Most people would think that only a very twisted person would think to put a yak in some guy’s bed. Still Kay Pluta is a nice, normal(?) person. Here’s the little chat I had with her about her new book.

What inspired you to write There’s a Yak in my Bed?
I’ve been dreading this question, because I honestly don’t remember. I was just playing with words and it happened.

In your book Ted wakes up to find a yak in his bed. Whatever gave you the idea of a yak?
I was looking for an animal with a three or four letter name that wasn’t overused in children’s literature. It’s really not about my name “Kay” spelled backwards like a lot of people think.

Your book is leveled so that a first or second grader could independently read the text. Was that hard to write?
No, it was fun and challenging like solving a puzzle.

How did you learn to write easy readers?
I had been writing testing material for an educational company, and also had just completed Anastasia Suen’s Easy Reader class. Plus, I was teaching my five year old to read and one of my close friends is a kindergarten teacher. She loaned me a lot of books to study.

What advice do you have for someone trying to write their own easy reader?
Take a class and/or read articles and books about the specifics of writing easy readers. Read, read, read a hundred or more easy readers before you try to write one. And if you know someone who teaches reading, that helps.

What route did you take to get published?
I started out writing for magazines and online sites. Only recently has there been enough of a lull in my personal life to write full time. But I kept networking, reading, and writing until that day came.

Who are your favorite authors?
Beverly Cleary, Louis Sachar, Dav Pilkey, Polly Horvath, Kate DiCamillo, Gail Carson Levine, David Lubar

What inspires you to write?
It’s my only chance for greatness because I’m too chicken to be an astronaut.

Will there be anymore Yak books?
Yes, I’m working on the sequel now, which picks up on the story from the minor character’s point of view, There’s a Fox in My Lunch.

There’s a Yak in My Bed releases on April 1, 2007. ISBN: 0-9769417-4-0

© Copyright 2006-2011 Madeline Smoot. All rights reserved.
May be excerpted and duplicated for educational purposes.
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