Author Spotlight: Kat Yeh

Photo credit: Patricia McDuffee
Jan. 9, 2015

KidLit411 presents the very talented Kat Yeh in the Author Spotlight! Kat's debut Middle Grade book, THE TRUTH ABOUT TWINKIE PIE comes out on January 27, but you can pre-order the book by clicking the link! You can also read the first 15 spectacular chapters by clicking here: Amazon First 15 Chapters Freebie.  Kat is also giving away a signed copy and some swag so be sure to enter the rafflecopter below to win!

Welcome, Kat!




Tell us about your background and how you came to write for children.

Oh, I've always wanted to write - since I was a little girl. I was constantly scribbling down poetry and stories. I've kept journals since I was nine. In 5th grade, I vowed to write a poem every day for the year. I still have that journal. It's this little green marbled faux leather book with scroll-y gold writing that says Daily Reminder. ☺ I can remember my favorite poem I wrote that year:

What did you see in the fog tonight?I saw a lady who passed quietlyWith silver hair from her head to the groundAnd silver veils around and aroundShe lifted in air, far from sightThat's what I saw in the fog tonight.

My 5th grade teacher passed away recently. She was my favorite elementary school teacher and really influenced my love of poetry and writing and story telling. I can still hear the way she read THE SECRET GARDEN to our class. I remember she loved my Fog poem and read it aloud when I showed it to her and closed her eyes afterwards as if picturing the images. Then smiled at me. You don't forget moments like that as a young writer. I think that's why I've always had that poem in my head.

I kept writing over the years. In our high school, during senior year, students had what were called Senior Projects. All the seniors left for two week during spring semester in order to work on a specific project that was meaningful to them. People did all sorts of really cool things. Traveled. Volunteered. I chose to work with my English teacher on a children's novel I had been writing. It was the first time I really tried to finish a novel. I think it's still in my school's library. I should look it up! 

Writing was still my true love all through college, but I ended up working in advertising and sports-marketing as a copywriter for many years. Still I wrote at night. After I had kids and they got a little older and I had a little more time, I decided to try and get published. 

What projects are you working on now? 

I have a picture book coming out next year with Disney Hyperion called THE FRIEND SHIP about a lonely hedgehog who sets sail across the oceans to search for this thing Friend Ship she keeps hearing about. Chuck Groenink is the illustrator and I am thrilled. So, so excited about this book! And I'm in the middle of my next yet-to-be-named novel for Little, Brown! I can't wait to finish writing this story. I'm still learning about my main character and I've really begun to fall for her. She's a complicated little thing.


What is your typical process for writing? 

Ha! I don't think I have a typical process yet! I have one novel about to launch and two picture books published and I feel as if I'm still trying to figure it all out. 

I do think, though, that the one thing I always need to feel first is the Voice. The Voice and some sort of emotional spark. Sometimes the beginning of a story is like sitting in a dark room. You want just enough of a spark to sort of light the way to the rest of the story. To help you find all the little things you just know are there somewhere in the dark. With THE TRUTH ABOUT TWINKIE PIE, I had the idea first, but it really didn't come together until I had the voice. And then it took off.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

I wrote a post for Kate Messner's blog about Letting Go.

I don't think you can write until you truly let go and let fly. I guess that's what I would say to anyone who wants to write. 

Where can people find you on the internet? katyeh.com should be up and running any day now. I'm also on Twitter @yehface. (You know when I first signed up for Twitter and they asked for an account name, I used an old college nickname? I didn't realize it was going to become my twitter identity.)

What is one thing people don't know about you?

Oh, there are quite a few things people don't know about me. And I think I'm going to keep it that way. ☺


Kat grew up reading, doodling, and scribbling in Westtown, Pennsylvania. She worked for many years in advertising and sports marketing, while writing children's books in the wee hours of the night. She currently lives on Long Island where she can see water every day and explore all the bay and harbor beaches with her family. 




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7 comments:

  1. I loved reading about your wiring process and background, Kat! Can't wait to read Twinkie Pie and meet you in NYC. Funny enough, I've been drawing hedgehogs lately. ;)

    Thanks for the interview and giveaway, Kat and KidLit411!

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  2. How wonderful to have such encouraging teachers. I do hope you track down that novel you wrote in the school library :-)
    Thanks for those wise words on voice!

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  3. I related to your tender memory of your 5th grade teacher, Kat. How fortunate we are when people touch our lives like that. Waiting for the voice and an emotional spark sounds like a good habit to form. WIshing you the best with THE TRUTH ABOUT TWINKIE PIE and your other upcoming publications!

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  4. Great interview! I especially like the premise for The Friend Ship! How fun it has a hedgehog! Congrats on Twinkie Pie!

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  5. Great interview and I am super excited for the release of Kat's book!

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  6. I love Twinkies! Pie sounds awesome.
    Congratulations , Kat!

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  7. Great post, Kat! A great teacher is such an incredible gift!

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