Interview: Alice Kuipers, YA author

Photo: © Emma Love

Best selling author, Alice Kuipers was born in London, England. She moved to Saskatchewan, Canada in 2003. Her first novel, Life on the Refrigerator Door, won several awards and was named a New York Times Book for the Teen Age. Her second YA novel, The Worst Thing She Ever Did, won an Arthur Ellis Award in Canada.

40 Things I Want To Tell You is her third book for young adults. It’s the story of Amy Finch, otherwise known as Bird. Bird is very much in control of her life, so much so that she runs a website giving other teens advice, but when she accidentally falls for the new guy at school and everything begins to fall apart she discovers that some secrets are too hard to keep. Purchase it here!

In 2014, her picture book, The Best-ever Bookworm Book by Violet and Victor Small, will be published by Little, Brown Books For Young Readers. Alice’s work is published in 29 countries. She regularly posts writing tips and prompts for Wattpad on their weekly blog.

Now let’s see Alice’s answers to the Proust Questionnaire!

What is your idea of happiness?
Hanging out with my two children, writing books, reading books, basically the way I live. I’m unbelievably lucky to be able to spend my time doing the things I most love to do. Maybe a bit more sleep would be nice…

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
I don’t have a favourite song. I’m a little bit oblivious of the music world, tending to listen to music that I can write to, music that doesn’t get in the way of trying to tell stories. I’ve always felt like a geek when people start talking about music because I know so little about cool bands and great songs. That doesn’t mean I’m not moved and inspired by cool bands and great songs, but I never remember the names of them and can’t hold my own in a sensible conversation about music at all.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d love to be able to sing. My son said yesterday, “Are you singing, Mummy? Well, don’t. It’s not nice.” I have been told.

On what occasion do you lie?
When one of the two teenagers who lives with me asks about what I was like as a teenager. I claim great innocence and good behaviour. They don’t need to know those details of my life!

What is your present state of mind?
Tired, ticking over a new book idea, catching up on some edits that I’ve found hard. Making a cup of tea to get over feeling tired, filling time until my little guys wake and we get to play.

What is your motto?
I don’t have a motto. I really don’t. I love finding quotations from smart people and writing them down (something Amy Finch does in 40 Things). My dad told me once, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” I guess I live by that.

What character trait do you most value in your friends?
Humour.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“She put her hand on her tummy.” “She pushed her hair back from her face.” “She chewed her lip.”

Your favorite painting?
I suppose it’s the word favourite I’m finding hard to answer. I don’t really have favourites, more things that suit me on certain days. Right now I’m very into Shepard Fairey’s work because I’m reading a book of his. He isn’t always my favourite, but he is today.

OBEY x Hello Kitty
Screen Print made by Shepard Fairey for Sanrio Small Gifts Art Show in Miami

What is your favorite journey?
Arriving with my family at my father’s house in Devon to lemon drizzle cake made by my step-mum.

What is your favorite time of day?
Naptime. I have this magical hour right now when both children sleep so I can too, if I’m quick about it. Or work.

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
Heathcliff. Not sure he’d have coffee with me, but I so badly want to tell him that what he overheard wasn’t true.

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
I’m pretty happy. I’d hate to die before my children were safe in the world without me, though.

Who or what is your first love?
Reading. I’m deeply passionate about reading. It may not be cool, but I’m pretty proud of the fact I can read a book and walk at the same time.

What’s the last dream you remember?
I just dreamed during naptime that my teenager was driving us along the street. Someone smashed into the car and forced us (me and all the children were in the car) to drive backwards into a huge, busy road. Terrifying. I have regular, awful nightmares.

What’s your madeleine?
Chocolate chips and yoghurt with maple syrup.

Without thinking, in one word: what is life?
Random.