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Kathe Koja

Kathe's website.


I was born in Detroit, the second of two sisters, and grew up in an east side suburb. I still live near the city (with my husband, artist Rick Lieder, my son Aaron, and our three cats), but now on its opposite side.

I've been writing since I was very young, just about as soon as I could read. It's more than what I do, it's who I am, the way I see the world, the way I try to make sense of what I see.

But it wasn't until I attended the Clarion Workshop that I got serious about my writing. (The workshop is held at Michigan State University, and I was able to attend thanks to the generous Susan C. Petrey Scholarship.) It was at Clarion that I first met writers, real live writers whose books I had actually read. That changed my life. Four years later I sold my first novel. Four more novels and a short fiction collection were published in the '90s.

Writing straydog, my first book for young people, gave me entry into a world I knew already as a reader, a world where I felt at home. Many of the characters I love best in fiction -Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet, J.D. Salinger's Holden and Franny and Zooey, Francesca Lia Block's Witch Baby - are people who struggle with hard ideas, say what they think, show their bewilderments, love with all their hearts; intense people. Young people.

I'm a strong supporter of animal rights, so I'm especially proud that straydog was honored by both the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States. I believe that you can learn everything you want to know about a person by watching the way s/he acts with animals and little kids, the ones without power. Which is what my second YA novel, Buddha Boy, is mostly about: power. Who has it, who abuses it, what it's really for.

The Blue Mirror is concerned with vision, the way we see - or sometimes refuse to see - what's right in front of us, and what can happen when we open our eyes. The Blue Mirror will be published in March 2004.

Talk is all about freedom: the freedom to think and act and choose for yourself, to freely live the reality of who you are deep inside. Talk will be published in the spring of 2005.

When I was that little girl just learning to write, I could never have imagined where I would end up.

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Last modified 2005-04-07 02:07 PM

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