Friday, October 3, 2014



Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 25 published and forthcoming books, including WHERE WE BELONG, WHEN I FOUND YOU, WALK ME HOME, SECOND HAND HEART, DON'T LET ME GO, and WHEN YOU WERE OLDER. New Kindle editions of her backlist titles FUNERALS FOR HORSES, EARTHQUAKE WEATHER AND OTHER STORIES, ELECTRIC GOD, and WALTER'S PURPLE HEART are now available. Also available is THE LONG, STEEP PATH: EVERYDAY INSPIRATION FROM THE AUTHOR OF PAY IT FORWARD, her first book-length creative nonfiction. She has two new novels forthcoming from Amazon Publishing in 2014, TAKE ME WITH YOU in July and THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS in December.
An avid hiker, traveler, and amateur photographer, she has just released her first book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD, currently available for Kindle.
She is co-author, with publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE: A SELF-HELP GUIDE.
Her best-known novel, PAY IT FORWARD, was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. LOVE IN THE PRESENT TENSE enjoyed bestseller status in the UK, where it broke the top ten, spent five weeks on the bestseller lists, was reviewed on a major TV book club, and shortlisted for a Best Read of the Year award at the British Book Awards. Both BECOMING CHLOE and JUMPSTART THE WORLD were included on the ALA's Rainbow List, and JUMPSTART THE WORLD was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. WHERE WE BELONG won two Rainbow Awards in 2013.
More than 50 of her short stories have been published in The Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train and many other journals, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog is my Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O'Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in Best American Short Stories.
She is founder and former president (2000-2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with Americorps members at the White House and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.
For more information, please visit the author at


When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was a sophomore in high school, and I had a wonderful English and creative writing teacher. His name was Lenny Horowitz. I wrote an essay for his class, and he read it out loud in front of the other students and told everyone it was clever. Later I found out he went back into the staff lounge and told all my other teachers that I was a good writer. I was going through a time in my life when I was getting lots of messages every day about what I couldn’t do, what I was not good at. So this was the right message at the right time. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a writer.

However, there’s a big chasm between wanting to be something and actually being it. It took me quite a few years to get across it.

How did you feel when you heard you were going to be published for the first time?

Scared. Deeply scared. I had this sinking feeling that the novel would be released and no one would even notice. That not only would it not sell well, but nobody would even know it existed to be purchased. And that’s not exactly paranoia, because it happens all the time. I still remember when a good review of it came out in Publishers Weekly. Then I started to get excited.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

A cat or a dog at my house. Of course, I know that’s not technically possible, because I can’t be myself and my own pet simultaneously. Then again, I can’t be an animal, so it’s all hypothetical anyway.

If being a pet at my house is against the rules, I’d like to be a bird of some sort. Especially a great heron or a condor, one of the birds that can soar for ages on air currents without even flapping their wings. I’ve always envied those who can fly.

Is there a movie or book you would love to live in or visit?

It may sound like a strange answer, but… no. Because I like books that tackle tough subjects. And of course: no conflict, no story. So I loved Flowers For Algernon, Of Mice and Men, and more recently The Book Thief… but I wouldn’t want to live there. That’s the joy of a book, the way I see it. We get to visit places on the page, places we know we wouldn’t ever really want to go. It’s a safe way to “travel” and experience.

What three things can you not live without?

1) Nature. I get a bit squirrelly if I don’t get outdoors now and then. I love to hike and kayak and camp in my little campervan, and it seems to put me back together emotionally.
2) My work. I’m happier when I write than when I don’t.
3) Home. My home is sanctuary-like for me, and I can’t imagine not having this safe place to come back to.

That said, really the three things I can’t live without are food, water, and shelter, and if I lost any or all of the above, I would survive. But they are important to me, so they are the things I would least want to lose.               

What are your thoughts on e-books versus hard copies?

I’m for them. Both, actually. About 95% of my book sales these days are in Kindle ebook format, so I’m not about to complain about ebooks. Plus, I find people who do complain about them slightly suspect. After all, you have your choice. If you want paper, buy paper. The idea that ebooks will somehow destroy paper books and cause them never to exist again strikes me as a bit silly. I’m old enough to remember when the same hand-wringing was going on over audio, if you can believe such a thing.

For myself and my own reading, I like both. Different formats for different times.

Another thought on that: An awful lot of people say the same sentence to me on the subject. They say, “I like the feel of a book in my hands.” That’s all well and good, but when I ask if they’ve ever tried e-reading, the vast majority say no. So now that’s not so good. Now that’s what we call “contempt prior to investigation.” To compare two things, you have to have tried both.

I wish more older people would discover the e-reader, because they’re great for older eyes.The font is adjustable.

I guess that’s one of those subjects where you don’t want to get me started.


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