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  • Writer's pictureMary Boone

Six Questions with Kari Gonzalez


Kari Ann Gonzalez is a children’s writer. Her debut picture book, How to Hatch a Reader, won the Northern Lights Picture Book award for humor and she is eagerly awaiting her next picture books How to Hatch a Writer and If You Live on a Farm releasing in 2025 along with more titles to be announced soon! Kari loves writing funny and sometimes lyrical picture books. She also writes middle-grade and young adult novels-in-verse. ​Four plucky chickens are kind enough to share their home with Kari, her husband, and their two little girls. Visit Kari's website to learn more about her and her work.

Twitter: @karianngonzale1 

 Instagram: Kari_Gonzalez_Writes

Facebook: Kari Gonzalez

Bluesky: @karigonzalezwrites 


1. How do you know your idea will make a good book?

Any time I get a story idea in my head that begs to be written, I stop myself and evaluate the idea. Does it have three hooks? If not, I go back to the drawing board. Once I have three hooks dialed in, I check the idea with my kids. Seriously! They love books. If they wouldn’t read it, it may be missing the fun factor and I’m back to the drawing board. Once they sign off, I check out the marketplace to see if the story has already been done in both published books and announcements. I have had some stellar ideas only to discover a similar book has already been published or was just announced, or is releasing soon. I learned this the hard way!

 

2. What’s the best piece of advice a mentor has given you?

When self-doubt crept in, I had an amazing mentor who shared “The only opportunity you will regret is one that you didn’t take.” Rather than getting stressed about crafting stories that fell into contest parameters or preparing for a contest or pitch event, I embraced these opportunities for the ability to hone my craft and network with other folks in the kidlit community. It completely took the pressure off of a win and helped me hone in on the fact that I am writing because I LOVE IT, and if I placed in a contest that was just the icing on the cake. Suddenly the opportunities became more fun than stressful, and an incredible opportunity to cheer our fellow kidlit community on as well!

 

3. Do you work on multiple projects at the same time?

Oh, yes! I am always crafting a new story idea and working on a revision or two. When I get stuck on a project, I move to the next in my rotation until creativity strikes on the first story again. Writer’s block is real and having multiple projects to work on at one time keeps things fresh for me. Sometimes all a manuscript needs is time to give you a fresh perspective.

 

4. Was this always the title for this project? If not, what other titles did you consider and how did you land on this one?

The original title of How to Hatch a Reader was Teach Your Chickens to Read. What a difference a title can make! My publisher and I even joked about it and agreed to rename it. We wanted the title to convey reading/readers, and hint at chickens. I tested out at least 20 different titles but How to Hatch a Reader captured the heart of my story the most. My family is a great sounding board, so naturally I asked them. It was a winner! Then, I ran the title past my critique group and my editor and it was a resounding YES! The sequel to this story was a little easier to name…How to Hatch a Writer!

 

5. If you could tell readers one secret about this book, what would it be?

Well, if you don’t mind a little potty humor…when I was filming the unboxing video, I decided it would be a great idea to hold one of the chickens that inspired this story! It was an excellent idea and went so well until my chicken needed a potty break while we were filming. Ahem…take 2 and this time there were no poop-a-doodle-doos!

 

6. If you read this book to a room filled with kids, what message would you want them to leave with?

I would love for kids to take away that learning to read takes practice and they should celebrate every milestone and success along the way, preferably with a funky chicken dance party!


Are you a traditionally published middle-grade or picture book author or illustrator? Would you like to be featured in this Six Questions blog? We have opening beginning in late 2024; email mary@boonewrites.com for more information.

 


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