It would be kind of like that time you brought in cupcakes on your birthday, Ms. Freedman, and Andrea Shylomar said they tasted like wet bananas, and you were like, “Very well then, Andrea, give me back the cupcake,” and she was like, “No, miss, I was just saying stuff, I’ll still eat it.” Then Danny Ramirez was all, “This frosting looks like poop.” And you lost it, Ms. Freedman. You took his cupcake and smashed it against the chalkboard. The cupcake stuck to the chalkboard for a few seconds, and when it fell off, it left this smear on the chalkboard. Which, Ms. Freedman, you have to admit, did look a lot like poop. Anyway, you just stood there, breathing loudly, and then you made everyone fold their arms on their desk and put their heads down. You turned off the lights, and you sat at your desk, and you ate, like, ten cupcakes. You even ate the wrappers. We were all scared, Ms. Freedman, because you had always been so nice, and you were acting whacked.
–Excerpt from When Mystical Creatures Attack!
Late Night Library: Summarize your book in 10 words or fewer.
Kathleen Founds: Idealistic teacher has nervous breakdown, corresponds with former students.
LNL: If this book were the lovechild of two others, who are its parents?
KF: When Mystical Creatures Attack! is the love child of Slaughterhouse Five and The Brothers Karamazov, gestated in the womb of a unicorn.
LNL: What ingredients go into the recipe of your writing style?
KF: In a crock-pot, combine: a dark night of the soul, a manic flare, an existential crisis, and a moment of grace. Let simmer ten years.
LNL: Name one book you wish you could read again for the first time.
KF: The Chronicles of Narnia. It is such a relief when magic breaks into the mundane.
LNL: Answer a question you wish people would ask you about writing.
KF: Does being referred to as a “debut” writer make you feel like an ingenue? Yes. An ingenue in stretched-out maternity sweatpants.
Get a copy of When Mystical Creatures Attack! at IndieBound.
Kathleen Founds has worked at a nursing home, a phone bank, a South Texas middle school, and a Midwestern technical college specializing in truck-driving certificates. She got her undergraduate degree at Stanford and her MFA at Syracuse. She teaches social justice themed English classes at Cabrillo College and lives in Marina, California, where she writes while her toddler is napping. Her fiction has been published in The Sun, Epiphany, Booth Journal, The MacGuffin, and Stanford Alumni Magazine. Photo Credit: Matthew Founds.