Please meet Kat Harrison, a true inspiration! Kat’s journey has been a tough one but her courageous nature and positive outlook on life translate to her pages. Taking from her own experiences, Kat wrote SURGERY ON SUNDAY to help children overcome their hospital fears. Please join us in congratulating Kat on her debut picture book which is releasing this Fall. We raise our giant coffee mugs to you and thank you for tackling a very important subject for our kids. Cheers!
What inspires you to write?
I know this question is about what inspires me to write, but it’s imperative that I emphasize how much writing inspires me to live. When I was 15, I had a bacterial infection in my ear that spread to places it shouldn’t. The IV antibiotics that I was administered completely wiped away my vestibular system and left behind a tongue-twisting disability called oscillopsia. I no longer can feel roller coasters, I wobble when I walk, and my vision bounces all of the time (the struggle to slice a bagel is very real, friends).
Around the same time in my life, I was also diagnosed with chronic daily migraine and continue to struggle with chronic ear disease. Fourteen surgeries later, I am humbled that something positive can come from all of my darkness. I credit writing with saving my life. But I suppose my life is also what inspires me to write. SURGERY ON SUNDAY is a culmination of the two.
What do you hope your writing will do for those who read your work?
I hope that my writing does two main things. First and foremost, I hope that my writing makes the invisible feel seen. I hope it makes someone feel brave and heard. And second, I hope my writing is a small cog in the big wheel of cultivating empathy for life journeys that are less talked about, but are nevertheless very real. Everything else is just a bonus.
What’s your favorite thing about writing for kids?
Kids think deeper, make connections more readily, and feel emotions unabashedly. We don’t give them enough credit for what color they add to our gray, responsibility-fueled lens. Writing for young readers is a total honor. I hope I make a few of them proud.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything what would it be?
I would tell her that writing has the ability to transform you to your very core, you just have to work really hard at it. Writing is like breathing—at times it can feel like you’ll never catch up, and then others, it pours out of you like the sweetest exhale. Even when it feels like the hardest thing you’ve ever done, I hope you never stop putting words together. Words will one day bring you back to life and remind you that you’re worthy of brightness.
What do you do to edit your writing?
Confession—I self-edit far too much in the early drafts of my projects. I am addicted to the delete button. But when I finally have a good chunk of text, I spend a lot of time reading my work aloud. How does it sound in the morning? Or in the middle of the night? This has helped me greatly with the cadence of my writing, almost as if I was orchestrating a song. I believe that words should not only create a dimensional picture in the reader’s head, but should also sound good while they do the heavy lifting.
I am also a huge fan of giving drafts days and weeks of rest before revisiting them. Words and ideas sound different when they’re rested (just like humans!).
What else would you like readers to know about you?
I like bad jokes, face-sized mugs of coffee, and wear a headband more often than not. My dog is way cooler than me and I am low-key obsessed with stickers and washi tape. My chronic migraine makes it tough to talk on the phone, but I pinky promise I’ll be the best pen pal you’ve ever had. Write me a letter and we can discuss what to turn into a taco—my favorite food group—next. (P.S. You can get in touch with me here: www.katwritesforyou.com.)