About Kat Falls
Novelist Kat Falls writes science fiction thrillers for young people.
In Dark Life and its sequel, Rip Tide, Kat takes middle grade readers on an action-packed adventure under the sea. She decribes them as “Underwater Westerns.” Both books have been designated as “A Junior Library Guild Selection.” The Dark Life series has been translated into 18 languages; was nominated for children’s literature awards in ten states; and is in development for film at Disney.
Kat received the ABC New Voices pick for outstanding debut of 2010; Best Books selection, Bank Street College of Education; and the Juvenile Literary Award, Friends of American Writers for Dark Life. She also made a guest appearance on The Today Show when Al Roker featured Dark Life on “Al’s Book Club for Kids.”
Her young adult novel, Inhuman, is a dystopian romance set after the outbreak of a mutagenic virus. Inhuman received glowing reviews from Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, VOYA, a starred review from Kirkus, and made the Tome It List for “clean” teen reads. The sequel, Undaunted, came out in March 2019.
Kat loves to share her joy of books and writing with audiences of all ages. She teaches creative writing workshops and speaks at schools, libraries, and writers’ conferences around the country.
Kat grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, holds a BS in communications from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MFA in screenwriting from Northwestern University, where she now teaches. She lives in Evanston, Illinois with her husband, theater director Robert Falls, two dogs, and a very old cat. Her three children are now young adults, though still very influential in her creative process.
Hazel and Sammy
By Courtney Crowder
Kat Falls, originally Moynihan, did not grow up in Illinois, though her mother, Cornelia, grew up in Oak Park, IL. The family lived and raised their kids, Kat and Timothy, in Silver Spring, MD, where Ms. Falls’ father, Cornelius T. Moynihan (Senator Daniel Patrick is his half-brother), a professor of materials science and engineering, taught at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
Ms. Falls “always wrote” as a child, she says, “short stories and journals.” She says she “always knew [she] wanted to go to New York” and get involved in the independent filmmaking scene there. But first she went to college; her first year at Skidmore and the following three at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in upstate Troy, N.Y., where her father was teaching by this time. Though her major was Communications, she “took many science classes.” After graduation, Ms. Falls went to New York City. There, she studied at The New School and got an M.A. in media studies while working full-time. After that she came to Evanston to do graduate studies in screenwriting at Northwestern University. She now teaches the craft at Northwestern on a part-time basis.
Between her father’s science studies infusing the home, her own studies at college, her taste for reading speculative fiction and her self-confessed love of research, Ms. Falls’ foundation for writing science fiction was established.
The time came when, caring for the family and daily demands on time, she “felt bad about not writing.” She “was doing writing exercises and journaling” to keep a hand in, and “tried an exercise in which [she] tried to come up with a story premise that would interest [her] son,” 11 at that time. She liked the idea so much, she decided to try writing it as a middle-grade novel.
“I kept in mind my son’s tastes. If a book didn’t catch him right away, he’d toss it aside.” She says she “wanted the tension so high and the kid so invested they wouldn’t put down the book to answer text messages.”
The author did extensive research to ensure that the book’s physical science and theory were possible and accurate. She “went to architects designing deep-sea living spaces,” and read articles on the subject. Even her invented world’s “Liquigen” is currently under development in this one; it is a “fluorocarbon liquid infused with oxygen molecules” that “in the next 15 years they figure they will be able to thin … enough for humans … for deep-sea divers to avoid the bends.”
Ms. Falls says she rewrote the first chapter and the first page more than any other part of the book. “I wanted one image that would convey” the atmosphere of “this world, both strange and beautiful.” She says, “It was a gut thing, knowing when the first page was done. “
“Rip Tide” was published at the end of this past summer, in some ways a harder task, says Ms. Falls, than her first book: It was under contract already, with a deadline. It has been receiving excited reviews from young people who loved the first book – online at Goodreads and KidsReads.
“Dark Life” has won several distinctions and awards, among them a Juvenile Literary Award by The Friends of American Writers. Disney and Gotham Group are developing it for film production; Robert Zemeckis is to be the director.
Kat Falls is already at work on her next book, also under contract with Scholastic. (Publisher’s Weekly calls it a “dystopian romance”) This novel is titled “Inhuman” and is scheduled for release in September 2013. No doubt Ms. Falls’ son Declan, and probably daughter Vivienne, too, will soon be immersed in it, ignoring text messages till they get to the end.