Episode 20: Gay Toltl Kinman

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Author Gay Toltl Kinman is my first children's mystery writer, with ten books so far in that arena. But she is also a playwright, a teacher, and an incredibly prolific writer of both fiction and nonfiction. We talk about so many interesting things, I'll see if I can squeeze them all in the show notes. First off, here is Gay's Author Page on Amazon and here is the link to some pics of Gay on her many adventures -- including one taken in Alaska by the real Alison, the inspiration for her series. And let's not forget to link to Hearst Castle, the inspiration for her first YA novel, Wolf Castle (fka Castle Reiner). Gay's second mystery series for children, The Adventures of Lauren MacPhearson, is also inspired by another granddaughter. Both the real and fictional Laurens barely spoke at all, and yet both have had marvelous adventures. For more information on Elective Mutism (now called Selective Mutism), check out the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Gay worked with miniature books at the spectacular Huntington Library, and that experience was the inspiration for The Mystery of the Missing Miniature Books. If you like mysteries where you learn something new, this one fills the bill. I had never imagined there were so many rare and antique books under four inches tall. Here's a link to the Huntington's own collection, but if you want more details, check out the Miniature Book Society. It's impossible to talk about children's mysteries without a nod to Carolyn Keene. Both Nancy Drew and The Dana Girls mysteries were written under that name. And I gave a shout-out to Shoshona Freedman. When we talked about Gay's work as a playwright, she gave a shout-out to South Coast Rep and Cecilia Fannon. Here is a link to the video The Read, the cold reading Gay talks about, of her play on Grace Nicholson. Up next is her book on women heroines, featuring never-before-published material from letters and journals, and includes a vignette on Julia Morgan, architect of the Hearst Castle. Which brings us back full circle to Gay's original inspiration. We did it! As always, if you'd rather read than listen, here is a transcript. Enjoy! -- Laura Transcript of Interview with Gay Toltl Kinman Laura Brennan: My guest today is Dr. Gay Toltl Kinman. Her career is nothing short of epic: ten children’s books, a YA gothic novel, several adult mysteries, two nonfiction books, numerous short plays and short stories, three Agatha Award nominations and an EPPIE win. Add to that over one hundred and fifty articles in professional journals and newspapers, book reviews, a children’s book column, a teaching load that includes law, library science and writing, and I simply don’t know how she has time to chat with me. But I’m glad she does. Gay, thank you for joining me. Gay Toltl Kinman: Well, thank you for asking me. LB: I barely know where to start here, so let's first talk about you. You have a Master of science in Library Science, right? GTK: Right. LB: Did you always want to be a writer? GTK: Yes, I did. Because my mother was also. But it seemed to me so lofty and esoteric to say that I wanted to be a writer, so I don't think I ever said that I wanted to be anything specific because I didn't really know what I wanted to do. But I knew eventually I wanted to write. LB: What was the impetus there, for that first book? GTK: I was reading a lot of Gothic novels at the time. And I had an idea for a story, because I like Hearst Castle very much and we been up there a few times, and I just thought that whole setting was so fantastic. And I was working full time, and I said well I'm going to put aside Saturday morning and I'm going to write. I tried to do that but it's just impossible. So I did write it. It was originally called Castle Reiner, and then we changed it with the second publisher of the book, we changed it to Wolf Castle because it involves wolves. So I wrote that,

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