About Adrienne Kress: She is the author of the award winning and internationally published children’s novels Alex and the Ironic Gentleman and Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate (Scholastic). Published around the world, Alex won the Heart of Hawick Children’s Book Award in the UK and was shortlisted for the Red Cedar. The sequel, Timothy, was shortlisted for the Audie, Red Cedar and Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards, and was optioned for film. She has also published two YA novels: Outcast (Diversion Books), her quirky paranormal romance, and the Steampunk adventure The Friday Society (Penguin), released to a starred review from Quill and Quire and shortlisted for The Quill Awards. 2016 saw the release of Hatter Madigan: Ghost in the H.A.T.B.O.X., an exciting collaboration with NY Times bestselling author Frank Beddor (set in the same world as his Looking Glass Wars YA books). And this April she releases the first book in her new Middle Grade series: The Explorers: The Door In The Alley (Delacorte, Random House).
What is your official title? Do you have one?
I’m an author and an actor.
How did you get into your current line of work?
I have been pursuing an acting career since a very young age. I went to theatre school from the age of 11 all the way through elementary school, high school and university (and then I studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in the UK). As for writing, growing up I always enjoyed creating stories. I used writing as an outlet and took many creative writing courses over the years. Also, my father taught creative writing so it was like having your own personal writing coach at home. But it was a playwriting class taught by Djanet Sears at U of T that changed how I approached it. She told me I should consider pursuing writing professionally, not just as a hobby, and it was the first time I’d ever considered that possibility. From then on I worked at it more seriously, writing plays and books, seeking a literary agent, and from there submitting my work to publishers. I got my first publishing deal ten years ago, and I’ve been working hard at that side of my career ever since.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
I think teaching. Almost all the members of my family are teachers and I think it’s kind of in our DNA. I really love teaching when the opportunity presents itself during writing or drama workshops or school presentations.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Hard to say, but I suppose my books. I’ve been very lucky and have had a lot of fantastic opportunities as both a writer and an actor. But seeing a book you’ve written there on your shelf . . . being able to hold it, and touch it . . . it’s a very special feeling.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to find their dream job but hasn’t yet?
As they say in Finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming.” You just have to keep on keeping on. It’s seldom easy to match available work with your personal skills and ambitions, and there will be setbacks, but with determination and persistence comes reward. Also, be pragmatic. On your journey to your dream do whatever you have to do to support yourself. Do jobs that aren’t the dream in order to augment your income. And keep training, keep making sure your skills are honed so that the moment that big dream opportunity presents itself you are ready to jump on it. Put pride aside and just get on with things. Lastly, be kind and thoughtful. Kind and thoughtful goes a long way. After all, whether or not you succeed, you have to like yourself in the end.