December 12, 2011

Author Interview: Kathryn Miller Haines (The Girl is Murder)

What made you want to set a mystery novel in WWII?

I’d written an adult series set in World War II (The Rosie Winter series for HarperCollins) and I really loved the era and wanted to explore what it would be like to be in high school during that time period. It’s such a rich period in history, especially for young women who found so many opportunities opening up for them because of the war. And I love the pop culture of the time – the clothes, the music, the movies.

What was your research process like?

I’d done a lot of the ground work for my adult series, so I really focused my research on what high school was like during that time. I read hundreds of articles taking kids to task for not caring about the war, read the fiction and comic books that were popular then, watched movies, listened to music, and interviewed a lot of folks who grew up during the war about their experiences and what they remembered from those days.

Do you have any favorite historical YA titles?

I’m really fond of Judy Blundell’s books and I’ve fallen in love with Jillian Larkins’ Flappers series. I also loved Christine Fletcher’s Ten Cents a Dance.

What would you tell teens to encourage them to read more historical novels?

History informs so much of the fiction that’s popular right now. The whole basis of dystopian fiction (things like The Hunger Games, etc.) comes out of events that really happened re-imagined, amplified, and extended to another time and place. Don’t think of historical fiction as a history lesson – it’s just another alternative reality to explore. And don’t think that people who lived 50 or 100 years ago are impossible to relate to. The thing that’s so eye-opening about reading historical characters is learning that they are just like us – they have the same hopes and dreams, make the same mistakes, question the same issues. And young people are (unfairly) accused of the same things then that the younger generations are accused of now (self-involvement, violence, loose morals, etc.)

  • One winner will receive a copy of The Girl is Murder.
  • Open to US only.
  • Ends December 19, 2011. 


  1. I love books about WWII. This sounds like a good one. I'll have to check out the author's books for adults too. Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. I love Ten Cents a Dance! I used to read a lot of historical fiction, but I read less now. WWII is my favorite era to read about, because my Grandma shared stories with me about that time and I feel more connected to it. Thanks for the giveaway!


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