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Thursday, 07 April 2016 16:27

Newberry Medalist Kate DiCamillo Coming to Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Kate DiCamillo, award-winning children’s book author, will be at the Saratoga Springs City Center (522 Broadway) on Friday, April 15 to discuss and sign her new book, “Raymie Nightingale.”

As one of only six people to ever win two Newberry Medals, DiCamillo is a powerhouse when it comes to writing compelling, touching stories for children and young adults. Children all over the country have read her famous novel “Because of Winn-Dixie,” which was made into a film in 2005. The book is even on many school’s English curriculum for its literary brilliance, and in 2007 the U.S. National Education Foundation named “Because of Winn-Dixie” in the “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children.”

DiCamillo is also well-known for her Newberry winning novels “The Tale of Despereaux” and “Flora and Ulysses,” as well as “The Tiger Rising,” a National Book Award finalist.

DiCamillo’s most recent book “Raymie Nightingale” is being released on April 12. The novel follows the story of the title character, Raymie, as she tries to win the Little Miss Central Tire Contest. Raymie believes that if she can win the competition, her father, who ran away with a dental hygienist, will see her picture in the paper and come home. As Raymie becomes involved in the competition, she meets other contestants, Louisiana and Beverly, and learns how to overcome loss and loneliness, all while building unexpected friendships and learning her true potential.

In an interview with DiCamillo, she describes the background of her new novel, how it came to be, and what’s next for her.

Q: Where did you get the inspiration for "Raymie Nightingale?" How did it develop?

A: Well, the first thing that popped into my head was the name of the contest: The Little Miss Central Florida Tire contest, and I wrote that down in my notebook.  Soon after that, I wrote down "Raymie competes in Little Miss Central Florida Tire contest?" in the notebook.  So then, I had a character and an idea.  And I thought, “Great!  I will write a funny book about a Little Miss Contest.”  But, almost as soon as I started writing, the story went in a different direction.  Louisiana and Beverly showed up, and man, I didn't expect those characters.  Then, when I figured out why Raymie was competing (to bring her dad back), the story turned again.  So, it was an adventure.

Q: How long did it take you to write?

A: About a year and a half.  And a lot of drafts!

Q: What are some of the themes you wanted to explore in the book?

A: Eeek.  I never think in terms of themes.  I think in terms of characters.  I just follow the characters.  I can see that there are themes after the fact (usually when other people point them out to me), but I never put them there intentionally.

Q: Why do you enjoy writing for children/young adults? How is it different than writing for adults?

A: What I love about writing for kids is that you are duty-bound to end the story with hope.  Also this: the sense of possibility.  Anything can happen in a story for kids.  And I love that.

Q: What makes for a great story? What elements does it have to have?

A: For me as a reader, what captivates me is love for the world and love for the characters.

Q: What is next for you in your career?

A: I'm working on another novel!  And I've got another “Deckawoo Drive” book coming out this fall (a story about Baby Lincoln).

Kate DiCamillo’s discussion and book signing event at the City Center on April 15 will take place at 6 p.m., with doors opening at 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 for one seat /one book, $25 for two seats/one book, and $30 for three seats/one book. Tickets can be purchased at Northshire Bookstore, online at northshire.com or by calling 518-682-4200. Tickets are expecting to sell-out so get yours as soon as possible.


For more information about Kate DiCamillo, visit her website at katedicamillo.com. 

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