Thursday, May 31, 2012

Interview with Laura Kurk ~ Author of "Glass Girl"

Laura Kurk is the fabulous author of Glass Girl, one of my very favorite contemporary YA Christian fiction novels. She lives in Texas with her husband and kids, and has been a writer since finishing a graduate degree in English. Today she'll be talking about some of the issues that her books deals with, her writing process, as well as an insider on her next project.

Glass Girl deals with issues that many teens are faced with today. How did you go about presenting these topics in a clean yet authentic way in order to connect with your readers and represent God's truth?

Great question because it really is a balancing act—being authentic and being appropriate. And the center of balance changes rapidly, so if you want to be authentic so you’ll be heard, you have to stay sharp as a writer. Although I write contemporary realism, I never want to bring up issues just to be salacious or shocking. And this isn’t an issue-driven book, anyway. It’s a book about healing, finding strength, moving on, accepting grace.

My goal, from the start, was to present a reality that kids are faced with every day, and to show how my main character takes in information and then makes decisions. I think, Henry and Meg both are examples of teens who are living beyond the superficiality of selfish desires--Meg, because her life was interrupted by grief, and Henry, because his family had established a relationship with Christ which was life changing and heartfelt.

Maybe the bigger question is why are you writing YA at this moment in time?

Here’s what it is for me. More than ever, this generation struggles with temptations that are convenient and within reach; and, in fact, are able to be easily hidden. This cultural shift is happening around us so quickly that I don’t think we’ve even begun to understand what the outcomes will be for society. There is energy, life, movement, and excitement in this changing landscape for teens and that’s interesting to me.

But what I know, more than anything, is that there are teens out there who are trying to do the right thing, whose hearts are tender and touched, and who are suffering for their convictions or for mistakes they’ve made. Here, guys, is a book that says—“I know, I get it, I see you and I see what you’re trying to do. I recognize how difficult it is. Here are a couple of characters to whom I think you’ll relate.”

I worry about YA books that pretend certain problems aren’t real or epidemic only because they’re uncomfortable to discuss. The vast majority of teens are not looking for preachy or Pollyanna fiction. They’re looking for themselves in books. So, for instance, in Glass Girl, you see a scene where Meg, the main character, finds herself at a party where underage drinking and more are taking place. Meg, though, knows herself well, and she knows, not only does she not have to participate, she is respected for her morals.

Henry, the rancher’s son who falls hard for Meg, recognizes her strength of character because he has the same moral convictions. He’s a typical teenage guy in most ways, except a strong moral compass guides him. He made the decision long ago to remain pure and in control, and it’s not a question for him. While he’s well aware that the kids around him aren’t waiting, he never wavers.

Did you write Glass Girl with a certain type of reader in mind?

I’m one of those writers who visualizes her audience, so yes, I had a pretty clear picture of my reader from the very start.

First, I wrote it for all the teens out there who are seeking a better way. Maybe they’ve made some choices that have started them down a road they never intended to travel, or maybe they’ve been battered by circumstances out of their control that have left them wondering if there’s more to life. I wrote it for the girls I know personally who are honorable, intelligent, exquisitely compassionate and moral, but who haven’t necessarily embraced a meaningful relationship with Christ.

Second, I wrote for the girls who have pursued faith passionately and already know what it means to have a moment of grace like Meg had. These are girls who love others with open and compassionate hearts who may have a faith like Henry’s but they have friends who are brand new to the idea, like Meg. These are girls who put themselves into the world to be the essence of Christ. They’re no dummies, they know there’s another side. They know their friends are behaving in questionable ways and ending up broken. But they are seeking ways to connect with the people in our world who are dying for grace.

How did you come up with the character of your protagonist Meg?

You know, you’ll roll your eyes when you hear this. I dreamed her. We hear so many authors say this that it has become cliché. Meyer said she dreamed Bella, for instance. But truly, this is what happened.

I’d had a stressful week and often when we’re stressed, our dreams become incredibly vivid. So one night, I dreamed I was in an unfamiliar two-story house. I could hear a girl crying and I worried that it was my own daughter. I started looking for her in every room and I finally opened a bedroom door upstairs and found a girl I didn’t know sitting at a window crying. I tried to talk to her. I tried to help her. She didn’t want to have anything to do with me, though. I woke up disturbed. I started teasing the threads of the dream, trying to figure out what would make a girl that distraught. For me, as a teen, it would have been losing my brother. The story started writing itself in my head. I created Henry as a shelter for Meg. And, really, the first thing that made it into my laptop was the letter Henry writes to Meg from Nicaragua. That letter became the ending to the book.

What inspired you to write a YA Christian fiction novel?

I actually never said to myself, “This will be Christian fiction.” But faith is such an integral part of everything I do, say, think, believe, and write and it just colored this book. It became both the conflict and the resolution (like it is so often in life) and I realized that it’s difficult to be a writer who is also a Christian and not write stories of faith.

That’s a question I’m asked a lot—what does it mean to be a writer who is also a Christian? I think that faith will always play a role in my stories, even if I don’t always write overtly Christian fiction. I believe that Christian writers are deeply concerned about people. We simply love people. And we are, at our core, affirmers of life and of hope. We write stories that say “yes” to life and “yes” to hope because we are hopeful.

We understand that circumstances can be impossible to survive and yet we survive because we have the power of the One who created the original story within us. Listen, life can get so messy and so heartbreaking. We aren’t protected from heartbreak as Christians. But we understand it. We see the larger work being done within us and around us. It makes our writing tender and emotional and full of soul. I have a reader who said to me this week, “Your characters speak ‘soul.’” That’s what it is. It’s its own dialect. It’s ‘soul.’”

Can you tell me a bit about the process of writing Glass Girl?

I’ve been a professional editor and writer for most of my career, but I was writing for others. Writing for companies or universities. And I began to wonder why my words felt disposable. After I’d been home with my two little ones for a while, learning and growing and having my heart stretched, I realized I needed to write like I needed to breathe. And I had this story, Meg’s story, ready to come out. I sat down to write one day after my kids went to school, and about six weeks later, I looked up and had the book written. Now all good writers know books are not written, they are rewritten. That first draft went through a lot of scrubbing and sharpening and tightening before it was ready to see the light of day.

It was written mostly during the day while my kids were in school, but also in the middle of the night when I’d toss and turn because a new chapter needed work. It’s a bit like any art—the inspiration comes once you take that first step and it’s messy and terrifying and exhilarating. I love to create stories. It’s a thrill and a catharsis.

Your novel deals with elements such as grief, forgiveness, bullying, etc. While writing, did God bring to your attention something you had to be healed from as well?

What an amazing question. Would you believe I’ve never thought about that? Here I am, thinking about it now. The answer is so personal but, yes, I believe that God healed me through this book. Meg’s story of grief and forgiveness intersect with my own life in many subtle ways and I think I gained exquisite perspective about accepting grace and letting go.

When did you first decide you wanted to be an author?

I think, like most writers, it was early on. I wrote as a child and lived in fear that my brother would find my pages and laugh at me. I devised a plan to hide things I’d written under rocks in the creek on our property. I think that was my first experience with releasing my words to the world. I trusted that I could give them away and be okay. Of course, I got a couple of degrees in literature and studied the craft of writing and wrote professionally for others. Finally, though, I turned back to my first love—fiction.

Are you working on anything at the moment, and would you mind telling us a little bit about that?

I just this week gave the sequel to Glass Girl to my agent. It’s called Perfect Glass, and it tore my heart out and stomped on it. It continues the relationship between Henry and Meg, only it introduces the antagonistic effect of long-distance. Henry has accepted a role in a foreign orphanage for a year and Meg is back home finishing her last year of high school and trying to feel like a normal senior. It’s told from a dual point-of-view, so readers will get to live in both Meg’s and Henry’s minds. The book tells the heartbreaking true story of what happened to private orphanages in Nicaragua at the hands of the government. And it shows how Meg grows as a new Christian.

I blog at Writing for Young Adults ( where I talk about the issues on the hearts and minds of teens. I also write a monthly column for Nicole O’Dell’s Choose Now Ministries ( My column is called Laura Kurk On Hollywood and each month I highlight a celebrity who is doing something right, something worthy. I also write for KatharosNow, ( a popular webzine for teens and I guest blog and write YA related articles as often as possible. I’d love for your readers to find me on Facebook ( and twitter ( and get in touch with me to say hello!

A third, stand-alone novel is underway and I’m excited about that one.

Thanks so much for interviewing with us!
Click here to order Glass Girl on Amazon.


  1. Thanks, Tessa. Very fun! I'm excited about your upcoming release! Blessings!

  2. Nicely done!! Thanks for sharing Laura and her book, it will be a blessing to many!!

  3. This sounds like a really good book, I'll keep it in mind! Nice interview! :)

  4. Thanks so much for this interview! It sounds like this is exactly what is needed for this generation to read. I can't wait to read it myself and will definitely tell others about it! :)

  5. I loved Glass Girl so much! And I was blessed to be able to read Perfect Glass early. It's spectacular.


Thanks for stopping by my blog!