Wednesday, April 17, 2019

An Interview with Children's Literature Author Kaitlin Kulich

Kaitlin Kulich is the author of Pawpaw is My Favorite Flavor! Launched in 2018, Kaitlin’s book is available in hardcover with beautiful illustrations by Ohio artist Laura Dobrota. Graduating next month from Ohio University, Kaitlin has a lifetime of writing and creativity ahead! With the success of her first book and plenty of charisma to propel her career, we wish Kaitlin all the best as she follows her dreams…

GM: Your new children's book Pawpaw is My Favorite Flavor! is adorable! How did you come up with the idea?
KK: I have come to really love the history and culture of Southeast Ohio. That being said, I really wanted not only to showcase this beautiful part of the State but give back to the community that I fell in love with ever since I arrived here my freshman year at Ohio University. I have always loved reading and writing thanks to my mom who was an elementary teacher for many years and I have always loved working with for kids at various camps I have been a part of. So I developed this dream to one day to write a children's book but I didn't know what to write about until I went to my first Pawpaw Festival. After learning about pawpaws and tasting them I wanted more people to know about this fruit and to encourage kids to try new ( and healthy) foods. And I thought a book would be a perfect way to do that!

GM: Reading to groups of children, attending book signing events, and sharing your book with the world is rewarding. To date, what venue have you enjoyed the most and where is your next book event?
KK: Reading to classrooms and libraries has been such a blast! The questions and comments I get from kids after reading them my book, showing them some pawpaw seeds I have collected, and teaching them a pawpaw song are just amazing. It's so wonderful to see how interested the kiddos become about pawpaws and how excited they get when they tell me they have written short stories of their own. I enjoy every event I have done but one that stands out the most is when I read to a crowd of about 200 kids at the Stark County Library in Canton, Ohio. The kids where such great listeners and they asked so many questions and even wrote me thank you notes! I go back and read those notes often and they instantly fill me with joy. My next event will be April 11th at Near West Intergenerational School in Cleveland Heights!

GM: Writers are always writing, coming up with new ideas. How do you maintain thoughts and ideas for storylines?
KK: I really like pairing characters who are different in age. In my book, the two characters are a little boy and his grandpa. I myself feel like I learn a lot and connect really well with people who are younger and older than me. Writing about people with different ages and backgrounds allows for a wide range of people to connect with the story. I also read A TON of books ( I never leave my house without a book in my purse just in case I have downtime during the day to read). So, reading other people's stories also keeps my mind thinking about how certain plot lines and ideas can make for great stories.

GM: What are you currently writing?
KK: For lent this year I have decided to write letters to people in my life I really care about or who I feel I need to reconnect with. I have found the letters are not only enjoyed by the people I send them to but allow me to really dig deep within myself and discover what challenges I am facing currently and what challenges I have been able to overcome. I also have an idea for a new children's book! I haven't started writing it yet but it will involve a young girl, her grandma, and a fishing trip on Lake Cable ( a lake I grew up on in Canton, Ohio).
GM: Who is your favorite author?    
KK: This is so hard! Right now I would say my favorite author is Fredrik Backman. He is the author of many books - A Man Called Ove and My Grandma Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry are just two. Many of his books are about relationships between a young child and an older man or women (what I like to write about too!). He is able to touch on some dark themes while still being able to incorporate humor charm.

GM: Do you have advice for novice writers?
KK: Don't let anything make you feel like your writing isn't good enough. I have dyslexia and for most of my childhood, I was ashamed of my writing and embarrassed to show even a simple school paper to my own mother. But I have built up some confidence and have seen the importance of letting other people see and criticize my work- it has only made me a better writer and all around more confident person. Spell check was made for a reason! 

GM: List 10 things your fans may not know about you...
KK: 1) I have PKU. A genetic disorder that hinders my ability to break down certain proteins. But thanks to modern medicine, I'm able to eat more food ever since 2008.

2) Pigs are my favorite animal and I really want to have my own one day!

3) I'm vegan (so my pig will not be eaten). Having PKU made it easier for me to give up meat and dairy since I couldn't have those foods until  turned twelve

4) I love hiking and have hiked part of the Balkans Trail through Kosovo, Montenegro, and Albania

5)I'm currently a reporter for WOUB TV in Athens and love creating stories about Southeast Ohio for our nightly TV news show

6) I was born in Atlanta Georgia on July 6th, the same birthday as President George W. Bush

7) One of my first words I spoke was chien, which means dog in French. My mother was a French teacher and she spoke French to me as a baby

8)My favorite TV show is Golden Girls and my favorite Golden Girl is Rose Nylund ( AKA Beatty White)

9) I can do some pretty good bird calls- especially the Quail

10) When I grow up I want to work for PBS Kids and continue to write books for children!

Connect with Kaitlin…
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