Today Good Reads With Ronna is delighted to share an interview with L.A. resident, Sara Louise Kras, author of
The Hunted: Polar Prey, a new fiction early chapter book.
If you didn’t get to read our review of The Hunted: Polar Prey, please click here for the link.
Sara, welcome to Good Reads With Ronna, and thank you for agreeing to give us a glimpse into your writing life!
Interview with Sara Louise Kras:
GRWR: When did you make up your mind to be a writer?
SLK: When I was around 30 years old. I got my feet wet by enrolling in a mail order course called “The Institute of Children’s Literature.”
GRWR: You’ve written over 30 nonfiction books for children. What made you decide to try your hand at fiction?
SLK: I have been trying to get published in fiction since I began writing children’s books. I started with picture books with no success. Then I tried middle grade with no success. After 21 years, I finally got a contract for my fiction early chapter book, The Hunted: Polar Prey. For some reason, writing non-fiction was easier for me. It only took me seven years to get published with my first non-fiction, Giant Lizards.
GRWR: On average, how long does it take you to write a non-fiction book vs. a chapter book?
SLK: The time frame is about the same, one year. However, the edits for fiction books can go on for years.
GRWR: The Hunted: Polar Prey takes place in the Arctic. Please tell us some of the other exotic and/or remote locales you’ve visited? Which one is your favorite and why?
SLK: I’ve visited many countries in Africa, Europe, Central America, South America, and Asia. I can’t pick just one. I loved Italy, Japan, China, Maldives, Botswana, South Africa, Peru. I have fond memories of the majority of countries I’ve visited. However, I rarely return to a county. There are so many more to see! Unless, I have to go back to a country for research, of course.
GRWR: Please tell our readers how The Hunted: Polar Prey came to be written.
SLK: I read a newspaper article about scientists who became shipwrecked in the Arctic. While there, polar bears began to close in on them. I also read a book titled Ice Drift by Theodore Taylor. I put the two ideas together to come up with [the story of] a boy who has to save his mother while she is floating on an iceberg and being hunted by a polar bear.
GRWR: The book is told via several voices: the main character, Jeremy, his mom, Jeremy’s Inuit friend, Felix and the bear. Why did you decide to write the story this way?
SLK: Because I become disinterested with one character. It gave me the chance to bring in all my interests into the story. It was fun to be a polar bear, a twelve year old boy, a mother, and an Inuit all at the same time. I love nature and animals. I love action and adventure. And I love spirituality. It was also fun to piece the story together through all the different viewpoints. It was like putting together a puzzle.
GRWR: Did you base the human characters on people you know or are they completely made up?
SLK: They are completely made up. I tried to put myself in the characters’ shoes. It was fun to shift gears.
GRWR: I love how you weave in facts so seamlessly into your story – for example Inuit language and traditions and how a helicopter is maneuvered. How long does it take to do this research?
SLK: I was able to ask at the Eskimo museum in Churchill about Inuit traditions. The Inuit words were gotten from the book Ice Drift mentioned above. In regards to the helicopter, my husband loves helicopters. So we’ve ridden them many times including while visiting Churchill, Canada.
GRWR: Do you typically make research trips?
SLK: Yes. I’ve made many during my years as a children’s writer. My first research trips were to several of the national parks in the United States as I did a national park series. My other research trips included: Cambodia, Honduras, Botswana, Antigua/Barbuda and Galapagos Islands.