K. M. Walton is the author of Cracked (Simon Pulse ~ Simon & Schuster 2012), Empty (Simon Pulse ~ Simon & Schuster 1-1-2013) and the co-author of Teaching Numeracy: 9 Critical Habits to Ignite Mathematical Thinking (Corwin Press 2011) for mathematics teachers K – 8. She is a graduate of West Chester University and a National Writing Project Fellow. As a former middle-school language-arts teacher she’s passionate about education and ending peer bullying. She gives school presentations on the topic “The Power of Human Kindness.” She lives in PA with her husband, two sons, cat, and turtle.
Let’s see how K.M. answers the Proust Questionnaire!
What is your idea of happiness?
Happiness is being okay with who you are, allowing yourself moments of pride for work accomplished, surrounding yourself with people you love and who love you back, and lots of laughter.
What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
Jeff Buckley’s LOVER YOU SHOULD’VE COME OVER. It is one of those songs that I wouldn’t dream of turning off if played randomly. It’s haunting and magnificent. I had to have heard it from my husband, I’d say around ten years ago. Todd is into music more than any other human being I know.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I’ve always wished I could skateboard, snowboard, and surf, because girls who know how to do those things are total badasses. I’ve tried all three, and, my reality means that things moving underneath my feet = major injury. To give you an idea, my first time attempting to ski ended up with me in a wheelchair for a week at school. My badassery must be cultivated in other ways.
On what occasion do you lie?
When I can word something in such a way that it won’t rip the other person’s heart out. However, a time I refuse to lie is if the lie would get me out of trouble. I’d rather tell the truth, face it head on, and move on with a clean conscience.
What is your present state of mind?
Anticipatory. Truthfully, there has been a consistent flow of anticipation running through my veins since as long as I can remember. I’m a dreamer and I tend to dream big. It feels like I’m always thinking about what’s next. I have to remind myself to enjoy the now, savor the fruits of my labor, be okay with where I am. I’m not very good at those things.
What is your motto?
“If you want it, make it happen.” This motto came front and center during my two and a half year query journey. I racked up 148 agent rejections on three novels, but because I wanted “it”, I plowed onward. By “plowed onward” I mean: attended conferences, took classes, put my query and my first page out there for public flogging, researched anything and everything that could help me land an agent, created a mantra (It is my destiny to be a published author), and visualized. Yes I cried. Yes I felt defeated at times. Yes I gave up twice. But the wanting of “it” always rose to the top, fueling my drive. Whatever your “it” is, if you want it, make it happen!
What character trait do you most value in your friends?
Loyalty. I am fiercely loyal – it’s the Scorpio in me – so when friend shows loyalty in the stickiest of situations, my heart soars. And on the flip side, when disloyalty rears its head, and I feel betrayed, it is very difficult for me to move on. It takes a long time for me to wrap my head around a friend or family member not showing me the same loyalty I would show them. It’s heartbreaking.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Amazing” and “Cool”. Weird fact: I don’t use the word “amazing” that often when I speak, however, it’s my go-to word in emails and blog posts. I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on myself – at least they’re positive words.
Your favorite painting?
My most favorite recent painting is one painted by Bam Margera (yes, that Bam from Jackass and Viva La Bam). I’m a massive fan of modern abstract art and that’s what Bam has been painting. My husband and I got invited to an art show he had at his house, and I fell in love with the painting in the photograph, so I bought it. It’s hanging in our dining room and makes me happy every time I look at it.
What is your favorite journey?
The first time my husband and I went to Ireland. I know it’s cliche to say it was magical, but no other word describes it better. The sights, the lands, the people – incredible. My favorite place: The Cliffs of Moher. I had never been so awed by a place (it still holds the number on spot in my heart).
What is your favorite time of day?
Dusk at the beach. It’s perfection.
With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
Judy Blume. I credit my love of contemporary fiction to her. As a teenager I devoured her books and was blown away their realness. As an adult, when I reflect on why her books affected me so deeply, I realize in addition to their realness, it was also their honesty. She didn’t hold things back. She was fearless in her storytelling. I strive to be the same in my books. I think I would most likely babble incoherently and blink a lot and spill coffee all over the table if I met her. I’m a spaz like that.
What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
For one of my books to have a feature review in Entertainment Weekly. Not one of the tiny, blurb-like reviews, oh no, the main one. I told you I dream big. This dream isn’t what you think though. I don’t want the review for the fame (the book fame would be a wonderful side effect though), I want the review because of my deep love for the magazine. See, I have read Entertainment Weekly since its first edition – I have crates in my garage filled with years and years of the magazine. Why? Because I love it so much. I have never missed reading a single week. So to see one of my books in my beloved EW would quite literally blow my mind.
Who or what is your first love?
My husband Todd. We met when I was nineteen – he was my next door neighbor in the dorm. I loved him then and I love him now, twenty six years later. We celebrate our twenty year wedding anniversary this summer. Yay for love.
What’s the last dream you remember?
Strange that this question is being asked today. I don’t remember my dreams that often, but I remember last night’s dream. It was of my dad and he gave me the biggest, tightest hug. I lost my dad to cancer when he was fifty-one, sixteen years ago. When I opened my eyes this morning I could see his face and feel his hug – he gave excellent hugs. I miss him.
What’s your madeleine?
Being handed Christmas ornaments to hang on a tree. The simple transference immediately takes me back to my childhood when my father would sit and hand out ornaments, one at a time, to each of his four daughters (me included). Christmas was steeped in traditions in our house, and the handing out of the ornaments was one. There wasn’t a mad dash, oh no, our tree decorating took time and thought.
The first Christmas after my father’s death, when my husband handed me a shiny red ball, I fell apart. The realization that my father would never again hand me an ornament crashed into me with a fierceness that only death can produce.
Without thinking, in one word: what is life?