Behind the Scenes: “Connecting to Characters” by Kirsti Call

Today I welcome back author Kirsti Call to share a bit about creating COLD TURKEY, her latest picture book. I truly think authors put a bit of themselves in the characters they create. In my case, working with historical figures, I always find a bit of myself in them. That author connection can serve a story in many ways. Here, Kirsti shares her character connection. 

Kirsti is offering a giveaway! Leave a comment after the post for a chance to win a copy of COLD TURKEY. 

Me (bundled up indoors with Jane Yolen

“Connecting to Characters”

by Kirsti Call

I’m always cold.  Always. I wear sweaters and scarves and fingerless gloves indoors and outdoors in 90 degree weather. And when others remove layers, I’m inevitably adding them.

So I understand Cold Turkey.  When he bundles up, I hope he’ll add extra hats and scarves to make sure he doesn’t catch a chill because a cool breeze hits me like a hail storm and I don’t want that for anyone, least of all my book characters.

Turkey bundled up!!!

What I don’t understand is giving away winter clothing when you’ve finally warmed up. Turkey feels for chicken and horse and sheep and pig and cow and suddenly he’s outside in a snowstorm without ANY winter gear.  Who does that?!? Turkey prioritizes friendship over warmth. And the warmth this creates in his heart is worth the bone chilling experience of being FULLY unclothed in a snow storm.

Birthday Suit!!!

Turkey is special because he does something most of us would have a hard time doing. He’s willing to make himself uncomfortable to help someone else become more comfortable.

14 year old Kirsti

The first time I remember doing this,  I was 14 years old. I knew my shyness was selfish and making others (AND myself) uncomfortable. So I took an uncomfortable leap, saying “hi” to 10 people everyday, training myself to help others feel more comfortable around me.

That was AT LEAST 30 years ago so I’ve had a lot more practice relating to people.  I’m grateful for my teenage self’s insight and willingness to make herself uncomfortable for the good of others. I’m grateful for Turkey’s example, and the connections he makes because he’s thinking more about his friends than his own comfort. And I’m grateful for the connections I made when I uncomfortably put myself out there.  When I’m writing , sometimes it’s the hard things that are the best things to crystalize into picture book form.

Now I’m going to g-g-gobble up too many of my thanksgiving leftovers.  It’s for the greater good.  And if it makes me uncomfortable? So be it.

Don’t miss this special treat! Cold Turkey Song written by Kirsti’s daughter, Sydney Call.

Kirsti Call Author Photo Color!AND don’t forget to leave a comment below for a chance to win your very own copy of COLD TURKEY! (continental US addresses only, please) 

Congrats to the winner of Story Frames for Teaching Literacy – Lillie Pardo!!

Bio: Kirsti Call is the co-host of the Picture Book Look Podcast, a Rate Your Story Judge, and a blogger for Writer’s Rumpus. She has judged the Cybils award since 2015 and is a therapist trained life coach for creatives. Kirsti’s the author of MOOTILDA’S BAD MOOD (Little Bee)  COW SAYS MEOW (HMH), COLD TURKEY (Little Brown) and THE BIG SCREAM (Little Simon). Kirsti is represented by Charlotte Wenger at Prospect Agency.


10 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes: “Connecting to Characters” by Kirsti Call

  1. I’m always cold, no matter what. So I understand what it feels like. What a great way to transfer this topic to a book with such a clever title and a turkey who is willing to share his clothing with others so they warm up. I also think your story about saying hello to 10 people every day would translate into a fun book about a shy child. Great message there too!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I can relate, I am always cold. I like how you intentionally set out a goal to make you and yourself comfortable with your shyness. I can’t wait to read about Turkey. Congratulations!

    Liked by 3 people

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