Sunday, September 22, 2013


Who hasn't wanted to lose a few pounds? Joining us today is K. A. Barson, YA author of 45 POUNDS (MORE OR LESS) which debuted in July. Before we get to my interview with Kelly, here's a reminder that you can still ENTER THE GIVEAWAY explained in last week's post! And now, on to Kelly! Here's the book in a nutshell, courtesy of her website:


Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi's life:
She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks
and wants Ann to be the bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind:Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less)in two and a half months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, endless wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann's ever seen--and some surprises about her not-so-perfect mother.

And don't forget the last part of the equation: It's all about feeling comfortable in your own skin--no matter how you add it up!

Here's my interview with Kelly herself:

Please tell us a little about your everyday life.

I write in a series of sprints and rests. When I’m writing that’s pretty much the only thing I do. When I’m resting, I don’t write at all. I teach part time at a local university, so I work in my writing and resting around the academic schedule. I also spend time with my kids and grandkids whenever I can.


What inspired you to write 45 pounds (more or less)?

I wanted to write a story about a girl who is overweight, but that her struggle is mainly internal—how she viewed herself or imagined others saw her more than how they actually saw her. I didn’t want her to be a social outcast. I also wanted the story to be about family and self-discovery and realizing that not everyone is as they seem.


Besides your main character, who is your favorite character in this book and why?

Gram! I love Gram. She is a mash-up of my grandma, my mom as a grandma, and myself as a grandma. Much of the over-the-top personality of Gram is based on my grandma. She was a quite a character.


Do you have a favorite scene in this book?

My favorite scene is a dressing room scene, but not the one that people talk about the most. For me, my favorite was the one where Ann’s mom crawled under the door to get to Ann and comfort her. Ann’s mom takes a lot of heat; people think she’s a bad mom. But she isn’t. She loves Ann and wants the best for her. She just has her own demons to battle.


Did you always know how this book would end, or did it change as you wrote it?

I didn’t know what would happen, but I knew how I wanted it to feel.


Is there anything you can tell us about how your cover was designed?

I don’t know very much about it. The only input I had was that I didn’t want a super-thin, beautiful girl depicted on the cover. I think Viking did an amazing job with it. I really like the colors and the font. I never thought I’d get so excited about a font.


Can you tell us a little about your path to publication?

45 POUNDS is not the first book I’d finished and tried to get published. I wrote and submitted and took a lot of classes and workshops—ICL, SCBWI, Highlights Foundation, VCFA—and wrote some more and submitted. In short, I kept trying, even when one manuscript didn’t seem like it was going anywhere. Eventually, I got a “yes.”


What’s next for you?

My next book is another contemporary YA. It’s about a high school cosmetology student, and it takes place in the same town as 45 POUNDS—a fictionalized version of my own town, Jackson, MI. Ann and Raynee, characters from 45 POUNDS, make a cameo appearance.


Do you have any marketing advice for other writers?

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and meet people. Go to conferences and workshops. Make friends with other writers. They’re the best people in the world—they “get” what you’re going through, they love to talk about books, and they’re generous. There are so many marketing opportunities. Do what you can, but don’t feel like you have to do everything. Always make sure you leave yourself enough time to write.
Thanks, Kelly, for joining us!



Natalie Aguirre said...

Great interview. I loved Kelly's advice to writers.

And 45 Pounds is a fantastic story. I loved it. And I don't read much contemporary.

K.A. Barson said...

Thanks for the interview, Tracy!

Kristin Lenz said...

I really enjoyed this novel. Fun to see that Kelly's favorite character was Gram - she cracked me up.

I was planning to interview Kelly too, but Tracy beat me to it! :)

Colette Ballard said...

this sounds like a great book! Thanks for the interview! :)

Lisa Tapp said...

Thanks for the interview, Tracy. 45 Pounds just made my TBR list. :)

Lisa Tapp said...

Thanks for the interview, Tracy. 45 Pounds just made my TBR list. :)

Unknown said...

This is EXACTLY the book I was looking for as a teen!!!! I would have devoured it.

Kim Van Sickler said...

Kelly practices what she preaches! I just met her Saturday at the Northern Ohio SCBWI Conference. She sat on two debut author panels. She's awesome!