Wednesday, January 23, 2013

K-2 Students Interview Katie Ganshert

As a teacher and lover of books, I long for my students to be engaged with authors and illustrators.  

Katie Ganshert, author of Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows, was kind enough to let my K-2 students ask her questions!  We had fun thinking of questions that would help us learn more about being an author as well as some fun questions about herself.  I hope you enjoy the random and fun questions they asked!

Katie was wonderful to take time to answer these.  Check on my reviews on her books as well as excerpts.  You will be blessed. 

What is it like being an author?  Is it hard, fun, or boring? Is it boring because you have to sit in a desk all day?
Being an author is so many things--challenging, fun, unpredictable, satisfying, stressful, rewarding. It's definitely never boring. A lot of the work is done from my desk, but even though I'm at my desk, my imagination gets to travel all sorts of places--to different states and different stories and people. That's the power of a pencil and a piece of paper and our imagination - we can really go anywhere! 

Do you ever play with children? 
Yes! It's one of my favorite things to do. I have a four year old son who likes to keep me on my toes and I have a lot of friends who have children. i love talking with them and playing fun games with them.
Do you ever have to take classes online? 
Not for writing, but sometimes I'm required to take online classes for our adoption. We're in the process of adopting a little kid from DR Congo, which is a country in Africa. Maybe Ms. Beth-Anne can show you where it is on a globe. :-)
Do you ever go on trips?
Not very often, but sometimes I get to! As a writer, I usually go to a national writing conference once every year. Last year the conference I went to was in Dallas, so that was a lot of fun! And then this past August, my publisher paid to fly me out to Colorado Springs to meet everybody at the publishing house.  

Where do you live?
I live in Bettendorf, Iowa, right along the Mississippi River. Has Ms. Beth-Anne ever shown you the "man in the middle of the USA"? Minnesota is his hat, Iowa is his head, Missouri is the body and Louisiana is the foot. Do you see him? Well, I live right on the tip of the man's nose. 

Will you come to our school sometime? (We are in Tennessee)
That might be kind of difficult, but I promise that if ever I'm passing through Tennessee, I will make sure to stop by your school. I just don't know if that will be anytime soon!
How did you think of your books? 
I think of my books all different sorts of ways. Sometimes I'll be listening to a song and the lyrics of the song make me think of a story I could tell. Sometimes I see somebody at the grocery store or at a coffee shop and I want to make them into a character in my book. Sometimes a random scene will pop into my head while I'm driving and I'll make an entire novel out of it.
Have you ever written a book in one day? 
Not a novel, but I have written short stories in a day. It usually takes me several months to complete an entire novel.
Have you ever given your book as a gift? 
Yep! I do this quite often.
What is your favorite holiday? 
Christmas! I love celebrating Jesus' birthday. My favorite thing to do is bake him a cake with my son.
What is your favorite jewelry?
I have a bracelet that I love to where and it says "One Less". This means one less orphan. I wear it as a reminder of the child we're adopting. 

Do you like snow? 
Sometimes. I like to snowboard and make snowmen with my son. But I don't like shoveling our driveway or tracking snow into the house.
How long did it take you to write the books? 
It usually takes about 6-9 months.
Has you son ever been interested in your books? 
I dedicated my second novel to him. He knows what my books look like, but he's not interested in reading them quite yet.
Do you put on music when you write?
I love music, but not when I write. I need it to be very quiet when I write.
Who draws the covers to your books? 
There is a person who works for my publishing house and her entire job is to create book covers. Wouldn't that be fun? Maybe you can work on creating a book cover for your stories.
Do you have any pets?
We have a black lab named Bubba. He's goofy and fun and we love him so much! 

If you are at your house, is it hard to focus on writing your book?
I have an office that I consider my work space. So once I step inside my office, I'm pretty much in work mode.
How did you get a publishing company to publish your book?
First, I had to get an agent. So I sat down with her at a writing conference three years ago and told her about my book. Afterward, she had me send her the whole story. A couple months later, she called and said she'd like to be my agent. My agent then submitted my novel to several publishing houses. Waterbrook Multnomah liked it the best and offered me a book contract! It took about two whole years to happen! You need a lot of patience when it comes to getting a book published!

What is it like to have a book published? 
It's a dream come true! I worked very hard and for a long time to see my book in print and on a shelf. So it's a very satisfying feeling. The harder we work for something, the more fulfilling it is when that something becomes a reality.
Do you sometimes write half of the page and then flip to another page and start writing? 
I actually don't usually write on paper. I do most of my writing on my computer. :-)
Why do you write only one word in cursive on your covers?
That's a fun question! I didn't make that decision, my book cover design team did. i think they liked how it looked. 

Do you ever give books to your family? 
Yes, I do. Usually for Christmas or birthdays.
What is your favorite color?  
What color is your house?
How many books do you want to write? 
I want to write however many books the Lord lays on my heart to write. :-) So far I've written six novels. Two of those are published. I'm hoping God asks me to keep writing for a long time because I enjoy it so much.
What is your favorite school that you went to? 
Probably my elementary school - Mark Twain Elementary. You know what's cool about it? Mark Twain was a writer!
Do you like Christmas?
I love Christmas! It's my favorite holiday.
Do you like flowers and what is your favorite kind?
I love flowers! Flowers are a big symbol in my first novel - Wildflowers from Winter. So I'd probably say my favorite kind are wildflowers.  

Do you like butterflies?
I do! I think they're very pretty. Bubba likes to chase them. 

What place do you like to go to write?
I usually write in my office at home. That's where I can concentrate the best. 

What are your favorite clothes to wear?
My pajamas! They're super comfortable and I like to be comfortable.
Would you ever write books for children?
I do have an idea for a series for kids. I was thinking it would be fun to write a series of Children's books about these animals that are afraid of things they shouldn't be afraid of. Like a bird who is afraid of heights or a raccoon who is afraid of the dark or a snake that is afraid of mice. Each book would be about facing our fears. Do you think those sound like a good idea? Maybe you guys can write them! 

How old is your son?
He is four years old.  

How long have you been married?
I've been married for eight and a half years. 

What is your religion?  Are you a Christian?  Why do you love Jesus?
I am a Christian. I love Jesus because He is my Savior. He died on the cross for my sins so I can spend an eternity with Him up in heaven. I love Him because He comforts me when I am afraid and and He gives me peace in my heart when I'm worried or stressed out about something. He's there for me in every situation and I can't imagine my life without Him.


  1. OH, I love this, Katie! It's wonderful to get to know you better. I'm happy I'm not the only one who needs silence when I write--so many authors use background music, which I can't abide.

    These questions show a lot of insight--Ms. Beth Ann must be one great teacher!

    Great job, everyone!

  2. This is such a sweet interview. I am so happy I read it. Great idea!

  3. Loved answering these questions, Beth-Anne! Tell those students of yours that they blessed my day. :)