but that I think is quite common. The story came to me in such a strong way. I knew I had to tell it, no matter how uncomfortable or afraid it made me.


Thanks so much, Jo!

Click here to visit Jo's website.

Click here to read my review of Lessons From a Dead Girl!

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