Skip to main content

An Interview with Author Kimberly Willis Holt

Kimberly Willis Holt
Kimberly Willis Holt is the author of the fun and quirky series of books about Piper Reed, Navy brat and all-around good kid.  In these books, Piper learns to navigate the challenges of life on the move, making friends, making adjustments, and making the most of her military life. 

It is my absolute honor to have interviewed Kimberly Willis Holt about her writing.  Read on for more about the author, the books, and how all kids can learn great lessons from our friend, Piper.

You have lived the military lifestyle and now contribute to military kids by offering this quirky character with whom they can identify. How much of Piper's life is from your own experience and do you use stories of other military kids to tell her story?

My father was a Navy Chief like Piper's and I'm one of three girls. But I'm the oldest like Tori. I thought it would be more fun for kids to see the world through a middle child's eyes. My sister is the inspiration for Piper Reed and my youngest sister is the inspiration for Sam. We lived some of the same places as the Reed Family. Our parents were from Louisiana so between moving to new places, we visited our grandparents in Forest Hill.

Many of the stories have a trace of truth. I, too, had an unpleasant incident with a shetland pony who took off and took me on a wild ride between pine trees. Part of my research also included interviewing contemporary military kids. Many of them loved the military life and told me how they communicated with the parent(s) while they served on a ship. It was great information to have and bits of that were threaded into the stories.

2. What would you say are Piper's best characteristics, especially in how they help her deal with the challenges of military life?

Piper never gives up. She's a planner, too. I think she knows how to navigate herself through the chaos of being a new kid. At least she does until she moves in this new book, PIPER REED FOREVER FRIEND. This transition proves a bit more challenging. Of course, she eventually figures it out. I had difficulty writing this last book because I didn't want her to move. In a way, I relived my childhood while writing this story.

3. How does Piper Reed relate to all services (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard)? Can children from all services learn from Piper?
Not only can kids from other branches of the service relate to Piper, I believe any child can. Everybody has been the new kid somewhere. It might be at a school, a church, or an organization. We've all experienced that awkward feeling of trying to belong. In this new story, not only do readers get to see how Piper does it, they also witness how her sisters do it, too. I think that makes the characters relatable and offers some options.

4. I love the writing tips you share on your website. What advice would you give a young writer who is just getting started?
Read and write every day. Reading will make you a better writer. When you write, it doesn't have to be a major project like a book. Writing can mean keeping a journal or writing a letter to your grandparents. Also notice things. Writers notice the things that others don't see.

5. You write for a variety of ages. Which comes easiest for you? How hard is it to transition from writing for younger readers to older readers?
I love writing for all ages, but I think novel writing is the most natural form for me. I get more novel ideas then picture book ideas. I'm lumping readers of all ages. I'm in touch with my childhood and have been blessed with a good memory. That's a handy thing for a writer of young people.

Find out more about author Kimberly Willis Holt on her website!

Be sure to "like" Piper Reed on Facebook!

Join the Piper Reed Fan Club for lots of fun reading and activities!



Popular posts from this blog

Kids' Craft: The Invisible String

Our battalion used this book at a recent Family Night event.  We wanted to have some meaningful activities for them to complete during the meeting and came up with a goody bag of things to do.  I'll post about that later, and use this post to talk about this adorable book that I now love. 

At the meeting, we had a large room that we divided in half (half for adults, half for kids).  All the kids were together in one corner of the room with volunteers there to help.  One of these (fabulous!) volunteers read this book aloud to them to start the activities. 

It's a sweet story; from the description:  Specifically written to address children's fear of being apart from the ones they love, The Invisible String delivers a particularly compelling message in today's uncertain times that though we may be separated from the ones we care for, whether through anger, or distance or even death, love is the unending connection that binds us all, and, by extension, ultimat…


Photo: ADVON returning from a year-long deployment.

Okay, I have to admit that after 15+ years as an Army wife, I don’t know what ‘TORCH’ and ‘ADVON’ stand for. Something about advanced party … but there’s no ‘p’ for ‘party’ … so I just don’t know. I do, however, know what it means. It means your Soldier comes home FIRST!!

We’ve never had the honor of either of those designations. My husband somehow manages to get himself into the ‘stay-behind-and-make-sure-all is-well-out-here’ job and comes home late or last. Not that I’m complaining, though, as I am happy these TORCH and ADVON folks get here and get the place ready for everyone else to come home.

In a way, it’s reassuring to me. The wheels are turning, the process has begun … our unit actually is coming home and coming home soon! Homecoming becomes reality, not just a long-sought-after dream. It’s good to see our unit patch and our unit Soldiers back at home, on U.S. soil and on our Army installation.

It’s heartening to wa…

The Change of Command Ceremony

Last Friday, my Family and I participated in the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division change of command on Fort Hood, Texas.  Hubby became the battalion commander of the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment and joined a wonderful group of "Red Dragon" Soldiers and Families.  It's a dream come true for us ... one of those things you hope in the back of your mind you'll get to do one day, but know realistically that the chances are slim you'll get to do it.

When I first saw his name on 'the list' that the Army publishes, I was elated for him.  No one knows more than I do his passion for the Army and for the Soldiers in it.  He is a wonderful leader and cares so much.  We both knew that this would be the adventure of a lifetime.  We explained this new job to our two boys (ages ten and six) as best we could and they kept saying, "We'll have 500 new friends on Friday!" as their summary of the discussion.  =)

The ceremony was amazing, a stand…