Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Blog Tour for Empty by K.M. Walton: Interview, Review & Giveaway...

The Interview...
Welcome to Libby Blog K.M.! First of all, Happy Book Birthday yesterday! Thank you so much for stopping by today to answer all of my nosey nelly questions my dear! :D 

Who/What inspired you to become a writer? 
I've been asked this question a lot since becoming published, and my answer has morphed over this past year. I used to say that reading certain books inspired me to become a writer. While that will always be part of the recipe, I've had some time to dig deeper and really trace the moment I became a writer. It all goes back to an organization I had the privilege to become involved with back when I was in the classroom: The Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project (PAWLP.) PAWLP is part of the National Writing Project, which is an organization dedicated to educating teachers of language arts to become the best and most powerful/effective teachers of language arts in all of the land. I was lucky enough to take many, many classes through PAWLP, and I became intimately familiar with the power of the written word (both in writing and reading it.) PAWLP believes that in order for language arts teachers to be truly effective they must read and write along with their students (it was that belief that changed me forever.) When I started writing in my PAWLP classes, and along with my students, a writer was born. 

K.M.'s co-worker at work
How has life changed since being published?
I spend a lot more time alone--my co-worker now is my cat. Guess it's a good thing that I don't mind being by myself for long stretches of time.

What was your favorite book when you were young?
I loved Are You There God, It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume and read it a few times. That book was the beginning of a life-long love affair with contemporary reads. Honest books about real people doing real things have always been the most captivating books for me as a reader.

Both Cracked and Empty are rather "tough" topic books...are any of the experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? 
Empty is a culmination of my life's experiences. I used to teach middle school, and my personal mission was to make the invisible and forgotten students feel special and seen. Truthfully, I wanted all of my students to feel that way, but I always put extra effort into the forgotten students. Empty's main character, Dell, is one of those forgotten students. I wanted to give a voice to the bullied in Empty (I did that in Cracked as well--it alternates POV between the victim and the bully.)

What message do you want your readers to come away from this book with? 
In Empty, I wanted to explore the power of words, hateful words in particular. And here is a quote from my author's note at the back of Empty: I intended Dell's story to serve as a window into her soul--the soul of a broken human being. I wanted you, precious reader, to feel the pain of the bullied, the neglected, the heartbroken, and the humiliated. I wanted you to experience the absolute power of hateful words--whether said or typed online. Words count.

Any other books in the works? 
I'm currently revising a new contemporary YA about a sixteen-year-old girl whose family and personal life implode. She's angry, bitter, and a bully. But it's ultimately a story about growth, self-discovery, and redemption.

What book are you reading now?
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Now for some light-hearted fun...

What is your favorite music album? 
Radiohead's In Rainbows

What is your favorite candy?
Dark chocolate Raisinettes

Night Owl or Early Bird?
I'm actually a straight up middle-of-the-dayer!

Coffee or Tea? 
Coffee. Sipping on a piping hot mug of it is my favorite part of the day.

Cats or Dogs?
Cats--we have the best cat in the world.

Skittles or M&Ms?
Peanut M&Ms

Thank you for hosting me today Ange!! 

The Author...
K.M. Walton is the author of Cracked (Simon Pulse ~ Simon & Schuster 2012), Empty (Simon Pulse ~ Simon & Schuster 1-1-2013) and the co-author of Teaching Numeracy: 9 Critical Habits to Ignite Mathematical Thinking (Corwin Press 2011 - lead author Margie Pearse) for mathematics teachers k-8. As a former middle school language arts teacher she's passionate about education and ending peer bullying. She gives school presentations on the topic "The Power of Human Kindness." She lives in PA with her husband, two sons, cat and turtle. 

Website | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook 

The Review...

Author: K.M. Walton
Release date: January 1, 2013
Published by: Simon Pulse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dell's life has slowly been crumbling around her ever since her father walked away from her family. But now, things seem to be stuck in fast forward...her best friend is getting farther and farther away, her mother is losing herself deeper in prescription pills, and the very thing that keeps her connected to the memory of her life with her father is about to slip right through her fingers.

Except no one sees her. Not really. Not the real her. How far is Dell willing to go to make them see her?

My thoughts: Tragic. Absolutely, heartbreakingly tragic and all too true. Every day I walk into work/school, whether it's the high school, the middle school or the charter school, I look at the students around me and wonder what their lives are like when they walk out our doors each day. Do they have a bed to sleep in tonight that's their own? Will they be getting a meal tonight? Will they get to sleep through the night uninterrupted so they're ready for the next day of learning when they walk back in our doors? Is someone there to take care of them tonight, or are they the sole care-giver tonight and every night? Are they a parent themselves already? How far do they have to go to get home? Do they have shoes, or a coat, or gloves that will keep them healthy on their travel home? Do they know they are loved? These are just a few of the questions that buzz through my head. There are SO many more! My life, though certainly not perfect by any means, has been filled with love and safety every single day. I have always, always had a home and a loving family to come home to every night. There have been other trials in my life, especially during my middle school years when life became very dark indeed because of bullying from many directions for many reasons, even from within which is something that is very difficult to deal with, or even begin to talk about with someone as a teen. The saving grace that I always had was my family and their love and support no matter what. Even when I wasn't the nicest of human beings. Sadly, this is not something that Dell has in her life in any way. 

K.M. paints incredibly real characters in this story. From the best friend who's really no friend at all, to the mother who's a wreck herself, to the absolutely viscous, mean girl, bully who's words cut straight to Dell's heart every time she speaks or types, K.M. has captured perfectly the personalities, I think, we've all seen in other's lives or experienced in our own. 

Final thoughts: Words are everything in this story. Everything. They cut the deepest when they are said AND when they are not said. This is a story that opens your eyes and rips out your heart, but it is also a story that must be told. A story that must be listened to because even though the right path is the one that may be the hardest to follow, it is also the one that will make you grow the most as a human being. 

The Giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Blog Tour Schedule...
January 1 - Release Day Blast - Review, Playlist, Excerpt, Info and Giveaway - Amy at Lady's Reader's Bookstuff
January 2 - Review and Author Interview at Libby Blog with Ange Schmelzer
January 3 - Review and Author Interview at Bookish with Evie Seo
January 4 - Review and Author Interview at Kaidan's Seduction with Taneesha


  1. My favorite is Try Not To Breathe by Jennifer Hubbard. Thanks for the chance to win!

  2. Awesome post. Thanks so much for doing this tour. You rock! :)


  3. I'm super excited to check out Empty!

    My favorite tough issue book, oh my, I have so many. Probably Don't Breathe A Word or maybe IMpulse.

  4. This is actually the first review I've read for this book and I have to read my copy now. It sounds like such a hard book to read but one that's worth it. Great review!