The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian: Author Interview: Bart King

Do you have A Pocket Guide to Mischief? A Pocket Guide to Magic? A Pocket Guide to Brilliance? The Big Book of Girl Stuff, Boy Stuff, Spy Stuff and Gross Stuff? How about Bart’s King-Sized Book of Fun? I appreciate the mingled information about fascinated topics with humor slipped in throughout.  Oh, how I love these author interviews! I especially enjoyed chatting with Bart in the past and looked forward to this interview for quite some time. Bart King is a prolific non-fiction/humorous author who has entertained children (many middle school age) for numerous years. His former students had the bonus of watching the development of his writing career and also some had a hand in the book’s creation as well! I enjoyed having Bart King visit my elementary school and I just loved how I NEVER saw his books on the shelves at my old library because they were always borrowed. I already featured Bart King’s books on this blog:  Without further ado, here’s the BART KING INTERVIEW:

What was your favorite childhood book memory?

I grew up in a family with eight brothers and sisters, and everyone’s friends loved to play at our home. So the place was effectively a madhouse. That means that my favorite memory was just squirreling myself away to read, away from the bedlam!

Are there any authors or books that you liked as a child that you still read now?
We just moved, so I’ve been unpacking boxes of books. One of my recent finds was my childhood collection of EVERY one of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ books. (He wrote the Tarzan and Barsoom series, among others, back in the early days of the 20th century.) What’s interesting is that although these were adventure pulps intended for kids, they use what we would now consider to be advanced vocabulary.

I also remember reading Great Expectations at the age of 12 and weeping. I just re-read the book this month and found myself much less affected. (However, I’m now in the middle of Oliver Twist, and it’s KILLING me!)

Have you read any children’s literature books recently?
I avoid reading almost all middle reader and YA literature. That’s because:

1. The writing is so frequently good, it makes me think that my writing sucks.

2. I recognize that perhaps the only slight charm my writing possesses is originality. So I don’t want to be influenced by my peers if I can help it.

3. I read so MUCH, it’s helpful to draw a line in the sand. To give you an idea, I just went through the house, counting the books I’m reading. There are currently ten (fiction, memoir, nonfiction) that I’m reading for fun, and another ten or so that I’m working through for research. I start each day reading the Oregonian and New York Times, and from there, it’s on to the subscriptions in my Google Reader.

What was a favorite genre you read as a child?  How have your tastes changed as an adult?
Mostly science fiction, crime fiction, and fantasy. Today, I still read science fiction and crime fiction, but now it’s just a fraction of my reading total, not the entirety. For example, two of the books I’m process on are Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars and Dennis Lehane’s Moonlight Mile.

Do you still have any of your books from when you were a child?
Yes! For example, yesterday I grabbed a pile of books from the basement to start organizing on one of the bookshelves in my office. Here’s a screen shot of the first book in the pile:

Do you have a key writing tips for kids? Or adults?
For everyone, I’d say READ. I don’t know of a single writer that I respect who wasn’t a reader.

I’d also recommend that anyone who’s serious about writing do it EVERY DAY. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes!

The last rule for EVERYONE is to go somewhere where you’re offline to write.

(For kids, I’d add that it’s important to use specific sensory details in your writing, so that your reader can see or hear or smell or feel what you are writing about.)

Do you have a new book being released in the next year?

I have a goofy book about how to be a superhero that should come out in 2013. I’m also working on my first novel . . . but we’ll have to wait and see how that goes!

How do you feel about the development and growth of the e-Book industry?
If more people are reading, I’m all for it. But I am skeptical of any e-book that goes online. As soon as it can do that, it’s just a computer that you COULD read on, if you aren’t too busy checking your Facebook page.

Did you always plan on a writing career or if not…?
I never, ever planned on a writing career. In fact, I never thought I’d graduate from college!

If you weren’t a writer, what occupation would you be working in?

I would be in a middle school classroom somewhere, having a great time.

Do you have any favorite topping you like on your pizza?

There is a pizza joint in Portland (Oregon) called Dove Vivi (loose translation: “Where you live”). they have a corn meal crust pizza that’s amazing; you can put ANYTHING on it, including corn, and it’s outstanding.

Finishing sentences time:
The best advice I’ve received for my profession was….
. . . a writer writes.

The habit I never break for my writing practice is…
. . . going offline if I’m serious about writing something decent.

Why do people always assume…
. . . that I get my own books for free? (I don’t!)

Are you doing anything fun in the near future?

This fall, Dale Basye and I are going to sit for a week in the front of a bookstore (A Children’s Place) and write. Our work will be projected behind us, so that passerby can see our progress. (It’s more likely that passersby will just make faces at us from the sidewalk, but that’s okay too!)

For more information and to connect with Bart King, please connect on:




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4 comments on “Styling Librarian: Author Interview: Bart King

  1. wherethebadkidsgo
    October 13, 2012

    We’re going to do what, exactly, Bart?

    • The Styling Librarian
      October 14, 2012

      Wish I was over there so I could walk by and wave (or make faces) at you two. What fun! 🙂

      • wherethebadkidsgo
        October 15, 2012

        Seriously! That would be a blast! Though I can barely tolerate my dogs looking over my shoulder at what I write (it drives them crazy when I type “bacon”).

      • The Styling Librarian
        October 16, 2012

        Good luck with concentration! 🙂

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