Essays and Poems,  Uncategorized

A Writer’s Life Revealed: Kirby Larson

This is the third post in the series A Writer’s Life Revealed, where authors and writers share insights into their writing lives. Last week Jacqui Lipton shared her wisdom with us. Today, Kirby Larson, our third contributor, joins us on Blogging Story!

Kirby Larson and The Writer’s Life

A snippet of a family story converted Kirby Larson from history-phobe to history fanatic, resulting in the Newbery Honor book, Hattie Big Sky. She is the author of the Dogs of WWII series for Scholastic, which includes Dash, a Scott O’Dell Historical Fiction Prize winner, and the Audacity Jones series. With her dear friend, Mary Nethery, she has written two award winning nonfiction picture books, Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship and Survival, and Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine and a Miracle.

What is Your Writing Routine?

Ha! In my dream life, I am at my computer every day at 8 am and work until 5 or 6, with a break for lunch. And, up until about a year ago, that truly was my routine. Then a family health crisis and the building of a new home threw everything off kilter. I am just now reclaiming my former daily work routine, which meant shuffling in my slippers to my home office each morning, coffee in hand, and working till it was time to cook or eat dinner. Often I would work on the weekend! Right now, I am setting my sights on 1500 words per day.

Do You Have Any Challenges that Regularly Crop Up/Family Members that Need Your Love and Attention More than Your Book?

See my answer above. Whenever humanly possible, my family comes first at this stage of my life. Our time with one another is precious and far too brief.

Is There a Hot Drink or Baked Good or Chocolate Bar that Helps Get You Started?

Coffee!!! No cream or sugar. Sometimes an Americano.

What Accomplishments do You Celebrate, and How?

This question reminds me that I have grown lax about celebrating milestones. I used to have a lovely party each time a new book came out; haven’t done that for the last several books. Code Word Courage (Scholastic) launches April 24, with no real plans on my part to celebrate (though, to be fair, I will be in NYC getting ready to attend the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Awards ceremony, where I will find out if Audacity Jones Steals the Show (Scholastic) is this year’s winner in the juvenile (I hate that word!) division). After nearly a year of life messiness that pulled me away from my work, I am finally finding my way back in. That’s certainly worth celebrating — maybe that means ice cream tonight!

What Advice do You Have for Writers Out There Who Feel Discouraged or Unmotivated?

Surround yourself with fellow creatives who will give you a kick in the keister when you need motivation. If you’re discouraged, throw a Texas-sized pity party, then brush the confetti out of your hair and get back to work.

Check Back Next Week for More!

Thank you so much for sharing your process, Kirby! Her work routine sounds perfect—8-9 solid hours. No wonder she’s written so many wonderful books! And Kirby, I love that you’re coming back to writing after time away. I’d say get yourself that bowl of ice cream, because that is definitely cause for celebration. Leave comments for Kirby below, and be sure to check back next week for our next writer, Kathryn Benson!


  • Debbie Kitterman

    Laura – thanks for sharing your interview with Kirby. I always find it such great inspiration and fun to peak into the life of other writers for tips and tricks that work well for them. I especially liked that Kirby just focuses on word count each day and not necessarily hours put in. I am your neighbor today at #LMM linkup 🙂 So glad to have you as a neighbor.

    PS.. if you are looking for another place to link to on Thursday’s I would love if you would consider joining my new linkup #TuneInThursday – it opens Thursday 3am PST and runs through Sunday night. you can find it at (Please feel free to delete the link if you think it inappropriate).

  • Gayl

    It was interesting to hear how much time she sets aside for writing, but also that her family comes first. My problem is that I don’t have any routine for writing, and it’s hard to convince myself to set aside time to do it. But I know that if I ever want to get a book finished that discipline is what’s needed. 🙂 It was inspiring to read her answers. Blessings to you! Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup.

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