Interview: Madeleine Kuderick, YA Author & Poet

mkuderickheadshotMadeleine Kuderick writes contemporary YA fiction and poetry and her debut novel KISS OF BROKEN GLASS is coming Fall 2014 from HarperCollins. She is published in anthologies and magazines and has spoken at conferences like the International Reading Association where she’s an advocate for reluctant readers and the teachers who touch their lives.

KissofBrokenGlass HCMadeleine grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, a community with a rich literary tradition, where she was editor-in-chief of the same high school newspaper that Ernest Hemingway wrote for as a teen. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and an MBA from Saint Leo University. She lives on Florida’s Gulf.

She is currently preparing to talk about KISS OF BROKEN GLASS. Her first speaking engagement will be at the Secondary Reading Council Conference, Sheraton Sand Key, in Clearwater, Florida, this coming January. She’ll be presenting “Warning! This Workshop Bleeds.”

Let’s see how Madeleine answers the Proust Questionnaire!

What is your idea of happiness?
Chillin’ on Anna Maria Island. No watch. No cell phone. No internet.

Nothing but the waves and the warmth and the music.

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?

I’m a huge Michael Franti fan and so much of his music is inspiring it’s hard to pick a single song. But I guess I’ll say my favorite is The Sound of Sunshine because that’s what he played at the St. Pete Forum in 2010 when I first heard him and so that song basically introduced me to his music. I just saw him again this month on Rombello, a 4-day music fest at sea. It was amazing!

Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could sing – I mean really belt it out, in tune and everything.

On what occasion do you lie?
Never. (Except when answering survey questions that ask “on what occassion do you lie”).

What is your present state of mind?
Optimistic.

What is your motto?
“It’s never too late to be who you might’ve been.”

I can’t take credit for that quote though. It’s George Eliot.

What character trait do you most value in your friends?
I value friends who are honest and who are genuinely good listeners. Very few people truly listen. I’m lucky to have some wonderful friends who do.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
And. But. The. Just. Little.

Your favorite painting?
There is some really incredible street art out there, but I’d have to say my favorite street artist is Banksy and his piece Stained Glass is especially powerful.

What is your favorite journey?
The one I’m on right now.

Not only because this is a dream I’ve had since childhood, but also because this journey has exceeded my expectations on so many levels. I never imagined I’d be working with industry legends like my agent George Nicholson, who founded Delacorte Press and Yearling Books, or my brilliant editor Antonia Markiet who just celebrated her 40th anniversary with HarperCollins and has worked with a staggering list of amazing talent including Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, Kurt Vonnegut, Isaac Asimov, and so many more. I am over the moon about having this opportunity.

What is your favorite time of day?
11:59 and 59 seconds. What can I say? I’m a night owl.

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
John Green. Can you arrange that?

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
I’d like to see my children discovering what brings them joy in life and finding success however they might define that.

And I’d like to know that my writing touched people in a positive way.

Even just one person would be enough.

Who or what is your first love?
This is such an intimate question, because your first love is so powerful you carry a little piece of it in your heart for the rest of your life. That doesn’t mean you can’t be super passionate about the loves that follow. Your husband. Your children. Your writing. But that first love is so indelible, you’ll remember every detail — the mustang he drove, the smell of his Polo cologne, the REO songs playing in the background, the softness of his kiss. But, if you’re asking me for his name, I don’t kiss and tell. My first love knows who he is. That’s enough.

What’s the last dream you remember?
I rarely remember my dreams. Sadly.

What’s your madeleine?
The red and gold of falling leaves. 

Growing up near Chicago, the fall was always my favorite season and because it was the start of the school year, it always felt like a time of promise and new beginnings. 

But then I find myself travelling, like when I went to the Highlights Founders Workshop in the Poconos and these golden leaves began raining down on me and just like that, I was sixteen again. Full of possibility.

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

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