Meg Eden Kuyatt joins us this week to discuss her middle grade novel, Good Different
Author Name: Meg Eden Kuyatt
Book Title: GOOD DIFFERENT
Book Genre: Middle grade, Contemporary, Novel-in-verse
Release Date: 4/4/2023
Welcome, Meg! Please tells us about GOOD DIFFERENT.
Selah is an autistic girl who wishes she was powerful like a dragon, but learns to find strength through advocating for her needs by writing poems.
What drew you to writing middle grade fiction?
I never set out to write middle grade! GOOD DIFFERENT sort of popped out, and I knew it wasn’t YA like I usually wrote at the time. And because it was middle grade, I soon realized I’d probably be expected to write more in that age category…so I was going to have to figure out how to be a “middle grade writer.” But as I read more middle grade and played with new ideas, I realized I loved this category more than any other. MG is scary at first—it’s about mining what’s for many of us our most awkward, vulnerable, confusing years of change. I didn’t think I’d want to live in that space of being eleven, twelve, thirteen years old, but I’m finding it incredibly cathartic and healing. I feel like I’m able to reach out to awkward, young Meg and tell her it’s going to be OK.
What’s your favorite part about writing/being an author? What do you find challenging?
I love the flexibility and that I’m able to set my own schedule. I’m intrinsically motivated, but also don’t know how to keep up with the typical 9-5 pace. I’m a hard worker but I burn out pretty quickly in the traditional workplace. Being a writer plays to my work strengths. But it’s also very unpredictable—you can do your best work, have a really productive year, and people can say no to your books. You could do everything right yet still not sell anything. That uncertainty is awful, but also weirdly exciting. It makes every victory all the more meaningful. I think if there wasn’t a challenge, I’d find it boring, to be honest.
What do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I hope neurodivergent readers can see a place for themselves in the world. I hope they can see characters like Selah and go—hey, that’s me! Books are what brought me to discover my autism in the first place, and I hope that my books in turn can help others. But I also hope neurotypical readers can gain greater empathy for neurodivergent folks, and see how they can be amazing allies.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
This probably doesn’t count, but I love teaching and mentoring fellow writers. I feel so good after teaching and having a responsive class. But besides teaching, I really enjoy playing video games and watching gaming playthroughs. I also love singing and sometimes take taiko drumming classes!
Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it.
I’m working with a few different project ideas right now—largely in middle grade. I’m really interested in family and generational masking of neurodivergence, as well as autistic burnout. Basically the question of: how have we survived in this world that’s built for people not like us? How have we coped, and what are the consequences of unhealthy coping mechanisms? How can we find healthier responses and make a safer space for the kids of the future?
Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)? Feel free to include any upcoming, live/online events, workshops, too!
If you are interested in preordering Good Different, helping me celebrate the release, or investigating an author visit, you can find out more info here: https://linktr.ee/medenauthor
To learn more about my books, my events, and more, visit my website at: https://www.megedenbooks.com/ . I always have upcoming events—both free and paid writing webinars—and even have a free virtual craft chat to celebrate GOOD DIFFERENT’s release on 3/30! I’d love to see you there! For more info, visit: https://www.writer.org/event/meg-eden-kuyatt/
You can find me on social media at: ConfusedNarwhal (Twitter), meden_author (Instagram) and Meg Eden Writes Poems (Facebook).
Rafflecopter giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/df05f79b2/
Thank you, Meg! Good Different is available for pre-order.
A extraordinary novel-in-verse for fans of Starfish and A Kind of Spark about a neurodivergent girl who comes to understand and celebrate her difference.
Selah knows her rules for being normal.
She always, always sticks to them. This means keeping her feelings locked tightly inside, despite the way they build up inside her as each school day goes on, so that she has to run to the bathroom and hide in the stall until she can calm down. So that she has to tear off her normal-person mask the second she gets home from school, and listen to her favorite pop song on repeat, trying to recharge. Selah feels like a dragon stuck in a world of humans, but she knows how to hide it.
Until the day she explodes and hits a fellow student.
Selah’s friends pull away from her, her school threatens expulsion, and her comfortable, familiar world starts to crumble.
But as Selah starts to figure out more about who she is, she comes to understand that different doesn’t mean damaged. Can she get her school to understand that, too, before it’s too late? This is a moving and unputdownable story about learning to celebrate the things that make us different. Good Different is the perfect next read for fans of Counting by 7s or Jasmine Warga.
Meg Eden Kuyatt is a 2020 Pitch Wars mentee, and teaches creative writing at colleges and writing centers. She is the author of the 2021 Towson Prize for Literature winning poetry collection “Drowning in the Floating World” (Press 53, 2020) and children’s novels, most recently “Good Different,” a JLG Gold Standard selection (Scholastic, 2023). Find her online at https://linktr.ee/medenauthor.