182: Interview with Kate DiCamillo

Interview with Kate DiCamillo

Dialogue and characterization

January 10, 2020



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Click here to download the show notes with extra resources!


Kate DiCamillo's writing journey has been a truly remarkable one. She grew up in Florida and moved to Minnesota in her twenties, when homesickness and a bitter winter led her to write Because of Winn-Dixie—her first published novel, which became a runaway bestseller and snapped up a Newbery Honor. Since then, she has been a National Book Award finalist, won two Newbery Medals and was named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. She now has almost 30 million books in print worldwide.

In this interview, we dig into Kate's newest book Beverly, Right Here and talk about characterization through dialogue, including:

  • Do you think about showing v. telling while you’re writing, or do you naturally fall into it?
  • What do you find most challenging about writing dialogue?
  • Has your dialogue changed in your protagonists over the years?
  • Is it hard to switch between writing dialogue for kids, teens, and adults?

Click here to download the show notes with extra resources!


Elizabeth Martinez
February 3, 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed Katies' interview with Kate DiCamillo. Her characters sound absolutely engrossing and fascinating. I plan to purchase the auditory versions of these books and listen. I feel that listening to how the story is read will give me a deeper understanding of the characters and how the author used dialogue to move them through the story. I was disappointed that the interview discussed more about the characters than the way she used dialogue. I do understand that live interviews can take a turn and veer off the beaten path, but because it is one of the challenges I struggle with in my writing, I do hope there are more interviews with other authors about their use of dialogue in making characters in their stories come to life.

Katie Davis
January 20, 2020

@Jacqueline I'm sorry you didn't like the interview. Interviews are conversations, and sometimes conversations do veer, especially when talking to someone as wonderful and talented as Kate DiCamillo (I can get overenthusiastic and talk too much myself!). To avoid that, I have all my questions in my notes, which I follow as we speak. But when I'm a superfan, sometimes I don't succeed at the interview I'd hoped for. I do hope you'll give the other shows a listen, and I hope they'll help you in your writing career.

Jacqueline Robb
January 18, 2020

Yes - I appreciate that Kate has useful things for writers too. But in this interview it felt like she spoke for at least 60% or the time (reviews impressions etc), w/ at most 40% being given to billed author. I stopped listening at 75% of the way through - actual topic of dialogue was just finally beginning to be addressed. Not what I was looking for, not what was billed.

Nancy Lee Piper
January 17, 2020

Kate knows I love her writing and I study her work to help me understand my own approach! Kate's ability at characterization and dialogue are impressive. Still waiting for Bryce's story!!! -Nancy Lee Piper

Tiffany Dickinson
January 13, 2020

Anything featuring Kate DiCamillo is wonderful. Thanks for taking this on. I've read all three Rancheros, and I love your insights into the themes hovering in the backgrounds. Really educational. Thanks!

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