Thursday, October 22, 2015

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Katy Newton Naas

Katy Newton Naas has written several books that 5 Girls has been fortunate enough to review! There will even be giveaways soon of each of the 4 books! 

Angel interviewed Katy Newton Naas and we hope you enjoy the interview!  

Interview Conducted by
Angel

1. In the book, Guardian, what made you choose the characters and create them the way you did?

 I think a lot of my inspiration for my characters comes from my own experiences in middle and high school, and especially from my students. I teach middle school reading and high school English, so I am around pre-teens and teens all day. I don't pick specific students and model the characters after them, but certain traits from certain students always influence my characters. I have known many sweet, quiet girls like Kinsey and, unfortunately, I've also known the "mean girls" like Taylor Thompson.

2. How many books have you written?

Well...let me count! :) My fifth and sixth published novels are about to be released. I have two YA - THE VISITORS and HEALING RAIN; and two MG - GUARDIAN and OPERATION: BULLY RENOVATION that are already available. THE DEEP END is a new YA that will be releasing very soon, as well as DRAKE THE DANDY, a children's chapter book that is due to release at the end of October. I have another MG novel, an adult novel, and a series of children's chapter books that I am hoping to find a home for in the publishing world very soon as well. Oh, and several picture books! I like to dabble a little in lots of different genres.  

3. Which book are you most proud of?

Aww...this is a tough one! It's like asking a mother which of her kids she likes the best. :) I am proud of all of my books - every time I'm writing one, it consumes so much of my time, energy, and mind and seeing it in print is such an incredible feeling. But if I had to pick one, I would probably say GUARDIAN is the one I'm most proud of. I love the story, but I'm especially proud of it because with every copy that's sold, a portion is donated to a training facility for service dogs, a cause that I feel very passionately about.

4. What inspired you to write Guardian?

The idea came from a student in a school where I used to teach. She had epilepsy and a seizure assistance dog came to school with her every day. I didn't actually have her in class and didn't know her personally, but I was always fascinated by her dog. I am a dog-lover and have always been amazed by how smart they are, but the fact that he was able to sense her seizures and alert her before they happened was just amazing.
 
5. What initially was your inspiration to become a writer?

I have always loved to tell stories! I used to make up stories and hold my family "captive" for hours, telling them stories. Sometimes they got me in trouble...sometimes I would make up scary ones and tell them to my little brother. :) I won a contest in second grade for a short story I had written, and as part of the prize, I got to turn it into a "real" book to display at a conference. I was hooked after that. I mostly wrote poems and short stories in a journal growing up, but I started writing full-length novels in my early twenties.

6. If writing didn't work out, what would your "Plan B" be?

I have always been writing, but I've only been a published writer for about a year. Writing has always been a part of my life, even before I was able to share my stories with anybody. But, as I said above, I am a teacher, also. I've been teaching for nine years now, and I write in my "free" time (which usually means late at night, because I also have two small boys and a husband at home to take care of!)

7. Does Drake relate to a dog that you might have or have had?

I have been lucky to have a lot of good dogs in my life. I have three dogs now, all with three very different personalities and I love them so much. I would say some of my inspiration for Drake came from a particularly loyal dog I had a few years back named Bella. I was going through some rough things in my personal life, and I knew without a doubt that she understood how I was feeling and took care of me by staying by my side when I needed her. Dogs are amazingly smart.

8. Have you won any awards for your books?

Other than the Young Authors Award in elementary school a few times, no! Haha But I hope to eventually. :)

9. When did you start writing?

Well, I kind of answered this in a question before, but I will elaborate a little. I was in elementary school when I first started writing poems and short stories (outside of school, anyway). I kept them in a journal that I hid under a dresser drawer and never let anyone read them. I continued it through junior high and high school, but I kind of took a little break from it in college. I was an English major, which meant all I did was read and write papers for my classes....I didn't have any time to read and write for fun! After I got out of college and started teaching, I started writing again during breaks from school. It wasn't until my early twenties that I finished a full novel and it wasn't until a few years later that I even considered trying to publish. But I love it and hope I get to keep doing it for a long time!

10. What do you think about our blog?

I love it! I think it's awesome when readers blog about books they've read, but yours is special because the reviews are done by young readers who are actually in the age range that I write for. Usually, reviews come from adults (which I love and appreciate, too...don't get me wrong) but it's always great to hear from a younger reader's perspective.

11. What are your thoughts on our reviews?

I should have read this question before I answered the last one! Haha but like I said above, I think it's great for young readers to review books. If the writer's target audience is middle grade, it's great for kids in that age range to give feedback.

12. Do you have any advice for young writers?

The best advice I ever got was to read, read, read! Read lots of books by lots of different authors. You don't want to COPY those authors, obviously, but you will pick up little tips to help you create your own style of writing. Plus, it will improve your vocabulary tremendously. 

13. Any other interesting info/facts about you?


Well, I am a huge animal lover! We currently have three dogs, three cats, a pond full of fish that we take care of, and eight ducks. And that may change tomorrow - we are always taking in stray animals. We live out in the country, so we have a lot of space for our animals to roam. We love them!

--Thank you so much Katy! Followers...watch for the upcoming giveaways of her amazing books!