Hostile Questions: A.S. King

Given the gushes of accolades gushed upon A.S. King (Printz Honor for Please Ignore Vera Dietz, six starred reviews for Everybody Sees the Ants), it’s shocking that no unscrupulous muckraker has put an end to her awesomeness by solving the the shady mystery of her full name… until now.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am just such an unscrupulous muckraker! My time spent rifling through King’s trash has paid dividends. Without further ado, the full name of your favorite author is…

Azthriomaethisaklius Saurill’agnoroticuvul King.

Well, damn. That just made her more awesome.

Azthriomaethisaklius Saurill’agnoroticuvul King relaxing.

Just who do you think you are?

I think I’m the ninja who’s about to tackle you from behind and then read you sweet verse. Walt Whitman or maybe Rumi. Yeah. Rumi. I am A.S. King, badass Rumi-quoting ninja and I’m standing right behind you.*

* In real life, I divide my time between writing books, hanging out with my kids, and hugging my husband of 20 years. I work on the boards of both my local library and non-profit community swimming pool and I perform in the Vagina Monologues every year to raise money for girls and women who have been raped. I lived in Ireland for about twelve years and taught adults how to read when I wasn’t breeding chickens or growing food in order to survive. I like roller skating and Jimi Hendrix. I know how to juggle. I could probably roller skate to Jimi Hendrix and juggle at the same time if you asked me to. Please don’t ask me to, though. I’m very busy.

I believe that human beings are inferior to red tailed hawks and butterflies. I wear Birkenstocks that have rusty buckles. I have tattoos. I believe I was put on planet Earth to do something and I’m really sure, after many years of lessons, it is not cello-playing. I like being in a room by myself. I’d prefer if that room had windows, but if it doesn’t, I’m okay with that. I’ve messed around on computers since I got my first one in 1978. I would love to go into space one day, but I’m not sure I’d actually do it because I like red tailed hawks too much. Also corn on the cob. I don’t think corn on the cob would taste all that great in space. I like helping people and I hate gossip. I believe in equality. I do not watch television. I used to think that everyone in the world had good intentions, even if they were doing something bad, but I don’t think that anymore. I write books, mostly. It makes me really, really happy. I’m still standing behind you. Any minute now I will pounce and tickle you until you pee in your pants. Watch your back, Kraus.

Where do you get off?

Let’s say we’re on a train.

A. I’d say I get off right about that place where people try to tell me what to do. I am the youngest of three daughters. Telling me what to do is a really bad idea. Say you told me that I should never have a prologue in my books because “some people don’t read prologues.” This would seem to me like a great reason to put prologues in every one of my books, and to make sure they are important to the story.

B. I get off one stop before people tell me what I am. I do not like to be boxed. I will rebel. I might light the box on fire in order to prove my point. Yes, I know this means I will most likely light myself on fire. I don’t care.

C. I get off wherever they’re selling Jameson whiskey. Unless there’s a later stop where they’re giving it away for free.

D. All of the above.

What’s the big idea?

The big idea is a secret. I’m not allowed to tell you. Ninja code. Sorry.*

* But since I’m here and you asked, I’ll tell you that my next book is called Ask the Passengers and it comes out in late October, 2012. It’s about Astrid Jones, a high school senior who has a lot of love but doesn’t feel she can give it to anyone. So, she sends it to the passengers in the airplanes that fly over her house. It’s also about Socrates, small town gossip, and not boxing human beings. I’m all about the not-boxing-people thing. I think we covered that already. Flames! Flames!

In 2013, you’ll see Reality Boy, which is what I’m working on this summer. It’s my love letter to reality TV. I’m probably being sarcastic when I say love letter.

What is your problem, man?

I am pretty much wired like a Vulcan, so problems are minimal. Approximately three times per year, though, I am struck by an odd feeling in my chest and salty liquid comes out of my eyes. That is a problem. My other problems, in no particular order are: endings, middles and creating decent poetry. Also, I struggle with missing my old friend tobacco from time to time. And the will to clean my house. Fashion. Lipstick. Footwear. Pants that are long enough. Water retention. Frizzy hair. And my butterfly stroke sucks.

Haven’t you done enough?

I should hope not. I’m only 42. I will be 55 when my youngest kid graduates high school. Then, I’m going to retire to a nice Caribbean hideaway for at least 20 years. I plan on causing trouble all the way to the end, Daniel. I would like to get thrown out of somewhere for saying the word vagina at least once. I would then sit outside that establishment and torment them with my cello skills. But you? You I will beset with sweet verse. First up: “You Felons on Trial in Courts” by Whitman. You can find it here.



About the Author:

Dan Kraus is Booklist's Editor of Books for Youth. He is also the producer and director of numerous feature films, most notably the documentary Work Series, and the author of several YA novels, including Rotters and Scowler, both of which won the Odyssey Award. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielDKraus.

2 Comments on "Hostile Questions: A.S. King"

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  1.' Shari Green says:

    Best. Interview. Ever. Thanks, Daniel and Azthriomaethisaklius. You both rock.

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