Thursday, 15 May 2014

Q&A with Kathryn Starke

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Kathryn Starke is an urban elementary school reading specialist, literacy consultant, keynote speaker, and author.  A native of Richmond Virginia, Kathryn graduated from Longwood University with a BS degree in elementary education and a Master's degree in Literacy and Culture.  She has taught first, second, and third grade and served as a literacy specialist for a decade in inner city/Title I schools in Richmond, Virginia.  Kathryn travels to schools and organizations throughout the nation presenting workshops in urban literacy education for children, parents, teachers, and administrators.
Kathryn serves as the founder/CEO of Creative Minds publications, which exemplifies quality literacy instruction for all children.  CMP publishes engaging and educational children's literature.  As the author of Amy's Travels, she travels worldwide to bring this multicultural title to life.  Kathryn presents at reading and writing conferences throughout the nation and is a keynote speaker for many nonprofit organizations and events.  She is a freelance educational writer for a variety of magazines includingEducation Digest.  Kathryn was named one of the 50 Great Writers you Should Be Reading in 2012.  She is excited to write for a different audience with the debut of her first novel, Because of You, November 2013.


1.    Did you always dream of being a writer? 

      I never even thought of it as a career; I always dreamed of being a teacher, which I was for five years. I’ve been in public education now, however, for twelve years.

2.    Your first book is called Amy's Travels. It’s a childrens book. How did you come up with the idea? 

      I was teaching second grade and needed a story to teach the seven continents. I started telling the story about my friend Amy, who grew up living on five of the seven continents. My students were completely engaged, so I thought this should be a book!

3.    Can you tell us more about your chick-lit novel Because of You?

Sure, it’s the story of a bride-to-be who decides on her wedding day that she may not be making the best decision and just settling for a husband. Lilly takes us on her journey to determine what or rather who is right for her.

4.    What are the differences between writing a children’s book and a chick-lit novel? 

      There are so many, but the main one is certainly word count and length of text, which makes the editing process so much longer.

5.    What are you currently working on? 

      I am currently working on a professional book for fellow educators and have started with another fictional piece for adults.

6.    Where and when do you write your stories? 

      I’m usually writing at home on the couch but only when I feel like it. I don’t put my writing on a particular schedule because my best writing comes when it’s not forced.

7.    What do you do and enjoy when you’re not writing? 

      I love going out to dinner, traveling, and I am always singing and/or dancing with the radio on.

8.    You’re a a literacy specialist, author, and founder/CEO of Creative Minds Publications, a global educational company. Can you tell us more about your jobs? 

      Yes, this is my twelfth year in public education. I have taught first, second, and third grade and now serve as an elementary school reading specialist. I work with teachers to ensure the best literacy instruction for our students and work with reluctant readers from kindergarten to fifth grade on a daily basis. My company has allowed me to expand my literacy consulting to fellow children, parents, and teachers around the nation. I am always excited to be a visiting author, keynote speaker, or presenter to share my passion for reading and writing at any age.

9.    If you could switch places with a characters from a book, who would it be and why? 

      What a great question! When I was a young I wanted to switch places with Nancy Drew to solve a mystery; that would still be cool to do today!

10.   If you were shipwrecked on a desert island what 3 books would you want with you? 

      Hmmm....I’d take a biography of someone I want to learn more from to be inspired. I’d also take Jellybeans for Breakfast, a favorite childhood book of mine and the newest Emily Giffin book to feel current.

11.  Who is your favourite author and why? 

      I have to say I have read every book by Judy Blume, and her work still puts on a smile on my face!

12.  What was the hardest part of writing your book? 

      The hardest part is always putting it out for the world to see and wait to see who truly enjoyed reading the book. I always remind myself that a book serves a purpose and the right readers are drawn to your book for a reason.

13. What does your family think about you being a writer? 

       I am blessed to say they are nothing but supportive!

14. If you could plan the perfect holiday, what would it be? 

      Anywhere in the sun and on the beach!

15. What do you enjoy most about writing?

      I love being able to express myself, thoughts, feelings, or ideas through text that resonates with readers and enables them to talk or write about their own feelings and connections.

16.  Coffee or tea?    tea
17.   Paperback or e-reader?   Paperback all of the time
18.  Mountains or the sea?  sea
19.  Summer or winter? summer
20.  Sweet or salty? sweet

Kathryn on Twitter: @KathrynStarke

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