Kidsday interviews author Kathryn Lasky

Author Kathryn Lasky with Kidsday reporters (l) Mateo

Author Kathryn Lasky with Kidsday reporters (l) Mateo Orellana, Olivia Valle, Lucia Chrysler and Colin Carroll -- all age 11 and from Our Lady of the Hamptons School in Southampton -- at the Barnes and Noble Book Store in Carle Place. (April 17, 2012) (Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly)

We met author Kathryn Lasky at the Barnes and Noble store in Carle Place recently. Her book series, "Guardians of Ga'Hoole," is one of our favorites.

What makes you enjoy researching?

I really like finding out, even when I'm doing a fantasy book, about the real animal. That's a wonderful departure point for me. I love research.

 

What is your favorite character in the "Guardians of Ga'Hoole"?

A lot of people don't believe this, but my favorite character is Otulissa, not necessarily Soren. Otulissa's the one character who is sort of the hard-to-take character of them all. But I felt that she evolved as a character in such an interesting way and she's so loyal. Not that the others aren't. I just thought she was very complex.

 

What was your favorite book to write and why?

Oh, that's like asking who's my favorite child. That's really hard, but I will tell you that in the "Guardians of Ga'Hoole" I didn't have one favorite book, I had three. They were that sort of middle -- I call it the Trilogy: Books 9, 10 and 11 ("The First Collier," "The Coming of Hoole" and "To Be a King"). I got to go into the back history of the whole Hoole Empire.

 

When did you first realize you were a good storyteller?

I don't know whether it's a realization that you're a good storyteller, as much as it's a realization that you love words. My mom and I came from Indiana and we used to go to this lake in the summer in northern Indiana. One time we were riding back from getting a root beer and we had a convertible car. It was just a lovely summer night and my sister and I were riding in the back seat. I leaned my head back and I looked at the sky and it was a really interesting sight. There were these wooly clouds, and I said -- I don't know I was just speaking into the air -- "Boy, it looks like a sheep-back sky," and my mom turned around and she said, "You should be a writer."

 

What made you choose owls in your 'Guardian' books?

I was just fascinated by owls and their behavior and their flight. My first idea was I was going to do a non-fiction book about owls. I've done a lot of non-fiction books with my husband -- he is a really good photographer. I thought he'll photograph them and I'll write about them. And he said, "You're crazy," because owls are endangered and rare and we'll just sit out in the woods and get cold waiting for an owl to show up.

 

Do you always like the illustrations and pictures in your books?

For the most part. I mean, certainly the owl book cover, I think those covers are fabulous. There might have been some in some of the other books that I wasn't that keen on.

 

What is your favorite thing to write about?

My favorite subject is historical fiction. I used to do a lot of that with the "Dear America" series. That's not as popular nowadays, I guess. So people are really into the sort of animal fantasy I'm doing, and vampires, which I'm not doing. But I kind of wish that people would gravitate back to historical fiction.

Which one of your books would you like to see become a movie?

I've already been one of few people who has had tremendous good luck of seeing a book -- actually it was three -- become a movie in "Legend of the Guardians." But I would like the "Wolves" to become a movie. The "Wolves of the Beyond" because its incredible wolves are so beautiful and I just think if we had the same animation company they could just do the most phenomenal job. But I also have to add I do this young adult series called "Daughters of the Sea," and I think that would make a phenomenal movie. It's about these girls who think they're human and then discover they're not quite all human, but part mermaid. So I think it would make such a beautiful movie.

 

What is your favorite animal and why?

I think dolphins are my favorite animal, although I have written about them a little bit. They're very smart, their mammals, I know a little bit about how they communicate and I just think they're very intriguing.

 

Do you write about your own experiences or your imagination?

Mostly my imagination, but probably some of my own experience gets in there.

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