A Look at A. S. King: Background information when reading Ask the Passengers

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Ask the Passengers

by A. S. King

Ask the Passengers by A. S. King
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2012, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2013, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
A Look at A. S. King

Print Review

A.S. King Amy Sarig King was born in Reading, PA in 1970. No, I won't go into lots of detail about her younger years, suffice it to say she is a Pisces and, as she says, she "believes in that stuff." I will say that as a child she spent a good deal of time in her "office" (aka her closet) staying up late and reading books.

King did not go to school for writing but, instead, got a degree in traditional photography from The Art Institute of Philadelphia. After she finished school and did some work as a photographer, she moved to Ireland. She lived in Dublin first and then, Tipperary, where she worked on a farm. (Or as King better describes it: "You could say I worked on my own self-sufficient farm while my husband and I restored it. I owned it. It fed me. You get the picture.") Later she moved back to Pennsylvania where she lives now with her husband and children.

She began writing after she spent six straight months reading a book a day. She says that Salmon Rushdie's The Satanic Verses was the one book, during all of those book-a-days that got her to finally sit down at a typewriter and try her hand at writing her own. Kurt Vonnegut is her favorite writer, though, and his God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater is her favorite book. Fifteen years and seven novels after she sat down at that typewriter, she got her first book published.

King often writes – blogs, tweets – about equality and sexual violence and gender issues, all of which weave through her books in very organic, passionate, and well-written ways. And like all good writers, she draws from her life experiences in her writing. She believes very strongly in truly living life, in doing things that are not about writing, in order to be a better writer. And, as is true with many writers, her jobs have been varied and many. She can boast that she has been a photographer, a master printer, a pizza delivery driver, and an electrician. Her favorite job, she says, has been as a literacy teacher. She spent some time as a rare chicken breeder (of the Blue Orpington variety to be exact) and she has this to say about the parallels between raising chickens and writing a book:

"I used to make [chicken] poop tea. Ew! Not to drink! To water my crops with, of course. And those crops fed me. See? Good things can come from poop. In fact, as fertilizer goes, you can't do much better than chicken poop. It's so hardcore you have to dilute it.

When I'm writing a book, the poop also comes from day one. Characters go flat. Premise might go off track. Plot can go in the wrong direction. Best to look at these things as learning experiences. Make some book-poop tea. Turn the flattest character ever into someone readers will never forget. Make a bore into an adventure. Same goes with publishing-world poop. When a door closes, a window opens, even if you can't see it yet. Keep writing, keep working, keep improving. Whatever you do, do not leave the poop in the coop. Ignoring poop never leads anywhere good.

Surely some of you are totally grossed out by this whole thing already. Ew. Poop? Poop tea? I'm aware this isn't a common way of thinking. I'm aware that poop tea is weird. I'm aware that I am weird and I am okay with that."

A winner of The Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature, A. S. King has three other published books: The Dust of 100 Dogs, Please Ignore Vera Dietz, and Everybody Sees The Ants. And I hope there are many more to come.

Author picture credit: Krista Schumow Photography

Article by Tamara Smith

This article was originally published in November 2012, and has been updated for the September 2013 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dark Flood Rises
    The Dark Flood Rises
    by Margaret Drabble
    Margaret Drabble, the award-winning novelist and literary critic who is approaching eighty and ...
  • Book Jacket: All Our Wrong Todays
    All Our Wrong Todays
    by Elan Mastai
    You need a great deal of time to read All Our Wrong Todays, but don't let that put you off. ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Lola
    by Melissa Scrivner Love

    An astonishing debut crime thriller about an unforgettable woman.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Our Short History
    by Lauren Grodstein

    Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it's stronger, than before.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -