Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of multiple books including Becoming Chloe, The Day I Killed James, and the upcoming release Diary of a Witness which will be released on August 25 of this year.
KBB: Were you a big writer or reader growing up? What about now? Do you prefer writing your own books or reading someone else’s?
CRH: I was a huge reader when I was a kid. I was into Dr Seuss (still am, really), Winnie the Pooh. Then the whole Black Stallion Series (along with My Friend Flicka, the Misty books, and just about every other horse book I could get my hands on). Then I got into High School and the books my teachers assigned pretty much killed my love for reading. Fortunately, I was able to get it back. A lot of people don’t. I still read, but it’s hard to find time, because I don’t read while I have a novel in progress. Plus, to answer your final question, I really like writing my own books better than reading. But reading will always have its important place.
KBB: What was your favorite book growing up and what about now? Do you have a favorite or do you just love them all?
CRH: I have a handful of favorites. Flowers for Algernon. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Cat’s Cradle. Bless the Beasts and Children. I think Flowers for Algernon was my #1.
Now is harder. Maybe there isn’t any one. But I loved The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I read tons of YA. Probably 80% of what I read is YA.
KBB: What would you consider the best moment in your writing career?
CRH: I guess I would have to say my invitation to the (Bill Clinton) White House (for the screening of the Pay It Forward movie).
KBB: Is one of your books your favorite and if so, why?
CRH: Becoming Chloe is my favorite. It’s hard to wrap my head around why. In some ways I think I just have a strong heart connection with the characters. But I also like the issue they are facing. The world is so beautiful. And it’s so horrible. Can we love it just the way it is? It’s really not an easy question.
KBB: How long does it usually take you to write a book?
CRH: Well, I’ve been doing one adult and one YA every year for some time now. It’s a pretty hectic pace, but so far I’m managing.
KBB: Where do you get your ideas for your books?
CRH: I wish I knew. Then I would never be without an idea. I think this is the classic writer question, and I think the reason it keeps coming up is that we have never answered it to your satisfaction. Because we don’t know. It’s all imagination, which is a very mysterious process. But I will say that I study human nature with great interest, and that helps.
KBB: Do you have any new books in the works? If so, can you tell us anything about them?
CRH: I have two coming out this year. A young adult here in the U.S called Diary of a Witness. About two teenage boys on the low end of the social totem pole in high school. One of whom is starting to lose it over the abuse they’re taking. I also have an adult novel coming out in the U.K. in September about the bond between a middle-aged man and the boy he discovered abandoned in a pile of leaves in the woods the day after he was born. It spans decades of their lives.
My next YA is due out in the Fall of 2010, and it’s about a 16-year-old girl who falls in love with her older next-door neighbor before realizing he is transgender (female to male in transition). I love taking on brave subjects that get people thinking and talking (or yelling as the case may be) and I’m really looking forward to that release.
I have another YA on my editor’s desk, but it’s too early to spill the beans. I don’t even have her reaction to it yet. I’ll just say it’s the only time I’ve ever returned to existing characters (from another of my books) and written more of their story.
KBB: Is there anything else you would like to tell your readers?
CRH: Just that I really appreciate my YA audience because they are so accepting of so many titles I’ve written, and very rarely stuck at Pay It Forward like many of my adult readers. I’m working on book #15, so you can imagine at this point in my career it’s a great relief to be treated as a multi-book author. It’s not the only reason I appreciate my YA audience, though. There are many. Oddly I learned the joys of a YA readership when Pay It Forward came out. Yet those are the readers who moved on to try more of my books. Thank you! Not sure where I would be without you.
KBB: Thanks so much, Catherine! I am looking forward to more books from you in the future. Readers, here is your chance to win a copy of Becoming Chloe.
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