Tuesday, February 17, 2009


A.S. King (Amy Sarig King) has recently returned to Pennsylvania after a decade in Ireland . Her short fiction has appeared in numerous journals and magazines including Washington Square, FRiGG, Literary Mama, Contrary, Quality Women’s Fiction, The Huffington Post, and has been nominated for Best New American Voices 2010. The Dust of 100 Dogs (Flux, 2009) is her first young adult novel. You can find more at www.as-king.com or www.thedustof100dogs.com.

The Dust of 100 Dogs

In the late seventeenth century, famed teenage pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with the dust of 100 dogs, dooming her to one hundred lives as a dog before retuning to a human body – with all her memories intact. Now she's a contemporary American teenager, and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica.

What would you like readers to take away from your book?

My favorite kind of book is a book that makes me think – sometimes for days after finishing. So, if I had a wish for every reader, it would be that the book makes them stop and think about it the next day. (And maybe the day after.)

Why did you choose to write this book?

The idea came from my first explorations of Irish history. I used to walk my dogs down my small road [in Ireland ] and think of the people who had walked that road before me. The rest unraveled from there. My exploration of what the Irish endured, especially during Cromwell’s time, stirred feelings about the things that women have endured throughout history. That led me to reading about white slavery in the 17th century, which led me to read about the Caribbean , and its many eras of slavery. I think what pushes me to write all of my books is bringing something unjust and hidden [by time] into the light, so we can remember how dark things once were, and remind ourselves to stay in the light.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned a decent amount of Irish and European history. I learned about dog psychology and the history of dogs and dog breeding. I learned everything I know about pirates.

What was your favorite scene from the book?

I love the opening Saffron chapter (Chapter One) because her introduction is such a wow moment for me as a reader.

What one thing about writing do you wish non-writers would understand?

I am blessed with the coolest non-writer ever as a spouse. He has no trouble with me disappearing for hours while I do this sort of thing. When I'm working on something, he knows he has to be the every-parent and housekeeper while I type myself stupid here in the basement. Most other non-writers in my life don't understand that I just can't stop working if I'm working.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

To enjoy every minute of the publishing my debut novel.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

The wait. Though there were many positives that came out of my fifteen-year-long journey, it was very difficult to keep the faith while I was on that road.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I think people might be surprised that I don’t like boats and presently have no pets.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

I’ve been really lucky in this respect. I have a great group of writing friends who have helped me along the way, and warned me about things on the path before I got to them. Because of these generous people, I cannot find three answers to this question. But in order to not cop out entirely, I will say that I had no idea how much time I’d have to spend here, promoting through the computer, during these pre-launch months. It can get a bit overwhelming at times, but it’s all worth it – and I can’t complain. It’s all awesome.

How do you reach new readers?

I publish short stories in literary magazines and participate in the blogosphere. I have a weekly writing contest on my blog and find my way to other blogs and meet new people. In the coming years, I hope to run fiction workshops in high schools.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite?

Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Walt Whitman, and George Orwell.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Do write because you love writing. Don’t expect fame and fortune.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)


Our theme for this month is Writing the book, what advice do you have for staying motivated to complete the book?

I tend to hit a small low when I reach the middle of a book, because I know the hardest parts are yet to come. So, I take a few days off to daydream and draw a big time line and think about the timing of future plot points. I use either a white board or a big piece of paper, divided into POVs and storylines. It's usually colorful. This gets me excited for the end.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

I just finished a book called IGNORE VERA DIETZ, about a sensible girl who’s full of secrets. Now, I’m writing another YA historical/contemporary mix and should be done around August.

Thanks so much for having me!

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