Interview With Author Andrea Kurth
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
As a special education teacher, I learned how important it was that all kids were represented in books. This was a very important message of diversity that I believed I needed to incorporate into my classroom. As I started reading books with kids of different races to my students, I realized that my students’ disabilities weren’t being represented, so my students couldn’t see themselves in the stories. More recently, I found books that explained various disabilities, which are important to have in classroom libraries, but I wanted to read fun, exciting chapter books to my students in which they also could see themselves. My teenage sons, Braden and Owen, helped write our two published books in the series. We are planning on writing at least 10 in the series.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Zac’s Mighty Wheels and the Case of the Missing Grannies was inspired years ago by the need to want to see my student represented in books. Then I met Zac, a hilarious kid who had an effect on everyone he met. I’m not sure what it was, but while I was teaching him, I felt like God told me I needed to write a book that represented Zac. He was in a wheelchair, like a lot of my students at the time, but had a degenerative type of MD called Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Unfortunately, Zac was 5 months shy of seeing the actual book come to life, but I’m sure he is happy that other kids in wheelchairs are being represented in books, and more importantly that he is the main character who’s a superhero. 10% of our profits from books one and two are donated to DMD.
I also wanted to show other disabilities and decided two of my former students, Anna and Cody, would be great representatives. Anna had cerebral palsy and uses leg braces and a crutch to help her walk and Cody has Down syndrome. Both are spunky kids who I loved to teach. I wish I could put all my students in my books, seriously, I really wish I could, but after 21 years of teaching, I really had too many students that left an impact on my heart. So although all my students inspire me, I decided to end there as far as using real names, except for one last person.
The person who inspired me to be a special education teacher, my brother Bobby. My brother has a severe intellectual disability called cri-du-chat syndrome and is featured in our second book. He is now 42 and continues to bring joy to the people around him. In our story, Cody doesn’t seem like he has an intellectual disability, but I wanted Bobby to and I think we were able to find that balance without making the book about the disability.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not that I know of!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Captain Underpants books definitely influenced our books. My boys made me read every single Captain Underpants book to them when they were little and I feel like they definitely inspired the type of book we wanted to create. Harry Potter books have definitely influenced me as well and are still my favorite books of all time.
What are you working on now?
We just published book two so book three will start to be written soon!
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
My Facebook group members are amazing. They helped support my Kickstarter, they are actively engaged and care about our mission.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Research, Research, Research! Get on Facebook groups in your genre, watch Youtube videos, find good people to format, edit, and illustrate, and never stop learning!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
It is better to have loved than never to have loved at all.
What are you reading now?
The Bible, Where the Crawdads Sing
What’s next for you as a writer?
Book 3 of Zac’s Mighty Wheels as well as a picture book cowritten with my mom.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
The Bible, the last Harry Potter, Where the Crawdads sing (I need to finish it!), self-help book on being stranded on a desert island.
Author Websites and Profiles
Andrea Kurth’s Social Media Links