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 2021's SW/TCH, 2020 Michael L. Printz Award winner and LA Times Book Prize finalist 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, including Attack of the Black Rectangles. In 2022, King received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.
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 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 because it spells "asking" then you heard right.
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 28 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.
My Middle Grade novels, Attack of the Black Rectangles, Me and Marvin Gardens and The Year We Fell From Space are for grades 4-8.
WHY CAN'T I FIND SOME OF YOUR BOOKS IN MY LOCAL BOOKSTORE?
Bookstores are filled with whatever their buyers decide to put there. As authors, we have no control over what stores carry us or don't carry us. But as READERS you have all the control when you can't find a book on display. 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. Also: volunteer for something you care about. It will help you as a writer a lot more than you think.
How do I write a book?
You sit down and write a book. It's a puzzle and you are both the solver of that puzzle and the maker of it. Be definitely creative.
What's your favorite book?
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. You can hear me rave about it with Ariel Bissett, one of my favorite people ever here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/33-reviewing-as-kings-favourite-book-with-as-king/id1484378635?i=1000475444964
Can you read my manuscript/query and tell me what you think?
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 or to the VCFA MFA program...scroll down!
Can you come to my town or school or library to talk?
I especially love talking to middle and high schools and in libraries. Interested in having A.S. King speak at your next event? Contact Christi Hinrichs at Authors Unbound here: email@example.com
Will there ever be a movie of your books?
I hope so. That sure would be cool.
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, Slovakian) 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, Japanese)
DIG. (Dutton, Spring 2019) AUS/NZ release 2019. (Translation: German, Slovakian)
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.
Write With Me!
Developmental Editing Service
From Yellow Bird Editors
Amy has been helping fellow writers polish their manuscripts since 2007. If you think you might want to work with her, CLICK HERE to find out more information from Yellow Bird Editing.