Krista Van Dolzer is a stay-at-home mom by day and a children’s author by naptime. If someone had told her back in high school that she’d get a degree in math or English, she would have guessed English, no question, so of course she holds degrees in Mathematics Education and Economics from Brigham Young University. She lives with her husband and three kids in Mesquite, Nevada, and enjoys watching college football and researching her ancestors. She is the author of a forthcoming-but-as-yet-untitled debut (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015) and the forthcoming DUEL/DUET (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, Fall 2015).
For what age audience do you write?
I write both middle grade and young adult across several genres. My debut is historical science fiction, and DUEL/DUET is contemporary. Both of those are MG, but my latest is YA contemporary, so I’m kind of all over the place:)
Henry: We would expect no less from someone who cannot decide between English and Mathematics. ☺
Tell us about your latest book.
My debut hasn’t come out yet–it doesn’t even have a title–but it should come out sometime toward the beginning of next year. I have a longer summary on my blog, but suffice it to say that it’s about a twelve-year-old girl who, through a series of scientific shenanigans, ends up meeting and befriending a Japanese boy. Since the story is set in small-town America in the 1950s, their friendship ruffles quite a few feathers.
Henry: How about “Small-town Scientific Sausage Shenanigans” as the title? You’re welcome.
What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?
That we’re all different, that those differences should never be used as a reason to treat one another unkindly, and that pork links are capable of bringing people together (unless, of course, they’re vegetarian).
Henry: Indeed, pork links remind us to stop the senseless violence against plant life.
What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?
Every aspect? Is that an acceptable answer? The truth is, I struggle with something new every time I sit down to write. (Lately, I’ve been having a tough time with line editing, but if you ask me next week, I’m sure I’ll have a different answer.) I know that’s kind of cliché, but it’s true.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Stop listening to advice. Writing is such a personal thing, and the only person who can teach you how to write is you. You have to read, of course–in fact, I daresay you have to read more than you write, at least at first–but aside from that, you just have to stick your butt in that chair and figure things out for yourself.
Do you have any strange rituals that you observe when you write?
I don’t eat, drink, or listen to music when I write, ever. I think most writers would find all three of those strange.
Henry: What about pork links!?
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
It’s not really a superpower, but I’d love to borrow Hermione’s Time-Turner sometime.
Henry: Being able to slow or stop time is the most popular response to that question by authors.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
As my introduction mentioned, I really like watching college football (and tennis!) and researching my ancestors. I’m a budding genealogist, so I like digging through old census records for fun. (For the record, the 1900 United States Census is my all-time fave).
Henry: Genealogy is fun. I found relatives we didn’t know about and uncovered family relationships with mayors, presidents, Ralph Lauren, and Madeleine L’Engle.
What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
“Loving wife, mom, and friend.” Boring, I know, but those are the only things that really matter, right?
Henry: Agreed. But there’s no law that says you cannot have a pork link also engraved on the tombstone.
Where can readers find your work?
This interview is also posted on the San Diego Children’s Book Examiner.