2014 Conference

Interview with Ariel Kalati

In preparation for Ch1Con this coming weekend, we’re posting interviews with all our wonderful speakers this week! Today’s interview is with Ariel Kalati, who will be speaking on writing despite all the excuses not to on Saturday.

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1. Tell us about yourself.
I’m a high school senior (about to graduate) and I’ve essentially been writing stories forever. I finished my first book in seventh grade and have now written five books. Despite my love of writing, I spend most of my time constructing elaborate excuses not to write. I also enjoy studying, especially history. And I am a huge Harry Potter fan and love YA literature in general.
2. You’re going to be a freshman at Sarah Lawrence College this fall. Can you talk a bit about what went into your decision when picking a school?
Sarah Lawrence was pretty much my only choice for a college. I first heard about it in The Princess Diaries, where I read that it was a good school for writers. When I researched it, I found out that it’s actually one of the best schools for writers. What really attracted me to the college, though, was its unique educational program. The curriculum is made up of small seminar classes and individual conferences with professors, and best of all, instead of tests, we get to do individual research projects. Also, there’s a teahouse called “Hagrid’s Hut” on campus, so that’s a plus.
3. Why are semi-colons your favorite form of punctuation?
It all started in seventh grade when I argued with a teacher that she should have used a semicolon instead of a comma, and she said, “No, you can use either.” But I was right, so I started a movement to promote the usage of semicolons. They’re so useful and fun; you can stick independent clauses together without the commitment of a period. I now have a holiday called Semicolon Day on December 28th; the third annual Semicolon Day will be this coming December.
4. You write both novels and poetry. How is writing in these two forms different?
They’re completely different. With poetry, I pour my thoughts and feelings out, unprocessed, and I focus a lot on making it sound nice. Poetry is where I try to express what I can’t express with prose. It’s somewhere in between writing and music. Novels, on the other hand, are a lot more structured and geared towards an audience. I get to develop characters, plot lines, settings, worlds, and adorable comic relief scenes. Obviously, novels are a lot more work, at least for me, but they’re a lot of fun, too. Whereas with my poetry I just try to get my ideas onto the paper, with my novels I try to make something that another person could relate to and fall in love with.
5. What are some of your interests outside of writing and reading?
I love art history. I took AP Art History in freshman year and I’ve been obsessed with the subject ever since. I also want to work towards educational reform, because I think our public school system needs some serious work. And of course I like wasting my time watching channels on YouTube, particularly Vlogbrothers and Superwoman.
6. What are some of your plans now that you’ve graduated from high school?
In addition to going to college, I want to travel as much as I can, and have some crazy adventures. I want to finish editing my book already. And I plan to actually update my blog with stuff that impresses editors and agents.
7. Quick: List five books (either coming out or already released) that you’re excited to read.
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan; Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater; The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater; Four by Veronica Roth; and whatever Neil Gaiman does next.

Can’t wait to see everyone this weekend!