What will Kentucky Book Festival visitors find on your table?
Smiling faces! Writers spend a lot of time alone, working on their books. KBF is so much fun because it’s a chance to meet readers one-on-one! It’s humbling to meet kids and grown-ups who have read and enjoyed your previous books and want more, and it’s super exciting to talk to readers who have never heard of you but might get hooked on something new.
Whom do you invite to stop by? Who will benefit from reading your book?
I love when a kid is walking by, kind of shy about whether or not to stop, but maybe a cover really grabs them, and they do stop, and we have a great conversation about what books and writers they like. I’ve had many reluctant readers stop because they like the look of a cover, and when I tell them the plot, they get sucked in, which is so important. I always believe if a reluctant reader likes one book, that will lead to another and another. One book can open up a whole world of reading!
Could you please tell us something curious about you and/or your book?
I love Shakespeare, always have. Probably since I grew up in a theatre. For many, many years, I wanted to do a modern retelling of one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, The Tempest, but I couldn’t figure out how. It took me tons of starts and stops, but finally, when I knew I wanted the story to be set in rural Kentucky with teens dealing with real things like addiction, I felt I was on the right path. I believe that Wrecked, speaks to kids today, kids who may be going through hard times, and yet it ties in with big themes of loss, love and redemption that Shakespeare wrote about so long ago.
Is this your first time participating in Kentucky Book Festival? If yes – what are you looking forward to the most? If you’ve participated before – what was your favorite experience at the Festival?
I love the Kentucky Book Festival!! I’ve been coming for years—both as an author and as a fan. It’s my favorite literary event in Kentucky! I get to talk about my books, yes, but I also get to talk to other writers, make new friends, catch up with old friends, and walk away with a bag (or two) of wonderful books for my collection—or to give as gifts at Christmas! Kentucky Book Festival is definitely for book lovers!
Heather Henson is an award-winning author of several books for young readers. Her most recent YA novel, Wrecked, is a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest set in rural Kentucky, which Publisher’s Weekly called an “explosive thriller.”