Kristen Kittscher was a child neighborhood spy but (allegedly) grew up to be an upstanding citizen, seventh grade English teacher, and writing tutor. A graduate of Brown University, she lives in Pasadena, California with her husband, Kai, and their hyperactive lab mix. The Wig in the Window is her first novel. Visit kristenkittscher.com to investigate more about her and Young & Yang’s next adventure, The Tiara on the Terrace.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
To stop time whenever I wished so I could get done all the things I’d like to!
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
How about a sentence fragment?
A plastic-surgery enhanced middle school counselor who might be a dangerous fugitive, a suspicious FBI agent, mysterious strangers with unibrows, secret codes, and an unlikely friendship strained to the breaking point…
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
The Tiara on the Terrace will follow up this one. This time, Young & Yang – and their new BFF Trista Bottoms – go undercover Miss Congeniality-style in a beauty contest in their town parade. It’s loosely based around the Tournament of Roses in my hometown of Pasadena, California.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
When I brought an advanced reader copy to a student of mine – a high school junior I’d taught since she was in sixth grade — she leaped up and ran around the room shouting for joy. It was so neat to be able to share that moment with her. I’d started writing the book when she was in seventh grade; not only did she help me creatively, she’d witnessed the long publishing journey, as well.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
If you want to write, you have stories to tell—make the time and believe in them.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
At first, I desperately want to be a bus or cab driver because I thought it would be cool to drive all day. By age 8, I’d settled on becoming a famous trumpet player and “part-time writer.” I suppose I should work on that trumpet playing. It’s really fallen by the wayside…
Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
Oh yes. I’m self-doubting and sensitive like my main character Sophie Young, curious and occasionally bold like Grace Yang, and as pragmatic and thorough as Trista Bottoms. Unfortunately, my villain’s need for control also hits awfully close to home.
What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?
Oh, so many. The first that comes to mind is my fellow middle grade debut author Caroline Carlson’s MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT, which is a hilarious pirate tale featuring golden crochet hooks, talking gargoyles, and a wonderfully intrepid heroine. It’ll be out in September.
How do you react to a bad review?
I try to take away any gems that ring true for me as far as actual writing craft goes — or places I’ve offended out of ignorance. Usually, though, I can see clearly enough through my tears to notice that it just wasn’t that reviewer’s flavor of book.
If I can’t, I go look at reviews my very favorite authors have received and get irritated on their behalf instead of mine.
If you could have a signed copy of any novel what would it be and why?
brb let me go check AbeBooks to check the current market rates…
But in seriousness, I’d love a signed copy of Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy. I didn’t read it until a few years ago, but I was struck by the truths about human nature in it. When I read Louise Fitzhugh’s correspondence with famed children’s editor Ursula Nordstrom, I became even more interested in her as a person. It’d be inspiring to have that on my shelves.
It’s hard to pick just one, though. I have a fantasy of becoming a rare book dealer.
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
No one would write about my life! Far too boring. But a friend once joked that if I wrote about my own life, the title of my autobiography would be “WAIT, GUYS, THIS TITLE’S NOT RIGHT YET.” That pretty much nails it.
If you had 24 hours alone how would you spend it?
Writing and reading, of course!
Write a Haiku about your book
(This looks like a spoiler – but it’s not really!)
Bet they wished they’d known
The murderer was only
Chopping pickled beets
TV or Movies?
Hot or Cold?
Black or White?
Cats or Dog?
Both! (as long as they are black. Kidding. See above question.)
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I once flew a small WWII-era plane around the Statue of Liberty
Sophie Young and Grace Yang have made a game of spying on their neighbors, but when they stake out the home of notoriously phony middle school counselor Dr. Charlotte Agford (aka Dr. Awkward), they stumble across a terrifying scene.
Or do they? The girls are convinced that Dr. Agford’s sugary sweet façade hides a dark secret. But as they get closer to the truth about Agford, the strain of the investigation pushes Sophie and Grace farther apart. Even if they crack their case, will their friendship survive?
Perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Wig in the Window is a smart, funny middle-grade mystery with a Rear Window twist.