Friday, September 11, 2015

Interview with K.L. Going, Author of PIECES OF WHY + Giveaway

What can readers expect from Pieces of Why?

Pieces of Why is an emotional read about a young girl (Tia) growing up in New Orleans who has a powerful singing voice, but she also has a lot of obstacles to overcome if she’s going to succeed. Parts of the story are tough – Tia’s father is in prison for murder, her mother hides from their problems, and her community is reeling from a tragic event that happens at the beginning of the book -- but hopefully readers will find that there’s also redemption and joy by the end. My hope is that the overall experience of the novel will be uplifting, offering readers a chance to work through some tough issues in a safe environment. And along the way, they’ll have a chance to experience the beauty and color of New Orleans and maybe they’ll find themselves inspired to check out some incredible music.

What pieces of music or songs most remind you of Tia or other characters in the story?

I actually have a dream playlist! This is the list of songs I imagine would be on the Pieces of Why Soundtrack… Enjoy!
1) When the Saints Go Marching In performed by Louis Armstrong – Classic New Orleans!

2) Come on Children, Let's Sing performed by Mahalia Jackson – Mahalia Jackson is one of Ms. Marion and Tia's favorite singers and this song showcases the spirit of gospel music.
3) His Eye Is On the Sparrow performed by Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston is another one of Tia's favorites; this is an example of a slower gospel song.
4) Banks of the Pontchartrain performed by Nanci Griffith – Tia's mom listens to Nanci Griffith; Lake Ponchartrain is located nearby.

5) Amazing Grace – performed by The Mississippi Mass Choir – Here's an adult gospel choir showing us how it's done!

6) Deep River performed by Mahalia Jackson – This is the song that Ms. Marion sings when she gives Tia her lesson.

7) There is Hope performed by Mississippi Children's Choir – This is exactly the kind of song I imagine Tia's choir singing.

8) My Zydeco Shoes – performed by Zydeco All-Stars – Not only is zydeco a classic New Orleans sound, but it's also the type of music Keisha's folks would dance to at Le Bon Temps Roule.

9) Burn performed by One Voice Children's Choir – Another example of what I imagine the Rainbow Choir singing; one of the leads reminds me so much of Tia! (Available on YouTube)

10) Heal the World performed by CBS Children's Choir (of Seoul Korea) – Children's voices are so powerful! I love the fact that we can watch and listen to singers from all around the world. (Available on YouTube)

11) Note to God performed by Charice – This is the song Tia imagines singing for the Raven woman.

12) Pyramid performed Charice (featuring Iyaz) – This is Keisha and Tia's favorite song that they sing with Kenny at the end.

Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard? 

My writing days vary tremendously. I have a six year old son who just started kindergarten, so I’m returning to a more structured day that revolves around his school schedule. That said, I still find that my writing is largely unpredictable.
SFOISome days, I’ll write from the time he leaves until the time I pick him up from school. When I’m *on* I can write twenty pages in a day. But that’s exceeding rare. The planets have to align for days like that to happen. Ha.

Other days, I might sit at my computer for hours and produce nothing – my mind is too distracted to focus. On those days, I try to do business instead - things like catching up on e-mails, answering fan letters, doing interviews, or posting on-line. That way, I don’t get frustrated at myself for not being able to produce new, creative pages because I’m still being productive.

Once a week, my husband watches our son while I have a writing night where I go to the local library and work until they close at 9 PM.

I almost always write on the computer. Editing is so much easier that way! The only time I write by hand is when I have writer’s block and need to force my mind out of a rut.

Can you share some random things about you that people may be surprised to know?
  • I studied the martial arts for many years – Tae Kwon Do, American Kenpo, and Goju Ryu.
  • I once saw Motley Crew in concert. I’ve also seen Billy Joel. How do these possibly go together???
  • I know a lot about Alexander the Great. He fascinates me to the point that I considered learning Greek simply to understand him better.
  • In addition to loving ketchup, I also love anything pumpkin flavored. (But I draw the line at putting ketchup on pumpkin flavored foods.)
  • My only broken bone happened at a Mardi Gras parade. I broke my wrist when some kids knocked over the crate I was standing on as they dove for beads and dubloons.

Are you working on something right now? What’s next for KL Going? 

I have quite a few projects that I’m working on... I have a new middle grade novel started, and I also have five picture books under contract that are all at various stages of completion. The earliest of these to be published will be Pablo the Poet, illustrated by Yuyi Morales, and released in 2016. I’ve been waiting years for this one to come out (I wrote it in 2005 – so that’s an eleven year wait!), and I’m dying to see what Yuyi’s illustrations will look like! The story is inspired by Pablo Neruda, but rather than focusing on his biography, it focuses on the spirit of his poetry -- the art of finding the extraordinary within the ordinary.

Pieces of Why
Pieces of Why
by K.L. Going
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Release Date: September 8th, 2015
From the award winning author of Fat Kid Rules the World and The Liberation of Gabriel King comes a lyrical, middle grade gem that asks all the hard questions and hits all the right notes--perfect for fans of Cynthia Rylant and Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Tia lives with her mom in a high-risk neighborhood in New Orleans and loves singing gospel in the Rainbow Choir with Keisha, her boisterous and assertive best friend. Tia's dream is to change the world with her voice; and by all accounts, she might be talented enough. But when a shooting happens in her neighborhood and she learns the truth about the crime that sent her father to prison years ago, Tia finds she can't sing anymore. The loss prompts her to start asking the people in her community hard questions--questions everyone has always been too afraid to ask.

Full of humanity, Pieces of Why is a timely story that addresses grief, healing, and forgiveness, told through the eyes of a gifted girl who hears rhythm and song everywhere in her life.

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Follow the Pieces Of Why by K.L. Going Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

KL Going is the award winning author of books for children and teens. Her first novel, Fat Kid Rules the World was named a Michael Printz honor book by the American Library Association, as well as one of the Best Books for Young Adults from the past decade. Her books have been Booksense picks, Scholastic Book Club choices, Junior Library Guild selections, winners of state book awards, and featured by Publishers

Weekly, School Library Journal, and Children's Book Council as Best Books. Her work has been published in Korea, Italy, Japan and the UK.

KL began her career working at one of the oldest literary agencies in New York City. She used this inner knowledge of publishing to write Writing and Selling the Young Adult Novel -- a how-to book for aspiring writers, published by Writer's Digest. She has also written short stories for several anthologies and currently has two picture books under contract for future release. She currently lives in Glen Spey, NY where she both writes and runs a business critiquing manuscripts. To visit KL on-line go to

Follow her on these sites

1st Prize: Win a signed galley of Pieces of Why, a Fat Kid movie, a signed Fat Kid original book cover, a signed poster of Saint Iggy and Read Great Books bumper sticker (US Only)

2nd Prize: Win a signed galley of Pieces of Why, a signed paperback of The Liberation of Gabriel King, a sign poster for The Garden of Eve and a Read Great Books bumper sticker (US Only)

3rd Prize: Win a signed galley of Pieces of Why, an audio edition of The Garden of Eve, a signed poster for The Garden of Eve and a Read Great Books bumper sticker (US Only)

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