Author Spotlight: Kym Brunner


YA author Kym Brunner’s new book, Flip the Bird, comes out this week. I spoke with Kym earlier in the week. Check out what she has to say about her path to publication.

Looking back, what do you wish you would have done differently on your path to publication?

Here’s the thing: you don’t know exactly what was the tipping point for an editor’s decision.

Was it my social media presence in addition to a well-written story? Was the editor Polish herself and loved how I wove Slavic folktale lore and a grandmother (Busia) into the plot? Did I catch him or her on a good day and they were in the mood for humor?

There are so many other factors that matter, in addition to telling a great story of course, that it’s difficult to separate why my first book was chosen and the ones prior weren’t. So the simple answer is NO. Everything I did was part of the journey.

Do I wish it had happened sooner than nine years? Sure. But then maybe I would have missed some family parties when my kids were younger, or not have gone for my Master’s degree in education.

So I’ve made peace with the idea that “Everything happens for a reason” and believe that the year, publishing house, and novel were published right when it was supposed to. 🙂

What was something that you are glad that you did, that really helped you?

 Take chances: submit things to top agents/ write in a different genre/ be open to suggestions.

Seeing a falconry show at Medieval Times made me want to know more about the ancient sport, which led to a delightful discovery into this special world. I went for one seven-hour falconry apprentice lesson but ended up coming back for eight more.

But I’ve always been that person who, if someone says, “You want to come with me to see this show/hobby/weird thing?” I always say yes.

While writing my current WIP about Mars, I took a chance on filling out an application on NASA and got to fly to Virginia see a test splashdown of a prototype of the spacecraft Orion.

I went to a ballroom dancing competition with a friend and thought the whole scene was odd but delightful and may use that as one of my character’s hobbies one day.

I recently sat in the pilot’s chair in the cockpit of an American Airlines craft (pre-takeoff, of course) when we were early and the pilot offered the opportunity. Which, by the way, no one else took advantage of. That too will influence one of my stories in some way.

So say YES more often and take chances––it can open your mind to a ton of cool story ideas and character descriptions.



Editorial Reviews


“Brunner writes an impassioned story with real-life moral dilemmas. Abundant details of falconry, the result of the author’s own falconry apprentice lessons… root the story solidly in a fascinating world new to most readers. An engaging story of a young teen finding what’s most important in his life.” —Kirkus “Lovers of Sterling North’s Rascal, Farley Mowat’s Never Cry Wolf, and Calame’s Dan Versus Nature will flock to this tale about a teen and his hawk. . . Get multiple copies for nature-loving reluctant readers.” —SLJ “An exciting adventure into the art of falconry and the heart of a young man.” —David Lubar, author of Hidden Talents and Character, Driven

About the Author

Kym Brunner is the author of the YA novels Flip the Bird, Wanted: Dead or In Love, and One Smart Cookie. She teaches 7th grade and lives in Illinois. Visit her website at


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