Tag Archives: Kelly Barson

the inevitable inquisition of ms. kelly barson

Filing income taxes.

K.Barson Author 2232
Yup. That’s her all right. The one I was telling you about.
Eating tongue.
Folding a fitted sheet.
These, my wee wombats, are all things we would rather not do. And yet, oft times we must (well, hopefully not too oft. Yeesh.) So is the case with today’s post. Do I want to pummel my dear friend and sublime author young adult Kelly Barson with question after needling question? Nay. And yet, pummel I must. It is for your own good, dear readers.
And so, steel yourselves, and let the unfliching query of Kelly Barson begin . . .
What is your favorite day of the week-and yes, why? This isn’t popular, but I like Mondays. I like a week that’s full of possibilities, open for a fresh start.
Have you ever kissed a toad? No, but I have almost stepped on one. In my bare feet! I stepped, but before I shifted my weight to the point of no return, I felt the toad’s muscles ripple under my feet. I jumped and screamed. The toad jumped, too. We were both grateful he didn’t croak.
What is under your bed? Drawers full of treasure and an impressive collection of dust bunnies, many of them vintage.
Who makes you laugh the most? My husband Larry. Because we’re so different, he sees and navigates the world very differently from me. As a result, he often says the unexpected and that cracks me up.
If you were a cheese, what kind would you be? Pepper jack because no matter how hard I try to be smooth, I just can’t hide the fact that I’m kind of spicy.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Forgiveness.
What kind of music feels like torture to you? Country music. Not a fan. Not at all. Listening to it makes me really grumpy.
What was the last thing you ordered from an infommerical? This exercise contraption called The Bean. I loved it! It was super comfortable and perfect for lounging in front of the TV and eating chips. It didn’t help my abs at all though.
What is your inner adult/inner child ratio? I was much more of an adult when I was a child. Now that I’m older, the ratio is closer to 50/50. I’m guessing that when I’m old, I’ll be totally childlike.
If you could make a guest appearance on a sit com, which one would it be–and why? Life in Pieces. It’s one of my newest favs. I would want to be friends with Dianne Wiest, both in the show and in real life.
Describe your sock drawer in three words or less. Colorful and woolly.
If you hadn’t become a writer, what would you be? Sad and grumpy. Oh, you mean as a profession? A hermit who sells vintage dust bunnies on eBay.
What is your favorite punctuation mark? The em dash because I like to interrupt a thought–both in real life and in my writing–to insert random info.
What is your favorite food or drink while writing? Coffee before noon. I drink a lot of water, so I always have a glass with me. While writing, I like crunchy snacks like pretzels or garlic plantain chips. And candy. (However, while writing CHARLOTTE, I kind of OD’d on pretzels and garlic plantains, so I’m taking a break from them for a while. I’m currently seeking a new obsession and am open to suggestions.)
And your fantasy roadtrip destination? I’m kind of a homebody, so whenever I fantasize about a cross-country road trip, it usually morphs into an Upper Peninsula Michigan trip because Michigan is beautiful and close to home. I would like to see the Grand Canyon someday, though, but I probably won’t drive there.
Can you do any impersonations? If so, who? No, none, not one. All of my voices sound like me.
Dear insatiable readers, you want to know more now, don’t you? I knew it, you inquisitive little weasels, you. Well, click here and you’ll learn even more about Kelly and her amazing YA works published by Viking Books for Young Readers.
As you get older, the questions come down to about two or three. How long? And what do I do with the time I’ve got left? ~ David Bowie

Available April 5, 2016




Kelly’s first young adult novel.


take the spot your super power quiz

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

In 2013, I was fortunate to receive a critique from the lovely and ever-encouraging YA author Cynthia Leitich Smith. After reviewing the opening chapter of my second middle grade novel, Cyn told me humor was my super power. Me? I have a SUPER power? Well, if I have one, I know for certain you do too.

Maybe your super power is . . .

  • Writing realistic dialogue
  • Riding that fine line between sweet and sentimental
  • Creating rich, other-worldly settings
  • Weaving intricate, suspenseful plots
  • Concocting quirky, but believable characters
  • Being just plain funny
  • None of the above–it’s your own proprietary blend

It’s always easier to pinpoint someone else’s super power, isn’t it. My friend Lisa Wheeler is a whiz with rhyme. Catherine Bieberich and Kelly Barson are able to strike a perfect balance between heart and humor. Jennifer Whistler crafts novels with a highly visual, cinematic quality. Others, like Monica Harris, are grand researchers who cull little-known tidbits from old texts to make even snoresville non-fiction topics intriguing.

What’s the point in knowing your super power? Well, as with a lot of things, it’s empowering to have a “go to”—like that perfected dish you can always whip without worry or that compliment-winning outfit in your closet. You can’t make lemon chicken piccata or wear that same suede jacket every day, but when the time is right, it’s confidence-building to know it’s there when you need it.

You can’t lean on your superpower for everything. (Even Superman had his day job as Clark Kent.) That’s why it’s important to read widely, request critiques, participate in workshops and stretch yourself by writing outside your comfort genre. Because my super power is humor, it’s easy for me to write in silly sound bites and let my characters make clever asides. While being funny can be engaging and amusing, overuse of humor can lapse into what I call “snarkasm.” Chronic quipping distances readers and makes otherwise 3-D characters seem shallow. A clever boy can become what political consultant David Alexrod described as a “congenital smart aleck.” There’s nothing super about that.

So, how about you? What’s your super power? (You may even have more than one!)

Spot Your Super Power Quiz

  1. When someone critique’s my work, the first positive thing I most often hear is:
    1. You’re so ___________________________.
    2. Your writing is ________________________.
  2. I feel most at ease writing ____________________.
  3. If I had to compare my work to someone else’s, it’d have to be:_____________________ and his/her work is known for ____________________________.
  4. Three words I’d use to describe my work:
    1. ___________________________
    2. ___________________________
    3. ___________________________
  5.  Text/call a fellow writer and ask for three words to describe your work:
    1. ___________________________
    2. ___________________________
    3. ___________________________
  6. Is there an overlap between the answers to questions 4 and 5? If so:_______________________.

My super power is:__________________________.

Super! Please use your super powers for good. And remember to pick up your cape from the dry cleaners.

We must be careful with our words – we’re like superheroes and words are like our super powers. Super powers should always be used to help others. ~ Dianna Hardy


congratulations winner of 45 Pounds (More or Less)!


45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson

45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson

By Stephanie Stouffer

By Stephanie Stouffer

Many thanks to everyone who entered the 45 Pounds (More or Less) giveaway. Frog on a Dime is happy to congratulate Lisa Craven, WINNER of a personalized copy of K.A. Barson’s debut young adult novel.

Lisa, please go the Frog on a Dime contact page to provide your mailing address for shipping. Your new summer reading will be on its way to you soon. So that Kelly can provide you with a personalized autograph, please indicate if you’d like the book signed for you or for another lucky person.

If you weren’t a lucky winner today, let me encourage you to purchase a copy from your local independent bookstore, if possible.

Hoppy Summer Ready from Frog on a Dime!

win 45 pounds (more or less)


45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson

45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson

K.A. Barson (aka my friend Kelly)

K.A. Barson (aka my friend Kelly)

Just one week ago today Kelly Barson’s young adult novel 45 Pounds (More or Less) made its debut. The blogosphere has been buzzing with words of praise from readers ever since.


You haven’t read 45 Pounds yet? It’s funny, refreshing and fabulous, just like Kelly.

Well, now is your chance to win a FREE, personally autographed copy!

Entering the official Frog on a Dime drawing is simple:

–Just leave a comment on this post by 1:45 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, July 21.
–The winner will be announced on Sunday evening.

You could have your own personalized copy of the hottest debut novel of the summer headed your way soon!

Kelly hopped on over to Frog on a Dime earlier this month. Read my interview with Kelly. Check out Kelly’s interview with Natalie Aguirre on Literary Rambles too!

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in determination. ~ Tommy Lasorda

meet debut YA author K. A. Barson


K.A. Barson (aka my friend Kelly)

K.A. Barson (aka my friend Kelly)

45 Pounds More or Less by K.A. Barson

45 Pounds More or Less by K.A. Barson

What a delight to welcome my friend and favorite new YA author K.A. Barson to Frog on a Dime. Kelly’s debut novel 45 POUNDS (More or Less) will be released by Viking on July 11. I was lucky enough to read it this week. Trust me, you will want to pre-order yours now! In fact, order two–one for you and one for a teen girl you love. She’ll thank you for it!

Recently Kelly was kind enough to pull up a dime and spend a little time answering a series of grueling, mind-numbing questions. She’s quite a trooper.

So, Kelly, when did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I don’t remember ever not wanting to be a writer, but for most of my life it wasn’t a real dream. It was like wanting to be President or an astronaut or professional basketball player or rock star kind of dream. I wrote stories and sometimes submitted them. One rejection meant they were destined to live in my file cabinet. I didn’t realize that it was something I could really do until I shared with a friend from church that I’d written a book for young readers (it had a file condo in my cabinet) and she introduced me to this group called SCBWI. Her name is Vicky. Maybe you know her?

Very funny, Kelly. So, back to you, what is it about writing for children that appeals to you versus writing for adults?
I don’t have much in common with adults. Kids’ and teens’ feelings and life experiences feel the most alive and real to me. Whenever I imagine a story, it’s from a young person’s perspective. They have the most unique ways of looking at the world.

What were your favorite books growing up?
My first loves were Mother Goose and Dr. Seuss. I remember making up my own stories to the Mother Goose illustrations. I would look at them for hours, long before I could read. Then I devoured everything by Beverly Cleary and then Judy Blume. As a teen, I loved Stephen King.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?
When talking about my work-in-progress at the time, a mentor once told me that my character has to DO something besides not die. That really stuck with me. Knowing a character’s motivation–what s/he wants and why s/he reacts a certain way–has helped me shape my work ever since.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were starting out?
It takes 10,000 hours to master any craft. I wish I would have had the patience to wait until I had my hours in before submitting. I was gutsy enough to think I had what it took long before that. Maybe I needed that intestinal fortitude to keep going, but when I read some of the stuff I submitted too early, I’m embarrassed.

What are you glad you didn’t know when you were starting out?
I’m glad I didn’t know how long it would take. If my Magic 8 Ball had given me cold, hard numbers and dates of when things would finally start happening, it might have been too overwhelming. I might have given up. I hope I wouldn’t have, but the idea that it “could happen tomorrow” kept me going. I might not have worked as hard if I knew it would still be years away.

What’s the most encouraging thing anyone has ever said to you (related to writing)?
This is the hardest question. I’ve been blessed with a massive support network–from my dear friend Vicky who first encouraged me to be a real writer to multiple-award-winning authors who’ve cheered for me every step of the way. Just thinking about the answer to this question has overwhelmed me with gratitude.

What advice would you give to someone who has been pursuing publication for a long time, with close calls, but no contracts?
Never give up. “The Call” happens in an instant, often when you least expect it. Just keep plugging along and don’t let discouragement rule you. It really could happen tomorrow.

You’re a great encourager, Kelly. Thank you so much for stopping by. Best wishes on the release of your awesome first novel. I know teen readers will love it as much as I did.

And, as always, we end with a quote. This one happens to be one of Kelly’s favorites . . .

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t–you’re right. ~ Henry Ford.