Marlborough – After 15 years of constant writing, submitting manuscripts, and receiving 500 rejection letters from publishers, A.S. King, a prominent young adult (YA) writer, had her first novel, “The Dust of 100 Dogs,” published in 2009. Since then, King has continued to write seven more novels fueled by her patience, persistence, and passion.
“I have to write…. it’s what I do,” King stated during a recent Skype session with Marlborough High School (MHS) students.
The students are members of a book club led by Alyson Cox, MHS media specialist, who met King at this year’s Mass. School Library Association conference where King was the keynote speaker. Cox had been communicating with King for several months prior to the conference, and after meeting King followed up with an invitation for the proclaimed author to Skype with her students.
During the club’s Skype session, King emphasized that success is not publishing a book; it’s about writing a good book. A photographer as well as a visual artist, King considers her writing a continuous metaphor.
“I am a poet first,” stated King. “Sylvia Plath has greatly influenced me as has Kurt Vonnegut.”
Students were curious about what inspires King to write and how she finds the time. King travels all over the country speaking to high school and university students and teaches writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She stressed that she does not spend time watching TV or going on social media; her focus is on writing which she does throughout the day as she sips her favorite teas.
The MHS book club just finished reading King’s book, “Please Ignore Vera Dietz.” King revealed that this book helped her come to terms with death. She shared her approach to character development and wrestling with themes like regret. They also discussed the importance of selecting a strong visual for a book cover that authentically captures the mood and theme of the book.