KN: Did you use any organizational tools such as an outline or graphic organizers before you started writing Groovy's story?
Kathryn Fitzmaurice: Typically, I am a very organized person who writes a lot of lists and outlines. But with this story, I did not use either. I knew what the beginning and ending would be, but not the middle. I just wrote the story as it came to me, which is probably why it took three years to complete. I find if I do use outlines, though, my writing goes more quickly and is more organized.
KN: The Year the Swallows Came Early has beautiful metaphors, many of which relate to food. Did you have a list of food metaphors before you created Groovy, or did the metaphors stem from Groovy's character?
Kathryn Fitzmaurice: Thank you for this very nice compliment. I did not have any lists of food metaphors as I wrote. I suppose they came as I was writing the story. I’m not a very good cook, so luckily, with Groovy only being eleven; I didn’t have to think up elaborate things.
KN: Migration is a theme in your book. Did the migration of swallows inspire you to think of how people relocate, or did you think about the mobility of people first?
Kathryn Fitzmaurice: The migration of the swallows has always fascinated me. How do they know the exact place to come back to? How do they arrive the same day each year? I like to think that no matter what else is going on around us, we can always count on the swallows to be here each spring. It’s one thing that never changes, almost like a promise that can’t be broken. I knew I wanted to put that in the book, and when Frankie needed something to believe in, it was the swallows’ return.
KN: Have you seen the swallows return home to San Juan Capistrano in the spring?
Kathryn Fitzmaurice: I go every year to the area around the mission in San Juan Capistrano to see the swallows return. We call it St. Joseph’s day. Unfortunately, because of the construction that has occurred since the mission was built and all the people who now live around there, including a big freeway, the swallows have scattered to the surrounding areas, but we can still see a few each year. A lot of them go to the undersides of the canal bridges lately because it’s much more quiet and away from the people.
KN: Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
Kathryn Fitzmaurice: Thank you for interviewing me, and for reading the book.
KN: It's been a pleasure.