Friday, July 7, 2017

Transforming Life into Art: KIM TURRISI heart emoticon heart emoticon heart emoticon

Kim Turrisi is the SCBWI Family Favorite! She's got a background in film and TV and her debut YA novel is out now, JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY.

Kim talks about her path to publication. She was getting rejection after rejection on another project, and while talking with an author friend about how to fix this original project, the friend asked Kim if anything important or memorable happened to her while she was a teen. Kim said yes... When she was 15, Kim's sister committed suicide. The author friend told Kim that that was her next story, but though Kim was worried the subject was too hard and too close to work on, she began. Kim's book deals with the aftermath of suicide, the sort of book she didn't have access to when she was 15.

Emma Dryden reminds us these are not memoirs or autobiographies, but novels inspired and influenced by these real events. Emma asks about the areas where the panelists strayed away from the truth to better serve the book or story of the character.

Kim knew who her protagonist was, but she needed to figure out all the ancillary characters required for the setting of the teen grief camp. She spent a lot of time fleshing those backstories out, they are an amalgam of dozens of friends and family members distilled into a small group of camp goers.

Some of the writing process was very painful: Kim put her sister's suicide note on her wall, it helped Kim challenge herself every day to be authentic in her writing. Her editor readied her for the pain of potentially editing out authentic moments of Kim's life for the book by telling Kim that her job as editor is to make every reader turn the page, some of these edits may be difficult for Kim, but that they're doing this all to ultimately serve the book and its readers best.

Kim's note on writing from a painful personal experience: With any book where you are going to go deep, you're not going to get it right on the first or second or third draft, maybe not even by the 12th, but you have to keep working to get there to make the book resonate.

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