About A.S. King
A.S. King has been called “One of the best Y.A. writers working today” by the New York Times Book Review. King is the author of highly-acclaimed novels including her 2019 release DIG, 2016's Still Life with Tornado, 2015’s surrealist I Crawl Through It, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future, Reality Boy, the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner Ask the Passengers, Everybody Sees the Ants, 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book Please Ignore Vera Dietz among others. She also writes Middle Grade fiction as Amy Sarig King.
She is a faculty member of the Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and spends many months of the year traveling the country speaking to high school and university students, educators, and humans who care about the mental health of young people. After more than a decade living self-sufficiently and teaching literacy to adults in Ireland, she now lives in Pennsylvania.
Author Facts for Your Book Report
WHERE AND WHEN WERE YOU BORN?
I was born in Reading, Berks County, PA on March 10th. I am a Pisces. And yes, I believe in that stuff.
I grew up in a house in the middle of a cornfield. It was nice. Then the cornfield turned into a housing development and that wasn't very nice. I wrote about that experience for the middle grade audience in Me and Marvin Gardens (2017). Every book I've written is set (at least partially) in Pennsylvania because I love Pennsylvania. I lived in Ireland for a long time and restored a farm there and I thought I'd never leave that farm. But here I am in Pennsylvania again.
WHAT DOES THE A.S. STAND FOR?
A is for Amy. S is for Sarig. Those are my first and middle names. If you see me walking along a street, please call me Amy. But I'd prefer if you called me A.S. King if you're writing about me and my books, because it's easier for a bunch of reasons. (Biggest reason: there are other Amy Kings. And a few of them write. See? It can get confusing.)
If ever you've heard that I chose to write under the name A.S. King becuase it spells "asking" then you heard right.
WHAT INFLUENCED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
I always wanted to be a writer, but what got me to sit in front of a typewriter and actually write was a half year of reading at least one book a day. The book that physically moved me into the writing chair was Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses.
But before Rushdie, I'd fallen in love with Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s work and his view of the world inspired me quite a bit--still does. God Bless You Mr. Rosewater is my favorite book of all time, though in close second are Breakfast of Champions and Slaughterhouse-Five. I like reading a lot of different kinds of books. My favorites lately seem to be graphic novels/memoirs or contemporary surrealism.
Your books are kinda weird. Where do you get your ideas?
My ideas come to me in many ways--real life, history, news articles, things I hear when I'm on the bus, books I've read that make me think, non-fiction books about weird stuff. You name it, I'm inspired by it. Oftentimes, I just hear a character in my head and I start to write and then, a few months/years/decades pass and I have a book.
I have a hard time answering questions about why specific characters do specific things in my books because once I start writing, it's really the characters who tell me what happens in the story. This sounds cosmic. It is cosmic. But it's how I've written books for 25 years, so I stick with what works for me.
WHAT AGE GROUP ARE YOUR BOOKS FOR?
My Young Adult books are for age 14/15 and up. While many readers read at higher levels at younger ages, I stand by my publishers and the age recommendations they give my books because much of the content in the books is meant for people ages 14 and older. About half my fans are adults. If you are an adult and discover that you enjoy my books, you can feel entirely okay about it. I write them so that they will be interesting to everyone. That's the point.
My Middle Grade novels, Me and Marvin Gardens and The Year We Fell From Space are for grades 3-7.
WHY CAN'T I FIND SOME OF YOUR BOOKS IN MY LOCAL BOOKSTORE?
Bookstores are filled with whatever their buyers decide to put there. What you see at any bookstore is certainly not the full range of published books. As authors, we have no control over what stores carry us or don't carry us. But as READERS you have all the control in the world over what you can buy because you can do many things if you can't find a book on a bookshelf. You can order it. From the chain where you shop, or, if you were me, you'd order it from a local Independent bookstore. (Want signed A.S. King books? CLICK HERE!)
A BUNCH OF RANDOM QUESTIONS:
What's your advice for aspiring authors?
Read and write. A lot. Don't settle and don't rush. And then write more. And more.
How do I write a book?
You sit down and write a book. Outside of that, I have no idea. But magical writing pants help.
How long will it take?
I have no idea. Every book is different.
Can you read my manuscript/query and tell me what you think?
This is something I cannot do. Not only am I short on time, but it's against my agency contract. As much as I'd love to help all aspiring writers, I can't. Allow me to steer you to your favorite writers forum for feedback and business information.
Can you send me a free book or swag?
I wish I could, but I don't really have swag and I don't have free books.
Will you come to my city to talk?
I would love to. The best way to get me to your city is to find a local school or library that is willing to fund my visit.
Can you come to my school or library to talk?
I especially love talking to high schools and in libraries. Interested in having A.S. King speak at your next event? Contact email@example.com
Will there ever be a movie of your books?
I hope so. That would be cool.
I heard that you ran off with a circus once. Is that true?
Yes. I also commandeered a school bus when I was nine. Seriously. Ask my mom. I did.
I heard you got bullied in school. Is that true?
Read my piece "The Boy Who Won't Leave Me Alone" in the Dear Bully anthology.
You didn't answer a question I had. Can I write to you?
If you're looking for more answers, check out my blog sidebar where I have linked articles I've written and interviews over the years.
But always feel free to write to me through my contact page here at the hideout. I try to answer email as fast as I can, but forgive me if it takes a while. I'm on deadline, have other jobs, and I have a pretty busy life. And a demanding cat.
CAN I GET YOUR BOOK IN MY LANGUAGE / COUNTRY?
English versions of my books are available for sale worldwide. But translations are hit or miss.
THE DUST OF 100 DOGS (Flux, Feb 2009) (Translation: Italian)
PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ (Knopf, Fall 2010) (Translation: German, Spanish language Mex/LA, Turkish, Korean, Portuguese/Brazil) 2018 Aus/NZ release
EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS (Little, Brown, Fall 2011) (Translation: German educational in English, Portuguese, Brazil/world)
ASK THE PASSENGERS (Little, Brown, Fall 2012) (Translation: Portuguese, Brazil/world)
REALITY BOY (Little, Brown 2013) (Translation: Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, Brazil/world)
GLORY O'BRIEN'S HISTORY OF THE FUTURE (Little, Brown, Fall 2014) (Translation: Portuguese, Brazil/world, Spanish world, Turkish)
STILL LIFE WITH TORNADO (Dutton, Fall 2016) 2017 Aus/NZ release (Translation: Turkish)
ME AND MARVIN GARDENS (AAL, Spring 2017) (Translation: Turkish, Chinese, Korean)
DIG. (Dutton, Spring 2019) AUS/NZ release 2019.
THE YEAR WE FELL FROM SPACE (AAL/Scholastic 2019) AUS/NZ, (Translation: Chinese.)
Vermont College of Fine Arts
The first MFA program in the country to focus exclusively on writing for young readers, the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults was founded in 1997 and quickly attracted the attention of accomplished writers and publishers around the country.