Katrina Kittle’s first tween novel, Reasons to Be Happy, is a touching look into the life of 8th grader Hannah, a young girl trying to find her identity while attending middle school in Beverly Hills. The novel itself is much like Katrina Kittle; endearing, sweet, and has many valuable lessons to teach. Reasons to Be Happy is a story grown from an idea that began in Kittle’s previous novel The Blessings of Animals where Hannah was featured as the daughter. Kittle, however felt that Hannah’s character needed her own story; the two novels are not connected though.
Kittle’s inspiration for her new novel comes from her time as a middle school teacher, where she was pained to see young girls going through such emotional turmoil. The novel sheds light on an issue that is affecting more and more girls at younger ages. Kittle’s main hope is that her novel will help young girls be able to skip an identity crisis and continue to high school with more self-confidence.
“I would teach these young girls and watch as they seemed to become less bold versions of themselves. It was heartbreaking to me because I felt like they didn’t need to go through something like this at their age. I hope that this novel helps young girls,” said Kittle.
Kittle herself is an amazing individual. Besides the fact that for one year she spent her time as a gypsy, which means she traveled from home to home just living and writing.
“I think I lived in 18 different homes in the length of one year. My favorite was Brooklyn. I wrote so much while I was in Brooklyn,” said Kittle.
She also has been quite successful as a novelist. Her previous novels have all been for an adult audience which is why she’s especially excited about Reasons to Be Happy because it’s for young girls.
Kittle is very grateful for the life she has and celebrates every day the fact that she can be a full time writer. Among the many reasons she has to be happy are her niece and nephew, her strange cat Joey, and spending time tending her elaborate garden. A new venture Kittle is proud to say she is a part of is Puddingstone Project, a dance and music theatre production. Kittle is the scriptwriter for the production with Kevin Anderson writing music and Beth Wright doing the choreography.
“It’s just a wonderful experience. We had our first reading just the other day. And I already feel like I have to get rid of a character. Which makes me sad but they just don’t fit,” said Kittle with a sad look but she immediately was smiling again as she talked more about the project.
Reasons to Be Happy releases October 4 from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and the debut reading and signing will be October 13, at 7PM at Books & Co. at the Greene. Enjoy a good book and talk to Katrina Kittle about the reasons you have to be happy.