Saturday, April 9, 2016

0 Kelly Barson, author of CHARLOTTE CUTS IT OUT, on focusing on the story-telling process

We're delighted to have Kelly Barson with us to share more about her latest novel CHARLOTTE CUTS IT OUT.

Kelly, what was your inspiration for writing CHARLOTTE CUTS IT OUT? 

My daughter attended the cosmetology program at our county's local trade high school a few years ago. She did not want to go to a traditional university and wanted to pursue her dream of becoming a stylist instead. Her experience sparked the idea, but overall, it is fictional.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa? 

If readers read and liked my first book, 45 Pounds (more or less), they might like this one too. In fact, two of the main characters from 45 Pounds make a cameo appearance in Charlotte. Fans of Susane Colasanti, Sarah Dessen, and Rainbow Rowell might also like it.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc? 

I work at home in a very tiny office. There is only room for me and my three dogs. My cat waltzes through occasionally. I like to work in quiet with limited distractions. I'm easily distracted. I tend to work in bursts. I go periods of time without writing and then struggle to get back in the groove. Finally, once I'm immersed, I get big chunks done. I aspire to be steadier though. 

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers? 

Focus on the story-telling process, not the submission process. Writing is happy making; submitting is angsty. Don't compare your success (or perceived lack thereof) to other writers. You are you; be you. They are them; be happy for them. It's hard. Writing is so solitary, we long for validation, and it's tough to see others get it, especially if yours isn't coming as quickly as you'd like. Don't give up. Keep plugging away, telling your stories. Validation will come when you least expect it. I say validation instead of publishing because that angst doesn't go away after you get an agent or a book contract. After that, there are more book contracts, trade reviews, awards, etc. There is always something. That's why we need to find validation by knowing we told the best true stories to the best of our abilities, and be proud of them.


Charlotte Cuts It Out
by Kelly Barson
Viking Books for Young Readers
Released 4/5/2016

Lydia and I were in eighth grade when we came up with our Grand Plan to go to cosmetology school and get jobs to build our clientele while we earned business degrees. Then we’d open our own salon . . .

Now Charlotte and Lydia are juniors, in a Cosmetology Arts program where they’ll get on-the-job training and college credits at the same time. The Grand Plan is right on schedule. Which means it’s time for Step Two: Win the Winter Style Showcase, where Cos Arts and Fashion Design teams team up to dazzle the judges with their skills. Charlotte is sure that she and Lydia have it locked up—so sure, in fact, that she makes a life-changing bet with her mother, who wants her to give up cos for college.

And that’s when things start going off the rails.

As the clock ticks down to the night of the Showcase, Charlotte has her hands full. Design divas. Models who refuse to be styled. Unexpectedly stiff competition. And then, worst of all, Lydia—her BFF and Partner in Cos—turns out to have a slightly different Grand Plan ...

Like 45 Pounds (More or Less), K.A. Barson’s Charlotte Cuts it Out is a funny, relatable story set in the heart of the Midwest, just right for girls who have big dreams of their own.

Purchase Charlotte Cuts It Out at Amazon
Purchase Charlotte Cuts It Out at IndieBound
View Charlotte Cuts It Out on Goodreads


K.A. (Kelly) Barson earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She and her husband live in Jackson, Michigan, surrounded by kids, grandkids, unruly dogs, a cat, and too many pairs of shoes. She feels most like herself when her hair is purple.

Have you had a chance to read CHARLOTTE CUTS IT OUT yet? Do animals assist you with the writing process? Are you able to focus on the happiness of writing rather than the angst of submitting? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Anisaa, Sam, Erin, Susan, Lindsey, Sarah, and Kristin

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