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Kate DiCamillo
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Kate DiCamillo   Kate DiCamillo is the bestselling author of Because of Winn-Dixie, which received the Josette Frank Award and a Newbery Honor and was made into a movie by 20th Century Fox; The Tiger Rising, which was a National Book Award finalist; The Tale of Despereaux, which won the Newbery Medal and was made into a movie by Universal Pictures; The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, which won the Boston Globe Horn Book Award and was optioned by New Line Cinema; and more recently The Magician's Elephant.

Buy Kate DiCamillo's Books at the following locations: (downloadable audio books) (independent bookstores)
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This episode originally aired on 12/17/2009 with the following authors:
Note: The following interview has been transcribed from The Author Hour radio show. Please excuse any typos, spelling and gramatical errors.

Interview with Kate DiCamillo

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Bonus Question(s) that Didn't Air on the Live Radio Show

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Matthew Peterson: Well, let me ask you a bonus question. Itís obvious that you have a good grasp of how to write an award winning novel. What are some of your secrets of telling a good story?

Kate DiCamillo: What are some of my secrets? My secrets are working. So showing up and making small manageable goals for myself. So for me thatís two pages a day. And the other thing is paying attention to everything . . . to people when they talk and the world and to all of its mysteries. And then the biggest thing I guess is kind of like getting out of my own way and letting the story tell me rather than me trying to dictate the story. So those things, I think.

Matthew Peterson: Good. Well, thank you, Kate.

Kate DiCamillo: Well, thank you, it was awfully fun and easy!

Extra Material That was Cut from the Show Because of Time Constraints

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Matthew Peterson: I need to make sure I can say your last name correctly.

Kate DiCamillo: [laughs] Okay. Iíll listen.

Matthew Peterson: Di . . . DiC . . . How did you say it?

Kate DiCamillo: DiCamillo.

Matthew Peterson: DiCamillo.

Kate DiCamillo: DiCamillo, yeah.

Matthew Peterson: DiCamillo, okay, good. Yeah . . .

Kate DiCamillo: Just think mellow, even though Iím really neurotic.

Matthew Peterson: Yep, yep. [laughs] I was like, ďOh no, I donít know how to say her last name. Oh, great! Iím going to kill it.Ē

Kate DiCamillo: [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo: DiCamillo, yep.

Matthew Peterson: I can do that. I had Tony DiTerlizzi . . .

Kate DiCamillo: DiTerlizzi, yeah.

Matthew Peterson: . . . yeah, the other day.

Kate DiCamillo: Actually DiCamilloís a lot easier than that, youíve got to admit.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah, and I was like, ďIs it DiTerlizzi?Ē ďNo, DiTerlizzi.Ē Iím like, ďWell, why is there an i instead of . . .Iím like oh great!Ē [laughs]

Kate DiCamillo: Itís all the jokes of Italians. We just do whatever we want with our pronunciation.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

Kate DiCamillo: Heís a really nice guy, Tony is.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, he is, he is. And I did see that you were from Italian decent. I saw that on your . . .

Kate DiCamillo: Yes, on my dadís side.

Matthew Peterson: On your dadís side, yeah, okay. So, DiCamillo.

Alright guys, Iím going to stop here really quick, now after all of that with Kate, Iím going to play kind of a blooper here. The blooper of when I ended the interview, so here it is.

Iíve been speaking with Kate DiCami . .DiCamillo. . . oh, tell me it, Kate, DiC, [laughs]

Kate DiCamillo: Youíre doing it! Try one more time, Iím not going to interrupt again.

Matthew Peterson: DiCamillo, okay. Iíll edit that out.

Kate DiCamillo: [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Iíll have to edit this slightly to make sure it fits in the . . .

Kate DiCamillo: I think that you should leave it in there because everybody always, you know, itís a name that confounds everybody. Itís pretty nice.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs] Yep.

* * * * * * * * * *

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, you know, I know a lot of people do have a hard time, and it is your baby and you are signing it away. Iíve interviewed authors like Ursula K. LeGuin who tell me that the film companies just tend to slaughter their books.

Kate DiCamillo: I feel like Iíve been lucky two times, is basically how I feel, and you know once you say youíre either going to sell the movie rights or youíre not and once you do... once you say, ďYes, Iím going to do it.Ē You donít have any control really. Youíre kept in the loop. I worked on Winn Dixie and worked on the screen play, but still, itís their project then and not yours, and so you can only step back and hope that wonderful things happen, and I feel like wonderful things have happened twice.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. It was wonderful. So you did have a little influence. I mean, you did help a little bit with the screenplay, then?

Kate DiCamillo: With Winn Dixie. I did.

Matthew Peterson: With Winn Dixie, okay.

Kate DiCamillo: On Despereaux, it was more just kind of like this marvelous world that was being constructed without me having to do any work.

Matthew Peterson: Uh, huh.

Kate DiCamillo: It was nice.

Matthew Peterson: And New Line Cinema bought the option for The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. And thatís in pre-production right now?

Kate DiCamillo: Yes.

Matthew Peterson: Howís that going? Does it look like thatís going to be a go?

Kate DiCamillo: Well, what I know is that thereís a beautiful script, is what Iíve heard. And then there is a producer and thereís studio. So those things all make it look, you know, very much like it will happen. So . . .

Matthew Peterson: Itís always one of those things that youíre not sure if itís going to happen. But youíve been pretty fortunate. I mean, you have several books and two of them already have become movies.

Kate DiCamillo: Right, you know, and you learn all of that as you progress. Itís like a really, really unbelievable thing when something gets optioned and then you learn that option is just the first, you know, everything all along the way. It is miraculous for something to get made.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

Kate DiCamillo: So I have been incredibly lucky.

Matthew Peterson: Well, Iím not as familiar with The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, but tell us just a little bit about that book.

Kate DiCamillo: Thereís a rabbit and heís a toy rabbit; heís a rabbit doll, although he would find that description mildly offensive. And heís very vain and pleased with himself and heís beloved by the person who owns him, Abilene, a little girl named Abilene. But then they become separated, and in the course of Edward getting lost, he learns how to love.

* * * * * * * * * *

Matthew Peterson: [Regarding the artist] I mean you can tell that heís read the book and he knows what heís talking about.

Kate DiCamillo: Oh, itís a she.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, she, Iím sorry. She.

Kate DiCamillo: Yeah, no, thatís okay, she would want you to know. Sheís actually in Thailand.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, okay.

Kate DiCamillo: Itís so weird to think that, you know, Iím here in Minnesota. I write the story and this is a story with snow in it and that somebody in Thailand can capture it so perfectly.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs] I know. Have you met her?

Kate DiCamillo: Nope.

Matthew Peterson: You havenít met her; you just know her name.

Kate DiCamillo: Yeah, I just know her name, thatís it. Exactly, thatís it.

* * * * * * * * * *

Matthew Peterson: I must admit I had envisioned just a slightly different ending.

Kate DiCamillo: Oh, donít tell me what it was.

Matthew Peterson: Thatís my curse. [laughs]

Kate DiCamillo: [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: I write too, and thatís my curse, so Iím always coming up with like multiple endings and always trying to predict things.

Kate DiCamillo: What? Is it a happier ending?

Matthew Peterson: Oh, no, yeah, itís happy, yeah. Iím a happy ending type of a guy.

Kate DiCamillo: Well, I tend towards the happy ending myself, but thereís always a minor key at work too.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah. When I see movies that just end totally tragically, I always kind of re-work it in my mind, ďHereís how it could have ended happily.Ē [laughs]

Kate DiCamillo: So Scarlet OíHara and Ret Butler would get together.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

Kate DiCamillo: Yeah.

Matthew Peterson: Iím optimistic.

Kate DiCamillo: [laughs] Thatís good, thatís good. We need the optimism. We need the hope.

* * * * * * * * * *

Kate DiCamillo: Oh, yeah.

Matthew Peterson: [Regarding Something Wicked This Way Comes] That movie scared me to death as a kid.

Kate DiCamillo: I never saw it.

Matthew Peterson: Oh you didnít?

Kate DiCamillo: No.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, just imagine a little kid watching Something Wicked This Way Comes. Itís really kind of a scary thing.

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