2007 National Book Award Young People's Literature Finalist Interview With Kathleen Duey

Kathleen Duey

Skin Hunger: A Resurrection of Magic, Book One

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Interview conducted by Rita Williams-Garcia.

RWG: Now that it's all said and done, what is the story decision that you are most proud of?

KD: My best decision was to get out of the characters' way--which made the book deeper and more emotionally honest than I might have managed on my own. They are all very real to me. I hear the dialogue in their voices.

RWG: The film Casablanca is perhaps best known for the "…problems of two people…" line. In Skin Hunger, the actions and decisions of two people will impact a present and future world. Please discuss the implications of having so much rest on two people.

KD: The book reflects reality, I think. I intend it that way. History is a braid of individual lives, all shaped by decisions, uncertainties, ideals, ambitions, reasons, insanities, loves, hatreds, and all the rest. But a few people in every era, often unwilling and unprepared, serve as catalysts. The book follows two people in each of the storylines who are shoved into their fates, and have to find ways to live, and to live with themselves--as we all do, every day.

RWG: What book did you reach for first after finishing Skin Hunger?

KD: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro It's an amazing book.

Rita Williams-Garcia is the author of six distinguished novels for young adults: Jumped, No Laughter Here, Every Time a Rainbow Dies, Fast Talk on a Slow Track, Blue Tights, and Like Sisters on the Homefront. She has also published a picture book and has contributed to numerous anthologies. Williams-Garcia's works have been recognized by the Coretta Scott King Award Committee, the PEN/Norma Klein Award, the American Library Association, and Parents' Choice, among others. She recently served on the National Book Award Committee for Young People's Literature and is on faculty at Vermont College for the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program. Rita Williams-Garcia lives in Jamaica, Queens, NY and is the mother of two daughters.