Kirstin Cronn-Mills, PhD, teaches writing, literature, and critical thinking at South Central College in North Mankato, Minnesota. She writes fiction, poetry, and nonfiction books and articles. Her first young adult novel, The Sky Always Hears Me and the Hills Don’t Mind, was a Minnesota Book Award finalist. Her second—Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, a coming-of-age story about Gabe, a trans* music geek—was a Lambda Literary Award finalist and the 2014 Stonewall Book Award winner for best children’s and young adult book about the gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender experience.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
Too many to list! I loved reading about kids from other countries, and I loved National Geographic “place” books, even though I couldn’t always understand them. I had a grown-up book about the Valley of the Kings in Egypt that I read over and over.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
“Tell me one last thing,” said Harry. “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?”
Dumbledore beamed at him, and his voice sounded loud and strong in Harry’s ears even though the bright mist was descending again, obscuring his figure.
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Too many to list! Maurice Sendak was the whole package, and was great at everything he did.
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
I think books are magic, and I wanted to be magic, too.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Just put your butt in the chair and do it—don’t judge it, just do it. You can always revise. The most important thing is putting something on paper. If you put your butt in your chair and do it, you can call yourself a writer (or illustrator), even if you’re never published. You’re doing it! So you’re a writer.