Kari, are there any perks or challenges of writing for your target audience?
There’s a particular joy in writing for young readers because young readers may be experiencing what you are writing about for the first time through your book. It might be, for example, the first time they’ve hear about or thought of belly dancing, or kayaking, or living in a different country. I spend a lot of time with young people, so I listen to what they say and watch what they do, ask a lot of questions, and try to remember how I reacted the first time I came across a new idea when I was young.
Was there a research component to your book?
My book is about a belly dancer, so of course, I had to dance. I’ve been dancing for several years, but while I wrote this book I took extra dance classes so I could be even more immersed in the dancing world. Yay. It was great.
What’s your favorite season and why?
I love summer. The heat, the long days, the holidays, swimming in lakes, kayaking in the ocean, climbing rocks, picnics in the backyard, beaches, visiting friends. Have I missed anything? Summers are awesome.
Is there a story behind the creation of your story?
I’m a dancer, so when the opportunity came around to write about dancing, I took it!
What’s the least glamorous part about being a writer? And the most glamorous?
Glamour? What’s that? There’s a lot of hard work, imagination, and patience involved. I do get to work at home in my garden sometimes. And yes, it is wonderful when a kid tells you they’ve read your book and enjoyed it. That feels like glamour.
What do you hope readers can take away from your book?
I would love for girls (yes, probably girls), to go away from my book with the idea that dancing doesn’t have to be a competition. It can be about community and celebrating your own body and style rather than about being a perfect body type and being better than the girl next to you.
Do you have any unique hobbies or pastimes?
I dance, kayak, climb, sew. Not too unique, I don’t think.
When you hit writer’s block, how do you push through it?
Usually I either garden or do the dishes. Strange, I know, but I find that doing something physical that doesn’t involve too much brain work will let me concentrate on what my hands are doing and let my imagination get on with its work in the background without interference from me.
Anything else you’d like readers of the Orca blog to know about you or your book?
Secretly, I love the bling that goes along with belly dancing. I never liked lace and frills as a girl, and I still never wear those things in my daily life. I don’t even wear makeup. But for performances we get dressed up in long skirts with frills and lace and bangles and sparkles and extravagant make up. We even put flowers in our hair. I kinda like it!
Kari Jones is happy to call Victoria, British Columbia, home: a city where you can go down to the beach with your kayak, find an island, a lighthouse and an adventure, and be back in time for dinner. Kari is a college instructor who teaches students to write, but when school is out, she can often be found with her family and friends exploring the natural world and dreaming up adventures to share. Kari is the co-author of Hiking Adventures with Children as well as several essays and articles on being in nature with kids. For more information, visit www.karijones.ca.