Author: Victoria Kimble
The Main Dish: A rivalry between two sisters for their summer dreams ends in a sacrifice for one. #YATweet
Celebrating the Success of Others
Interview by Jenny Fulton
Victoria Kimble is a middle grade and YA contemporary fiction writer who loves to watch cooking shows, sing, play her violin, and listen to anything composed by John Williams. Not surprisingly, the genres in which she now writes were her favorite ones to read when she was growing up.
“Those two genres were instrumental in shaping me as a young reader, and I’m drawn to them even now,” she told me.
Victoria’s latest book, The Main Dish, is a YA contemporary novel that was inspired by questions she had after watching some of her favorite shows.
“I love watching reality cooking competitions,” she said, “especially the ones that feature kids as the contestants. I always wonder about their families, and what their siblings think of their success. Thus, the story centered around the sister of one of these contests was born.”
The matter of how to think about and handle someone else’s success soon became one of the central themes in the book.
“I hope to show kids that just because someone else, such as their sibling, friend, etc. is experiencing success, it doesn’t mean their own successes are of little value. It’s an important life skill to learn how to celebrate others.”
While Victoria doesn’t remember struggling with celebrating someone else as a kid, she admits that it’s definitely something she relates to now.
“It’s hard as a writer to look at the success, or even the perceived success, of other writers and not feel like it means what we’ve written is bad. But that’s not the case at all.”
Yep. I completely understand and totally relate to that struggle as well.
“Did writing this book change or impact you in any way?” I asked.
“It made me more sensitive as a parent to consider how each of my three daughters are feeling when their sisters achieve things, so I can help them celebrate each other while still understanding their own value. I see this most in my youngest daughter. I will tell one of my other daughters, ‘I love you,’ and my youngest often responds, ‘You mean you don’t love me?’ I’m trying to teach her that it’s not about her. What I say about someone else never means I think the opposite is true of her. Does that make sense?”
Yes, it does. We often think that if we aren’t the ones receiving the positive feedback, it means we aren’t worthy or deserving of it. It’s easy to think we’re in constant competition with one another and that there can be only one winner, one achiever, and one standard of success.
“What do you hope readers come away with after reading your book?”
“I hope they are ready and willing to cheer on others and celebrate their successes.”
“What are some steps we can take to help us get better at celebrating someone else’s success?” I asked.
“Really this all boils down to the lesson of humility that we try to learn our whole lives,” Victoria said. “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less. That’s it. I think the first lesson would be to simply enjoy the success of someone else for what it is, rather than comparing it to what you have done, because it’s not about that at all.”
“What do you see as being some of the benefits of celebrating the success of others?”
“I believe the benefit will be that others will naturally begin to celebrate your successes as well. Not only do you reap what you sow (to use Christianese) but celebrating others will endear you to them. And they will naturally see your achievements and want to celebrate them also, because you’ve modeled that for them.”
In other words, it’s a win-win for everyone.
Book Blurb for The Main Dish
Scarlet Williams is a sixteen-year-old violin prodigy on the verge of a major breakthrough, both in her musical career and in her social life. She wins a chair in the Summerset Festival orchestra and doesn’t hesitate to tell the world. Even her crush, Finn O’Neal, finds out. But then her younger sister Sadie gets cast in Young Gourmet, a nationally televised kids cooking competition, and Scarlet is forced to give up her chair to go with her family for the taping. Scarlet moves from the spotlight to the shadows and must find a way to keep the attention of her new friends.