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The Boy Problem comes to Camden

Posted: May 6, 2014 5:13 p.m.
Updated: May 7, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Kathryn Erskine (right), a close friend of Kinard’s and fellow writer, stands with Kinard at the display table with their recently released books.

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Books on Broad in Camden hosted a book launch party for Camden native Kami Kinard’s new release, The Boy Problem. Kinard explained that the book is the companion novel for her previously released novel The Boy Project, though it can also be read independently of its predecessor. Both books are of the "middle grade genre," Kinard noted.

For Kinard, inspiration to write these novels came to her while she was at a writer’s retreat.

"We were advised to go back and read our diaries from middle school. That gave me the voice of my protagonist. It reminded me there was a time when I used to really care about having a boyfriend," she said with a laugh. "I remember that used to be very important to me."

Along with her middle school diaries, Kinard’s sense of authenticity when crafting the voice of a middle schooler is also partly due to the input of her own children. "I have a 14-year-old and an 18-year-old. I’m pretty sure there are some quotes from them in my books," she said.

The desire to write met Kinard very early in life. "As soon as I learned to read, I knew I wanted to write," she said. "At Camden Primary School, Mrs. Emily McGuirt gave me a notebook for my birthday and I wrote my stories in there. My parents also supported me to write; my dad loved to read and my mom always took me to the library," she said.

The love for reading and writing has been with Kinard ever since. These days, she describes her writing her process as occurring in her "writing zone." She explained she usually writes when her family has left the house or else she will go out herself. "I have to write every day," she said. "I don’t wait for inspiration."

Kinard said she does a great deal of editing, revising and drafting and though changes occur during this process, it never changes the personality or voice of her characters. "Revising just makes my writing clearer (especially the way) the characters express themselves. It adds more opportunity for people to laugh."

An avid reader herself, Kinard stated that her books of choice as a kid were Nancy Drew, Bobbsy Twins and Hardy Boys series. "From the first page, the book just compelled you to keep reading to the end. I realized that every book can be like that, and it doesn’t have to be a mystery," she said.

Kinard also admires the character development exhibited in the works of J.K. Rowling. "I think she does a great job and she’s very inspirational," she stated.

Her appreciation for Rowling grows from the fact that Rowling’s books encourage to continue to read in today’s world of electronics. "I think kids need to be reading. When I grew up, it was encouraged. Despite all other available distractions, we need to encourage kids to read," she said.


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