Q & A WITH KELTIE
Where were you born?
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Where do you live now?
What was your first writing assignment?
An article about ice for OWL Magazine. Eventually, I became the editor of OWL Magazine and started writing books.
Do you have any pets?
I have a tortoiseshell cat named Scarlett who has an orange patch around one eye. She's a furry bundle of mischief who has developed a reputation as "the terror of the street." She even likes to chase the pointer of my mouse around my computer screen. Maybe she likes to hang out with me, because I am surrounded by fish. For some inexplicable reason, I have always been drawn to colourful art of fish. I have a fish painting, fish mobile, fish necklace, fish bracelet, fish lamp, and fish teapot. So fish are swimming on my walls, hanging from the ceiling, and splashing around my kitchen counter! And recently, when I went to Estonia, the homeland of my grandparents, I figured out why. Estonian people have a deep connection with and respect for the ocean. They recognize that the ocean gives us food, water, and life itself and that while we need the ocean, the ocean does not need us. So fish, the lifeblood of the ocean, just may be in my genes.
What was your favourite subject in school?
English or science—I could never decide which.
What was your favourite book when you were a kid?
Harriet the Spy—I read it more times than I dare to remember.
What’s your favourite book now? Why?
I can’t choose just one favourite. But I can tell you who some of my favourite authors are: Will Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Michael Ondaatje, Anne Michaels, Jared Diamond, Michael Lewis, Sarah J. Maas, and J.K. Rowling. There, my secret’s out now—I’m a huge Harry Potter fan!
What do you do for fun in your spare time?
I hang out with my friends, I read, I do yoga, I read, I ride my bike, I read, I go canoeing, I read, I go to the movies. Oh, and did I mention that I like to read?
What do you like most about being an author?
Getting the chance to write and to meet readers.
Where do you do your writing? Is there a special place where you like to work?
I take Virginia Woolf’s advice and write in a room of my own ;D I draw inspiration from a painting that hangs above my desk, depicting a brilliant blue sky peeking through some treetops. Whenever I look up, the painting’s peek-a-boo sky winks at me—as if to say, "Hey Keltie, the possibilities are limitless. Write on!"
Can you describe the types of research you do when you write a book? How do you keep track of it all?
I do loads and loads of research. I talk to people, track down experts, scour libraries, hunt through museums, and comb the Internet. Keeping track of it all is a job unto itself! I compile information then I file it in folders by topic.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
If you want to write, read, read, and read anything you can get your hands on—books, magazines, blogs, comics— anything that interests you. As you read, ask yourself: how does the author get my attention and grab my interest? Then write something that you’d like to read and try to use those techniques or methods in your own writing. Go for it!
What’s your personal motto?
The beginning is always today. — Mary Wollstonecraft