Beyond the Farm: Kath Rothschild, novelist
By Ruth Starkman
For this issue of Beyond the Farm, we caught up with our new colleague, Kath Rothschild, to ask her about her new novel, Wider than the Sky and her ongoing plans as a novelist.
PWR: Tell us about your writing background and how you came to write your new book
KR: I was nineteen when I was accepted into UC Irvine’s undergraduate creative writing program and after attended Saint Mary’s of California’s MFA program. Although I earned an MFA in Creative Writing in my twenties, I didn’t start to think of myself as “a writer” until I realized the kind of writer that I am—and that’s a children’s book author. Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever helped me realize this is the kind of book I want to write.
I spent a long time finishing a first draft of Wider than the Sky, longer revising it, and just about the same amount of time waiting for publication (I sold my book almost a full three years before it came out).
The most important thing I remember is that my writing life is not about one book, or even two books, being published. It’s about the writing. It’s about persistence in writing, about loving the reward of writing stories, and about not worrying about the publication process.
PWR: Tell us about the book and its audience
Wider than the Sky is about twin sisters dealing with secrets about their parents' sexual identities and finding a way to reimagine what an inclusive family looks like. Sixteen-year-old Sabine Braxton and her identical twin, Blythe, don’t have much in common. When their father dies from an unexpected illness, each copes with the loss in her own way—Sabine by “poeting” (an uncontrollable quirk of bursting into poetry at inappropriate moments) and Blythe by obsessing over getting into MIT, their father’s alma mater. Neither can offer each other much support . . . at least not until their emotionally detached mother moves them into a ramshackle Bay Area mansion owned by a stranger named Charlie.
The book is aimed at teens ages 14-18, but most of the adults who have read it connected deeply with Sabine's journey to forgiveness and acceptance of difference.
PWR: What's next for you?
My next book is a modernization of Swan Lake--but in the world of human trafficking. It's gritty and strewn with the detritus of my short career as a ballet dancer. Told in dual point-of view, it moves between the world of professional ballet at the fictional "Ballet New York City" and a New York "gentleman's club" and is aimed at the older teen reader.