Author Spotlight: Kip Wilson

Mar. 15, 2019

We are pleased to feature author Kip Wilson and her new book, WHITE ROSE  (Versify-April 2, 2019) 

Enter to win a copy (will be mailed out in mid-April)!

Cover design & illustration @ David Curtis/ Sharismar Rodriguez  

Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for teens.

Like many authors, I was a nerdy kid who loved to read and write. My favorite thing about my graduate school program (German Literature) was that it became my job to read books and write about them. When I finished writing my doctoral dissertation, I was living in Austria on a Fulbright award to teach in a high school, where I got to know the music teacher. He asked me to write a musical in English based on Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM called A MIDSUMMER NIGHT CLUB. Working on that project was a lot of fun, and when it finished up, I started to write my first (terrible) novels for teens. 

Congrats on your debut YA verse novel, WHITE ROSE. Tell us about it and what inspired you.

Thanks! WHITE ROSE is historical fiction based on a true story about German kids using their words to lead the resistance against the Nazis. I first learned about the White Rose resistance group in high school German class, and I found Sophie Scholl, one of the leaders and the only female member of the core group, to be incredibly inspiring. She’s well known in Germany, but less so here in the United States, so I’m thrilled to be able to bring her story to American teenagers, especially now when we so badly need role models who stand up for others. 

Was your road to publication long and windy, short and sweet, or something in between?

My road to publication was most definitely not short. I started writing seriously after the musical I mentioned above finished up, and sent my first query to an agent in 2003, so that’s what I generally consider my starting point. I didn’t get an agent until 2015 with my sixth novel. That one didn’t sell, but as soon as I started drafting WHITE ROSE, I felt like it would be “the one.” It’s my seventh completed novel, but first to be published, and I couldn’t be happier about how it worked out. Of course, I wish there were some way to go back in time to my querying days and whisper in my ear that it would be worth it, so instead, I’ll happily share that same encouragement with other writers. Stick with it!  

What projects are you working on now?

I’m working on a couple of different projects that take place in Berlin, so I’m planning a research trip there this summer. I’m a bit superstitious, so I don’t have much beyond that to share at the moment, but I’m really looking forward to visiting key sights, talking to experts, and soaking in the atmosphere there.

What are the one or two things that you did that best prepared you to write a verse novel? What advice would you give to other aspiring poets who want to write a verse novel?

One thing is for sure a love of poetry. I wrote my dissertation on the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke and have always loved German poetry in particular. But another thing I did to prepare myself to write in verse was to read mountains of recently published novels-in-verse. My local librarians got to know me as I came back week after week to check out a new stack (and they cheered when I came in to tell them my own novel-in-verse was going to be published). For an entire book of advice for poets, I absolutely recommend reading Rilke’s LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET.

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

People tend to be surprised to learn that I was in the U.S. Army—maybe because this isn’t something typical for children’s authors, especially female children’s authors. I joined ROTC during college, which is how I discovered that 5 a.m. is my favorite time of day (I’m now a regular member at the #5amWritersClub). I didn’t get assigned active duty upon graduation, which was when I decided to go to graduate school to instead, but I continued to serve in the New York Army National Guard: one weekend a month and two weeks a year, as the ads say, until being medically discharged for a knee injury.

Where can people find you online? 

Website: http://www.kipwilsonwrites. com/ 


Kip Wilson is the author of “White Rose,” a YA novel-in-verse about anti-Nazi political activist Sophie Scholl. Kip holds a Ph.D. in German Literature and is the poetry editor at YARN (Young Adult Review Network). She’s lived in Germany, Austria, and Spain, and currently calls Boston home.  

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  1. Thanks for the insight. White Rose looks like an interesting book!

  2. This book sounds exciting and I love the topic. Novels in verse have been my favorites lately, so I'm thrilled to read your book.

  3. I'm so excited to see this book about Sophie Scholl. Congrats on being one of the first authors on Versify Press, how exciting!!

  4. Fascinating! Great interview! Congratulations and can't wait to read White Rose!


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