I'm excited to have Audrey Kane stopping by to chat about her middle-grade book, The Purple Girl! Plus, you can win a copy...
The Purple Girl
by Audrey Kane
Wakefield & Quincy Press
Caution! Violet lives within the pages of this book. And her purple spreads to everything she touches…
Violet lives behind garden walls. Is she magical? Is she the devil’s child—or simply cursed? When the lonely thirteen-year-old embarks on a dangerous journey to find the one boy that dared to befriend her, she travels at night…in the dark…to keep people from seeing her purple skin. But no one is more surprised than Violet when she unlocks her mysterious gift.
What three words best describe The Purple Girl?
Adventure. Discovery. Magic.
Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give The Purple Girl a try?
There’s only one way to find out if Violet will unlock her secret . . . and change her destiny!
Grab a copy of The Purple Girl and answer the following:
Hmmm…not easy. I like different chapters for completely different reasons. But I love Chapter Four, “The Ancient Text,” because that is where Violet decides to take a big risk for the first time in her life. I love pivotal moments.
Another tough one! Page 101 is one of my favorites. Just when you think things can’t get much worse…
The garden—at midnight. Can’t tell you more than that.
flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser:
Frozen to the spot, I didn’t dare look down. If I tumbled to the bottom, I would hit the white stone floor like a drop of purple paint.
What inspired The Purple Girl? How did the story come to be?
The inspiration came from a number of places, beginning with my love for books. As a child, I always had a book in hand; I loved fantastical escapes and stepping into new and different worlds. I still do. My art background also inspired me. Somehow, color or art always wriggles its way into my writing. But it’s the children and adults who overcome obstacles that are truly the heart of Violet’s story. They inspire me every day. And amazing kids who feel lonely or different always linger in the back of my mind.
But how did the story come to be? The Purple Girl was born from a writer’s block exercise. A fellow writer suggested I try an exercise that would force me to take off my editing hat. My job was to write for twenty-five minutes without stopping. And there were rules. I wasn’t allowed to erase a word, revise a sentence, or pause to collect my thoughts. The Purple Girl came to me . . . and I fell in love with her story.
Can you tell us a bit about your heroine Violet? What makes her special and different from other heroines? What do you love about her? I love how Violet observes the world with wonder and curiosity. Although she is extraordinary, she is still an ordinary girl who readers can relate to. She takes a risk and defies her parents as she tries to find her place in the world. Like so many children, Violet wants to belong. But is she a strong, free-thinking protagonist? Absolutely. Violet depends on herself. While Violet doesn’t let her purple define her, she has to reach deep to find her courage. And although she has a need to fit in, she doesn’t compromise who she truly is, and she never gives up hope. Oh, yeah. How could I forget the other thing that makes Violet different? She’s purple, for goodness’ sake!
Having violet skin is pretty cool and I’d love to have a light, whimsical mint green skin color...other than your own natural skin color, what color skin would you totally rock? Since I’m Violet’s mother, it’s only natural that I would want to have purple skin! Pleas-s-se, pleas-s-se, pleas-s-se.
What do you hope readers learn or walk away with from The Purple Girl? First, I want readers to have fun. I hope they will enjoy all of the little surprises in the story…the unexpected twists and turns, the adventure and betrayal.
But of course, there’s more. Violet’s story is shaped to empower young girls and help them embrace their identities. For a young reader who feels different—or like an outsider, it is reassuring for her to know she is not alone in her feelings. Violet helps kids to love themselves.
The Purple Girl also provides young-at-heart parents an entertaining read and a chance to discuss discrimination, discovery, and self-acceptance in a relatable, interesting way. So, whether a child is reading The Purple Girl for an afternoon escape or whether she is grasping the deeper social messages woven into the story, I’m happy a child is reading. And if The Purple Girl helps a young girl stand taller—well, that’s icing on the cake!
As a middle-grade author, why do you think MG is important and popular? Who are your all time fave MG hero and heroine? Writing for middle-grade readers is fun because these kids are experts at having fun. They have huge imaginations, and they see the world with wonder and optimism. And they want to believe. But they’re also beginning to find their place in the world. They are busy discovering who they are and how they fit in. Years ago, I read an article that explained how most middle-graders read to understand (life) or to escape. I think the best books offer both.
All time favorite hero and heroine? My heart goes right to the classics. Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe comes to mind when I think of a heroine. I love that the youngest of the bunch…the baby…knows more than her siblings. And then there is Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He’s sweet, lovable, vulnerable, and flawed. But who can forget Harry? He can’t be ignored.
Fill in the blanks: I’m really awesome at making my kids laugh.
I’m really embarrassed to admit that when I sit at the breakfast table and drink my morning cup of coffee, Rascals (my dog) sits in the chair next to me.
The last great book I read was The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I’ve loved re-reading it as an adult and as a mom; a completely different perspective the second time around.
If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by The Purple Girl, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
I would call it Violet’s Velvet Lavender & Lemon Cupcakes. (The recipe would have to be another family secret.) Imagine fluffy lilac cake with a dash of lavender, a pinch of lemon, and a hint of berry. Piled high with purple icing and topped with lilac sprinkles, they would have to served in purple polka dot baking cups. Since there is an edge of magic in The Purple Girl, these cupcakes would be irresistibly scrumptious but miraculously fat-free!
I had so much fun with your questions, Aeicha. Thank you for hosting me on Word Spelunking. Gotta run, though. I have a sudden sweet tooth…
Thank you so much for stopping by, Audrey!
As a writer, and also a designer of tapestries with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Georgia, it is only natural for Audrey to weave visual stories. When she is not designing tapestries, she is busy conjuring up characters that find themselves in extraordinary situations. Between carpools and design work, she is plotting, scheming, writing, and revising. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, their three children, and her unruly dog, Rascals. Audrey's favorite time to write is in the early morning while her family sleeps.
Audrey is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. She loves
traveling, museums, and blackberry-apple pie. Actually, she loves all kinds of pie. And she
especially loves her family. They have put up with Violet and Waxy for a long time.
Win a signed paperback copy of
The Purple Girl!
Audrey has generously offered one signed copy for one winner.
-must be 13+
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, stolen prizes