Today, Toronto author Karen Krossing joins me for 3 Question Thursday.
Karen, you’ve written novels set in fantasy worlds and contemporary settings. Which do you find more challenging to write and why?
For both types of writing, I go through a similar process for understanding my characters and building my plot, but I find that writing fantasy has a more detailed world-building process. With realistic fiction, I can assume readers know and understand aspects of my story world. With fantasy, a huge challenge is how to build a believable world. What are the rules of this world? What are the rhythms of daily life? A fantasy writer needs to imagine this entire world before deciding which details are relevant to include in the story.
Tori, your main character in Punch Like a Girl, is full of turbulent emotions. How did it make you feel inside to write her?
While writing Tori, I felt the same turbulent emotions that she felt. She’s angry, confused, and deeply vulnerable but afraid to show it. Yet at the same time, I felt euphoria when a scene worked well and devastation when a scene failed. I think writers can feel multiple sets of emotions at once — our characters and our own.
If you could give one piece of advice to a real-life Tori, what would it be?
I’d like to wrap Tori in a blanket and keep her safe, but she might punch me in the nose if I tried. So my advice to her would be to share her vulnerabilities with people she trusts.
I put on the tough-girl mask sometimes, just like Tori does. It can be useful in situations where I need to protect myself or be cautious. But it’s harder to connect to others with the mask on. When Tori discards it, she can reconnect with her friends and family.
Karen Krossing wrote poetry and rants as a teen and dreamed of becoming a published writer. Today, she’s the author of seven successful novels for kids and teens, and she conducts writing workshops to empower emerging writers. Her recent middle-grade fantasy novel, Bog (Fitzhenry & Whiteside), won the 2015 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award in the Canada division. Her latest YA novel is Punch Like a Girl (Orca, 2015).