Three Times A Charm with Kathy Sattem Rygg

Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.

This week author and editor, Kathy Sattem Rygg joins us. Since she is the Editor-in-Chief at and I’m a staff writer there, I feel like she’s kind of my boss. So if you see a couple ‘yes ma’ams’ you’ll understand why.

Mrs. Rygg – or can I call you Kathy, tell us a little about yourself.

I am children’s author and freelance writer/editor. I earned a degree in magazine journalism from Iowa State University and worked for several Fortune 500 companies in Marketing/Public Relations. I also worked at the McGraw-Hill Companies’ Business Publications Division in New York City and was the Editor-in-Chief of Women’s Edition magazine in Denver, CO. I am currently the Editor- in-Chief of the children’s online magazine knowonder! and live in Omaha, NE., with my husband and two children.

Author and editor? You sound busy! Tell us about your latest book?

My young middle grade book, ANIMAL ANDY, was recently published by Muse It Up Publishing. Targeted for kids ages 7-10, ANIMAL ANDY is about a zoo keeper’s son who discovers a magic carousel and must use it to save the animals and the zoo.

Back Cover: Ten-year-old Andy Ohman is spending his summer working at the Aksarben City Zoo where his dad is curator. There are rumors that the city might close the zoo due to budget cuts. An anonymous donor has given the zoo an antique animal carousel, and Andy’s dad is hopeful it will help boost attendance. Andy’s doubtful that an old kiddie ride will make a difference. He doesn’t see what’s so special about it. But when he takes it for a spin, he unlocks the magic that will help save the zoo.

Book Excerpt:

Andy’s knees wobbled and buckled as he stumbled off the carousel’s platform. He thrust forward, collapsing into a heap on the ground. Shaking his head a few times, he flinched when a snort escaped his mouth.
A flash of turquoise caught his eye. He scrambled up as a skinny-necked bird with short legs and a long, plump body strutted over. It stopped a few inches away and let out an ear-splitting squawk. Only a peacock could make that sound.
“What are you doing over here?” the bird asked. “Are you out of your mind? Don’t you know this is the kind of thing that gets all of us into trouble?”
Andy froze. He was sure the peacock had just spoken to him.
“Well, don’t just sit there, zebra, we need to get you back to the pen,” the bird snapped.
Andy whipped his head from side to side. Nobody was around, and he didn’t see a zebra.
“Did you just talk?”
"Don't get all high and mighty on me," the peacock said. "It's socially acceptable for a peacock to speak to a zebra."
"Why do you keep calling me a zebra?" Andy narrowed his eyes at the bird.
“Well, I don’t see any other escaped animal standing in front of me,” the peacock said. Andy lowered his gaze and saw four black and white striped legs beneath him. He craned his neck and saw a thin, black tail swishing behind him. Puzzled, he glanced at the carousel and saw an empty brass pole where the zebra had been.
He stumbled backward. "No, no, no,” he said, shaking his head. "How…it can’t be,” he

breathed. “There’s just no way. I…I…I’m a zebra!”

Where to find ANIMAL ANDY:

The ebook is published by Muse It Up Publishing and is available online at the Muse Bookstore. A print version is available on Amazon. Here’s a neat video trailer for it, too.

Great excerpt! I’m looking forward to reading Animal Andy. Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.

The first tool I couldn’t live without is a good old fashioned spiral notebook and a pen (not a pencil). I write a lot of ideas, scenes, and notes by hand. It’s not pretty, and it’s not organized, but the physical connection between my brain and the paper just “feels” right.

The second tool I couldn’t live without is my netbook laptop. My day job is spent on the main PC, so being able to pick up my little netbook and sit down in a comfortable chair to write my books is a necessary luxury.

The third tool I couldn’t live without is my e-reader. I’ve had it less than a year, but I’m already hooked. There are so many talented authors whose books are only available as ebooks, and I love that I can now discover them. It’s also so convenient to slip it into my purse and read when I have a few extra minutes. 

  • Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.

My earliest memory is around age four, and after going to the circus I wanted to be a flying trapeze artist. I love taking my kids to the circus and would jump at the chance to try the trapeze (connected to a harness, of course!)

In grade school I wanted to own my own clothing store. I spent hours pretending my bedroom was a retail shop. I’d pull clothes from my closet and put outfits together for my pretend “customers” to try on. I even devised a cash register. My first job in high school was at a clothing store, but all I got to do was fold and steam-iron clothes. I was so bored I only lasted one summer!

As a senior in high school I wanted to work in some type of advertising/marketing job for a large corporation. I did that for ten years after college. It was invaluable experience, and I learned so much—mostly that working for a large company is incredibly stressful, and I’m much happier now as a freelance writer/editor working for myself!

  • Top 3 authors.

My favorite author as a child was Beverly Clearly. I had every single one of her books on my shelf. I couldn’t read them fast enough, and I give her a lot of credit for turning me into an avid reader.

In my twenties, my favorite author was Candace Bushnell. I really related to her female characters and their quest for love and success. The “Sex in the City” HBO series was one of my all-time favorite shows.

In my thirties, my favorite author has been Tracy Chevalier (author of Girl with a Pearl Earring). I have all of her books and am amazed at her talent for writing historical fiction. Her ability to take an obscure moment in history and craft an entire story around it is inspiring. I’d love to write a middle grade historical fiction book using that same concept.

Contact Information:

Follow me on Facebook under KSR Writer
Follow me on Twitter @kathyrygg

Thanks, Kathy, for talking with us on Three Times A Charm. It has been so much fun getting to know you better. Best of luck with Animal Andy.


  1. Thanks for hosting me, Kai! I just have to add, you are such a talented writer it makes being your "boss" at knowonder very easy!! Kathy Rygg

  2. Very nice interview, Kai and Kathy. I enjoyed the excerpt -- and it's great to meet a fellow MuseItUp author! I've never known anyone who wanted to be a trapeze artist, by the way!

  3. Great interview, Kai. Nice to meet you, Kathy. Congratulations on your book. I used to love to visit the zoo and see all the neat animals there. Best of luck with your work.

  4. Hi, I would be happy to read a couple of your books to my child. You're a very talented, widely understood and creative author. May God Bless You!


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