Kids + Teens

Who’s Your Author Crush?

The blog tour for Author Katie Williams’ YA novel The Space Between Trees, wraps up with a chat between the author and Editor Julie Romeis about the collaborative process, developing a title and cover, and secret author crushes. See the other tour dates here.

Leave a comments with your author crush by Friday August 6th at noon Pacific for a chance to win an autographed copy of The Space Between Trees.

Katie: What do you look for in a YA manuscript? If I may be so bold, what stood out about The Space Between Trees?

Julie: Above all, it’s about finding a story I can’t put down, written in an authentic voice, about a character I can’t forget. As for your book, in addition to the compelling plot, I was captivated by the honest and lyrical writing. One of my favorites is when Evie gushes about Jonah: “I look at him all over—the shadow on his jaw, the curl of his nostril, and the underbrush of his eyebrow. I think, He is assembled so correctly.” —with lines like that, how could I resist?

Julie: What was the most difficult part of the writing and revision process?

Katie: Sometimes I feel that I’m more a critic and editor than I am a writer, and that I write by turning these skills on my own work. I enjoy the entire editing/revision process more than the initial composition process. It’s especially invigorating to have a good reader who is willing to figure out the evolving story with me. Someone like, oh, say, you.

Katie: How do you see your role as an editor? What was it like working with me? (I was a total diva, wasn’t I?)

Julie: The job of the editor is two-fold. First is to help the author make their book the best it can be, and second is to be an advocate for the book from day one and keep up that passion all the way through the process. An excited editor can get everyone else excited too.

As for our experience, boy you’d give Beyonce a run for her money, Katie. (just kidding!) Seriously, this was one of the most fun books I’ve worked on in a long time, and not just because we’re both here in San Francisco and got to talk over macaroons regularly.

Julie: Speaking of the ending, why did you decide to finish the book the way you did?

Katie: One of the intentions of the novel is to explore both the power and the danger of the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Hadley and Evie are telling themselves a story: That they’re detectives, that this is a mystery, that they’ll track down the killer and wreak vengeance upon him. But life isn’t a story, or at least not a tidy one, and so this “mystery” could never have ended like a typical mystery novel. The truths the girls discover aren’t so much about the murder as they are about themselves.

Julie: Enough of these serious questions. Let’s get to the important stuff. Who do you have an author crush on?

Katie: I’m smitten by Kristen Cashore, author of Graceling and Fire, because she’s using the fantasy genre to explore pretty complicated things about gender and sexuality. Also, Ursula K. Le Guin who is masterful at blending her fantasy with everyday detail, which allows the reader to truly enter the magical world. Total schoolgirl crush on both of these wonderful women!

Katie: I spilled, now you: Who are your author crushes?

Julie: Marcus Zusak, hands down. The Book Thief is one of the most poignant and beautifully written books I’ve ever encountered. Plus, he is really nice too! And I love the way Shannon Hale writes wonderful romances with incredibly strong and resilient heroines. No fainting wimps in her stories.

Katie: And we have to talk about the cover because it’s gorgeous and unique. Can you talk about the process of creating a cover, from idea to book on the shelf?

Julie: Creating the right cover is one of the most fun and also daunting parts of the process. The initial inspiration for this book came from a journal that used laser-cutting to create an intricate floral design. I knew I wanted to do something similar for a YA novel if I ever had the chance. Once we decided on the title of The Space Between Trees, I realized it would be the perfect book for that technique! It took some experimentation by our amazing designers to get it right, but in the end we couldn’t be more thrilled with this one-of-a-kind book!

Katie: Readers may not know that it wasn’t me but the Chronicle editing team that came up with the title. How did that happen?

Julie: I can’t take credit either! Though you and your agent both loved the original title, Wildlife Control, we were worried that it wouldn’t make sense to the audience. One of my editorial colleagues, Melissa Manlove, suggested The Space Between Trees in reference to this line: “But somehow, my name was never whispered, as if I were a ghost, an escapee, the space between the trees, the page on which a story is written.”

Julie: In addition to this novel, you have also written amazing short stories for adults, including one published in The Atlantic. Can you talk about writing for teens versus adults?

Katie: When I’m writing, I’m not consciously thinking about the age of my audience; I’m just thinking about the story. It happens that my characters are often teenagers, so it’s natural to match those stories with a YA readership; however, I believe my writing can be enjoyed by both teenagers and adults. Then again, I’m someone who read YA and adult books in equal measure when I was a kid, and I read them in equal measure now.

Julie: And finally, would you like to share what are you working on now?

Katie: A new novel: The story of a group of ghost kids trapped in the high school they attended when they were alive.

Lara Starr

Lara Starr

Lara Starr is Chronicle’s Senior Publicist for Children’s books, and the author of Wookiee Pies, Clone Scones and other Galactic Goodies, Ice Sabers, The Very Hungry Caterpillar™ Cookbook and Cookie Cutters Kit, and Chef Olivia™. Tell her you like her sweater and she’ll tell you exactly what she paid for it.
Lara Starr



  • oleyakker August 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    well done. very nice insights to the creative process that outsiders would never imagine. books don't just happen, they are a labor of love.


  • Rex August 3, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I have been hearing a lot of great buzz about The Space Between Trees! I can't wait to read it!

    Crossing my fingers on winning this one… AND my author crush right now is Heather Webber. She writes such fun, cozy mysteries!


  • gaby 317 August 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    My author crush is Jim Butcher – his Codex Alera series was so fun! I loved the fantasy world that he created and that his heroes were so loyal, likable, and interesting.

    gaby317nyc at


  • Jessica August 3, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    My author crush is John Twelve Hawks…or whoever he really is. He's so dark and mysterious, I just wanna know more!


  • Ashley August 3, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Probably Wilson Rawls. Where the Red Fern Grows has been a favorite for a long time, and I was looking up pictures and he was actually quite good looking!


  • Lori Pruyne August 4, 2010 at 5:38 am

    I have an author crush on Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels. I love every book she's ever written – and she's written tons. She's opened up so many areas of interest to me – I love her!!


  • @moziesme August 4, 2010 at 6:09 am

    Maybe John Grisham??

    janemaritz at yahoo dot com


  • Mary (BookHounds) August 4, 2010 at 6:50 am

    My crush is Suzanna Collins. Her writing is just amazing and intense.


  • Eric Van Raepenbusch August 4, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Our family is a big fan of Todd Parr, author of The Earth Book and Underwear Dos and Don'ts.

    This was a great interview. I enjoyed reading. First time visitor of the blog.


  • Jill August 4, 2010 at 9:24 am

    I think my biggest author crush is Sir Author Conan Doyle. I cannot seem to seperate him from his character of Sherlock Holmes.


  • daphne August 4, 2010 at 9:40 am

    I have a total author crush on Neil Gaiman, who is brilliant, funny, connects with his fans in numerous ways, and writes amazing books.


  • Audryn August 4, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I have three author crushes. Regretfully, David Foster Wallace is no longer with us. Next is Salman Rushdie – brilliant, romantic, funny and Indian! Last is Po Bronson – heartfelt, compassionate, witty and smart.


  • Deborah August 4, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I have a mad author crush on MIchael Chabon. Such brilliance! Such style! Such wit!


  • Erin P. August 4, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    My author crush is Mildred D. Taylor. I was a book worm as a kid, and in middle school her books were ones I could never put down. They were very well written, but also relevant and eye-opening for young adults.


  • Jessica August 4, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I have a super huge author crush on Christopher Moore. His books are just far too funny, and I love that he's a Bay Area guy. And I got to meet him at a signing a few weeks ago where the American Conservatory Theater did a reading of his book Fool, and he was super cool in person and hilarious.


  • Angie August 4, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Such a gorgeous design for a book. And I love the title. I'm looking forward to reading it. I (and everyone else on the planet) have a huge author crush on John Green. And Markus Zusak. What those men do with words…


  • Joan August 4, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    I agree with Julie: Marcus Zusak, and Neil Gaiman and Stephen Ambrose.


  • Kerry August 5, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    My literary crush is Jay McInerney, ever since I was a 19-year-old intern on a Seattle morning talk show and he came in as a guest, fresh off his rock-star success of Bright Lights Big City. He was an hour early and we watched Wheel of Fortune and ate donuts in the green room! My head almost exploded. I still remember what I was wearing–and that was more than twenty years ago.


  • Dixie August 5, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Oh, I have too many author crushes. The most recent additions are Spencer Quinn and Laura Lippman.


  • Katia Nizic August 5, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Can't wait to read it! Great back and forth between Julie and Katie.

    My first author crush is Neil Gaiman (Stardust, American Gods, and Coraline, anyone?). He also has awesome unkempt hair and regularly blogs about his dogs and writing.

    My second is Meg Cabot. All of her YA and chick-lit books are hilarious, but also very honest and with strong, female protagonists. She also blogs regularly about her cats and her favourite TV shows.

    – Katia Nizic


  • fromawriter August 8, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Her new novel idea sounds like a very interesting one.


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