This week I am pleased to have Katie Williams, author of The Space Between Trees, joining me on the blog. Look for my review of Katie's book to come later this week
After high school, Katie studied English at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and figured out that she liked writing stories almost as much as she liked reading them. This led her to earn an MFA in creative writing from the generous Michener Center for Writers at University of Texas in Austin.
Katie currently lives in San Francisco, California, where she works as a writing instructor at Academy of Art University. She loves Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns, cinnamon ice cream, orange cats, and her husband, Ulysses Loken.
You can find Katie online at Katie Williams Books.
Because of a Book
Waiting for Witches
Roald Dahl, sir, wherever you may be—bits of your spirit curled, I’m certain, in the bubbles of my soda pop—you owe me lost sleep. 534 nights’ worth, to be precise. A year and a half. That’s how long it took me to start sleeping soundly again after reading your novel, The Witches.
I was eight years old when I read it, and I knew right away that those witches had to be real, even as I simultaneously knew that they couldn’t be. After all, by that time, I’d been taught what a novel was: A made-up story. Still. Square toes! Long gloves to cover claws! Flared nostrils at the dog-poo scent of children! No author could make up such strange, almost comical, personal stats. It was imaginarily impossible! So that settled it. The witches were real, and I was not closing my eyes, lest I wake up trapped in the picture hung on my parents’ living room wall. (The girl in the book, you remember, got stuck in a painting of a lovely cottage. The picture in our living room was a portrait of my mother’s three cats, and I wasn’t sure what they’d do to me if I appeared on the canvas smaller than them!)
Oh, it was hard to stay awake every night. Sometimes I’d turn on the lamp and read from my stack of library books until my eyes grew heavy. Other times I’d cast a spell on myself, an illusion that allowed for sleep, so that if a witch did creep into my bedroom she’d see not a slumbering child but one who was wide awake and watching her warily. Most often I’d bother my parents, marching out into the living room where the TV squawked laughter at them and they laughed back at it. I’d stand in the doorway until one of them noticed me and nudged the other. “Again?” they’d say. They promised that if I stayed in bed every night for two weeks, I could get my ears pierced. That worked. For two weeks. And then I was up again, waiting for witches.
So you can see, Mr. Dahl, you owe me quite a lot.
But it’s also true that I owe you. I owe you for knowing that scary is best when it’s a little bit funny and that sad is often tinged with happy, because in real life our emotions are rarely packaged one to a tidy box. I owe you for being one of the only children’s authors who understood that children like to be told appalling and inappropriate things, to be let in on a few secrets of the adult world, to be treated, in short, like real people. And I owe you, most of all, for teaching me that a well-written story is powerful enough to follow you out into the real world.
Let’s call it even then, shall we? Unless, that is, my novel, The Space Between Trees, contains a sliver of your storytelling magic, in which case, I think I’m the one with the debt, and I don’t imagine I’ll ever be able to pay you back.
Buy it at IndieBound
Buy it at Chronicle Books
Chronicle Books has generously offered an autographed copy of The Space Between Trees to one of my readers. Please comment with why you'd like to read this book and don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win. You have a week to enter. This giveaway will end at midnight on Tuesday, Aug. 3rd.