Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Because of A Book with Kami Garcia

Today we welcome Kami Garcia, the other half of the writing duo that is bringing us Beautiful Creatures in December.  Thank you for stopping by today, Kami!

I grew up outside of Washington DC, but it always felt like I had one foot in the South. By the time I was thirteen, my family moved in with my grandmother and great-grandmother, and we had four generations of women living under the same roof - two born and bred in North Carolina. I grew up drinking sweet tea, eating vegetables cooked with a little bacon grease, and biscuits made from scratch. I mean, didn't everyone's great-grandma know how to skin a chicken, tat lace, and make dresses without a pattern?

I wasn’t exactly like either of them. I wore a lot of black, a lot of rings, and spent hours writing in my journals. By the time I graduated high school, I had probably filled a hundred of them and gotten my friends more than a few dates with my poems. That was the beginning of writing for me.

I have an MA in education, and taught in the DC area until I moved to Los Angeles ten years ago. In addition to writing YA fiction, I am a Reading Specialist and continue to teach and lead book groups for children and teens, part-time. I have learned more from my students than I ever learned in school. I still live in LA, with my husband, son, and daughter. Random Stuff: I’m very superstitious and have lots of charms. I love disaster movies, and I could easily live on pizza and Diet Coke.

My debut novel, Beautiful Creatures, written with my best friend and co-author, Margaret Stohl, will be in stores December 2009.

I was always a little different than other kids, but in third grade those differences felt more significant. My friends were getting taller, dressing cooler. I was size of a first grader, and still wearing those geeky Keds with the rubber on the toes. Most of my friends’ parents were married, and the only steps they had in their houses led to the bedrooms. Mine were divorced, and even though I couldn’t remember a time when they were married, I wished they were still together. But more than that, I wanted to fit in – to be like everyone else. It wasn’t like I was an outcast, but I still felt different when all I wanted was to feel was the same. Until I met Pippi.

I was digging around the shelves of my elementary school library when I found a battered copy of Pippi Longstocking. One look at the crooked house on the cover, and I knew I had the right book. I never imagined that the little redheaded girl inside would be just as perfectly crooked as Villa Vilekulla– as crooked as I felt most of the time.

Pippi didn’t live with her parents. She lived with a horse and monkey (which seemed more appealing to me). She slept backwards in her bed, ate weird things for breakfast, and looked sort of strange – skinny as a rail, running around in those untied boots. I didn’t have a monkey (although I begged my mom to let me get one), but I was the skinniest kid in my class and wore those geeky Keds. My father wasn’t the captain of a pirate ship, but he lived 3,000 miles away in California, which was basically the same thing as far as I was concerned.

Pippi changed everything for me. She was different, but she didn’t care. And she gave me the courage not to care either. So nonconformity became my thing, and even though my mom was embarrassed to walk around the mall with me, after I let my best friend cut my hair so I looked like one of the members of A Flock of Seagulls, I didn’t care. I did my own thing. Wrote poetry in my notebooks. Wore a lot of black. Hung out with whoever I wanted—cool or not. It was my version of Pippi’s striped socks.

So if you think about it, Pippi started it all. She was the first Caster Girl. Oh, and I never got a monkey, but I did get to hold one.


If you’re up for it, see what else I’m up to at:

And follow the rest of the Caster Girls at:

About Beautiful Creatures:  
There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.

At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Pre-order it at Amazon

About Pippi Longstocking:  She is very unconventional, assertive and extraordinarily strong, being able to lift her horse one-handed without difficulty. She frequently mocks and dupes adults she encounters, an attitude likely to appeal to young readers; however, Pippi usually reserves her worst behavior for the most pompous and condescending of adults. 

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at Powell's
Buy it at IndieBound


Taschima Cullen said...

Kami!!! She is great! Can't wait for BC ^^

Eyes Like Stars comes out today!!

Kami Garcia said...

Thanks so much for having me, Shelly! This is such a greta weekly feature. xxx

Liyana said...

I've never read Pippi Longstocking before. xD

bermudaonion said...

I grew up in a very traditional family, and I loved Pippi Longstocking too!

mstohl said...

That is so funny! I should have guessed Pippi. Kam, you are just like her. Except for the red hair and braids. But I think we could work on that, too. I do think you could lift a horse if you set your mind to it. There's probably nothing you or Pippi couldn't do if you set your mind to it...

I think Pippi was before her time, in that liberated/ing parent-free world, kind of like the Peanuts comic strip where the adults spoke in wordless blah blah blah. Pretty subversive.

And where does that leave me? I'm either Tommy or Annika. Sigh. I think I'd pick Tommy.

Great column, Shelly+Kami! xo

Rodger said...

Those are my daughters favorites, too. I saw you on Twitter and stopped on by your site. Neat layout.

Beth F said...

Count me as a Pippi fan! I loved the way her braids stuck out. Great post.

RAnn said...

I love Pippi!

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