A Word on Words | NPT

S6 E6 | FULL EPISODE

The Chicken Sisters | KJ Dell’Antonia | NPT

“It was really important to me to show two aspects of living in a small town, especially as a young person. That desperate desire to get out and the amazing reasons that you realize, especially when you get a little bit older, why it’s wonderful to be there in the first place.” KJ Dell’Antonia talks with NPT host Mary Laura Philpott about her debut novel, THE CHICKEN SISTERS.

AIRED: April 02, 2021 | 0:02:30
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TRANSCRIPT

(typewriter typing)

(typewriter bar slides)

(typewriter dings)

- [KJ] Hi, I'm KJ Dell'Antonia,

and this is "The Chicken Sisters,"

a story about two small town sisters,

and the reality TV competition they managed

to turn into a proxy for their constant battle

over who made the right life choices.

(mellow music)

- [Interviewer] Why was it important

to make these characters not just chicken restaurant foes,

but family?

- You know, rival restaurants are great and all that,

but they had to be family to really fight, I think. (laughs)

(mellow music)

- What is it about the reality TV world that provides

such a great structure for storytelling?

- [KJ] Oh, it's perfect for storytelling

because you can have someone right there in the book trying

to push the story in different directions.

So in my book,

I have the character of the producer slash host.

I blended them into one,

and she is really manipulating the people around her

to get the very best story.

And hey, that's what we want as readers too, right?

The very best story.

So to have your characters,

not just sort of making bad or challenging choices

because of their own fears and beliefs,

but to have someone actually going,

"Yeah. Why not?

Why not?

You should absolutely do that thing!"

That is really helpful from a novelist perspective.

(mellow music)

- What is your taste as a reader?

I'm curious as to whether you set out

to write the type of book that you like to read.

- I like to wanna spend time with the characters

in a book that I'm reading.

And I really like to be able to see them evolve.

Like I like to watch them changing.

And I know that in life often things happen to us,

and we do not change or improve,

and we do not get a satisfying ending.

I don't really need that in my books

- [Interviewer] For me more of my conversation

with KJ Dell'Antonia,

visit awordonwards.org

and keep reading.

- [KJ] It was really important to me

to show two aspects of living in a small town,

that desperate desire to get out,

and the amazing reasons that you realize,

especially, when you get a little bit older

why it's wonderful to be there in the first place.

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