Dragon Keepers: Interview with Kate KILMO
Hellokids interview Kate Kilmo the author of The Dragon Keepers, Book 5 "The Dragon in the Sea". Find out what other famous writers and books Kate likes, as well as what she would have become if she wasn't a writer!
Kate K.: The Dragon Keepers is about what happens when two kids, ten-year-old cousins, who read lots of fantasy and have always longed to have a magical adventure of their own, get their wish. When a baby dragon named Emerald hatches out of a geode stone they have found, they are suddenly saddled with the baffling and awesome responsibility of caring for that dragon—not just feeding her, but protecting her from her own impetuousness and--oh, yes--scary bad guys like St. George the Dragon Slayer, who has lived many hundreds of years on the blood of dragons.
Kate K.: Years ago, my sons got a geode stone. They wanted desperately to crack it open and find the beautiful crystals inside. They tried everything—hammers, saws, dropping it from a great height—but they just couldn't crack it. Eventually, they gave up. They were so discouraged that my husband consoled them with the thought: "Maybe there's a baby dragon inside and it's just not ready to be born yet." So they tucked the geode away in a sock drawer, and eventually forgot about it. Years later, when the boys had left home and I was clearing out the bureau preparing to turn the bedroom into my writer's study, I came across the geode in the all but empty sock drawer. My husband reminded me of what he had told the boys. "Now, THAT's a great idea for a story," I said. Because, you see, I might have been preparing my study, but I had no idea what I was going to write in it. I set the geode down on the desk and almost immediately started writing The Dragon in the Sock Drawer.
Kate K.: Jesse and Daisy are based on me and my childhood best friend Justine. If I had to say, Justine is Daisy and I'm Jesse. Like Jesse and Daisy, Justine and I spent much of our childhood reading books of fantasy and pining for our own magical adventure. I've given Jesse and Daisy the adventures Justine and I only wished we could have had. Professor Andersson is based on my Great Great Uncle Ferd, who I never knew, but he had a reputation for ferocity. He was a temperance fanatic and wrote the book, King Alcohol Dethroned. There's a photograph of him in my study, glowering down at me from the wall. We used it on the web site. Like the professor, he is a dude who brooks no nonsense.
Kate K.: The first draft of The Dragon at the North Pole is with my editor right now. Recently, at Emmy Day at the the Hudson Country Montessori School in Danbury, Connecticut, the kids in Ms. Kilai's class gave me a brilliant suggestion that I am beginning to mull over, maybe for book six: The Dragon in the Classroom.
Kate K.: I'm most proud of The Dragon Keepers books, because kids really seem to love their combination of fantasy and adventure. Plus, the series inspires them to draw the most beautiful pictures of dragons.
Kate K.: I have been writing since the fourth grade, but my first published book, under the pen name of Pappy Klima (believe it or not!) was published in 1973. Long out of print it is called The Everything In the Whole Wide World Almanac. Carol Nicklaus illustrated it, and it was awesome, if I do say so myself.
Kate K.: Susan Cooper, C.S. Lewis, Tamora Pierce, Diana Wynne Jones, I could go on….
Kate K.: I would have been a horse trainer and breeder.
Kate K.: Write every day. Read your work aloud, to your friends, or even to yourself. Draw maps of your world. They help make it more real. Writing is all about building a world that is so real, both you and your readers can't help but be drawn into it.
Read more about Dragon Keepers series