Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet Author Katie Crouch

Author Katie Crouch Pens New YA Book

Katie Crouch, bestselling author of the adult books Men and Dogs and Girls in Trucks, has just released a new teen book set in Savannah. Check out Magnolia League now (click on the title)!

In it, 16-year-old Alexandria Lee must move in with a wealthy grandmother she's never known who lives in Savannah. By birth, Alex is a rightful (if unwilling) member of the Magnolia League -- Savannah's long-standing debutante society.

White gloves and silk gowns are a far cry from the vintage t-shirts and torn jeans shorts she's used to. Yet, even as Alex questions the Magnolia League's intentions, she becomes entangled in their seductive world.

(Watch for Crouch's sequel later...)

What inspired you to write Magnolia League?

When I was growing up, my babysitter often spoke of Hoodoo. I think she might have practiced it. Salt by the door, burying the hair left in the comb, grave decoration -- that sort of thing. It caused me to get interested in the Gullah culture of the Sea Islands. I wrote my thesis on it in college. I also love writing about high school, so when it came to creating this series, the peanut butter sort of went with the jelly, you might say.

Katie Crouch
You have written a bestselling adult novel. Why write a book for teens?

Sixteen-year olds make excellent characters. I have at least one in each of my novels. When you are 16, your mind is fully formed, you are largely free of scars from past mistakes, your mind is open to new experiences, and you are at your physical peak, give or take a couple of years. Teens are also extremely open to bad choices -- a must for my plots. The teen world is a very exciting place to be fiction-wise...though I have to say that I'm glad I'm not one anymore!!!

Did your experiences as a teen make it into the book?

Absolutely. I pillaged my diaries. Alex is irreverent and awkward, very much as I was as a teen skulking about the streets of Charleston in the eighties.

Alex moves in with her grandmother and deals with the loss of her mother. What were your relationships like with the adults in your family when you were a teenager?

Well, this is where Alex and I differ. I have very supportive and present parents. They are nothing like the parents in this book. But parents are a problem in teen books, because the world you create must be ruled by the kids. You'll notice in a whole lot of YA books, the mom and dad either get killed off or are sent away to another planet.

Did you grow up in a debutante society?

I was not a deb! (Although I did attend Miss Whaley's Cotillion on Meeting Street.) I still have very nice manners to this day. You'd never believe it, but it has helped me through the years to know how to greet a stranger graciously, and the Lyndey Hop came in handy too.

Are your characters modeled after your own experiences growing up?

No. Other than Alex's voice and the Hoodoo, I let my imagination run rampant.

What was it about Savannah -- or the Deep South in general -- that intrigued you enough to base your novel there?

Well, I set all of my books here. I've tried other things, but they didn't work. I grew up here, and though I spend much of the year in California, I think there's pluff mud in my blood.

Check out Katie's Web site or put her books on hold at your favorite CCPL branch!

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