Thursday, January 8, 2015

Interview with author Kirsten B. Feldman

Today we've got the opportunity to get to know author Kirsten B. Feldman just a little bit better.

Q ~ What’s one habit that you have that you’d like to break?

I fret. I’d like to believe a billboard I once saw that said, Faith ends where worry begins, and vice versa. I’m still working on it.

Q ~ If you could be any animal, which would you be and why?

I would be a bird, because I’ve always wanted to fly (and often dream that I can), but the tough part is choosing what kind. A current favourite is the great blue heron, so stately.

Q ~ What is your favourite electronic gadget?

I’d have to say my phone, since it is so many gadgets rolled up into one. I only carry one gadget at a time, rather than the people you see who somehow juggle a phone, a tablet, a latop, and even sometimes a pager, but I like the multi-purpose solo. The same is true for me in cooking gadgets, multi-purpose, please.

Q ~ Do you have a favourite author? Do they influence your writing?

I’ve had many favourites—Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Margaret Atwood, Sarah Dessen, to name a few—but now I’d have to say that I have an ever-growing list of favourite books, which certainly influence my writing because I think it is essential for a writer to read, both widely and deeply.

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?

I don’t remember not writing, and I’m usually working on several different pieces of writing at once, but each one has a pretty clear genesis, in some cases a character who pops into my head, in others a scene that plays out in a dream, and in yet others simply a phrase or a line of a song that unspools.

Q ~ What’s the best thing that’s happened since you began writing? The worst?

I love hearing from complete strangers what they think of my writing; of course, it’s nicest when they like it (and nicest still when they put up a great review about it and tell their friends, wink, wink). The worst thing would have to be the rejection letters. Nobody likes those, but they are still hard to bear, and I think the worst ones are the “close but no cigar.” I know writers who talk about papering rooms with their rejections, and I don’t have quite that many, but still, it’s no fun.

Q ~ When you write, do you try to reach a specific word count or simply write until you are done?

It depends on the day. Sometimes I’ll be on a roll and just keep going until that gives out; sometimes I need to set a goal for myself to get started. The most I’ve ever written in a day is 5000 words. I love that quotation from Oscar Wilde about a productive writing day, “This morning I took out a comma and this afternoon I put it back again.”

Q ~ When you write, do you lay out a solid outline before beginning, or start writing and iron out the kinks later?

I start writing and then follow my characters wherever they take me, and sometimes those places are really quite surprising, whether they are out in the world or in their heads. The only time I ever used a detailed outline was when I wrote my college thesis, and that was because my thesis advisor required it. I prefer my first draft to be more organic than that.

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release and what inspired you to write it?

On the Way to Everywhere began in two ways: a dream about a girl and a rabbit in a toilet stall, and a conversation about Nirvana with a girl through a locked restroom door. That’s quite a lot about bathrooms, isn’t it? It’s the story of Harry Kavanaugh, who does not fit in her skin in any sense. She has spent her life on the grounds of an exclusive girls’ school feeling too big, too alone, and too out of sorts to see her own potential. It will take a new friend, in the guise of an enormous red Great Dane, to push her in the right direction.

Q ~ What is your process for choosing character names?

My characters choose their own names. I have only had to change a character’s name once, a minor character in my first book, No Alligators in Sight, whose name was too similar to one of the main character’s names, but otherwise, they just seem to come with names.

Q ~ What characters in On the Way to Everywhere did you find yourself especially drawn to and why?

Sometimes I felt that Harry’s brother Jeremy deserved his own book; he’s clearly struggling personally though very successful professionally. Maybe he’ll get one some day. I also think it would be interesting to explore Felicity’s mind further from her point of view, because for quite a while it appears that she has everything, the proverbial It-Girl, and then it becomes clear that all is not as it seems. And of course Harry intrigues me still, the way that she looks at the world.

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Care to give us a hint about it?

I’m into the third draft of what is tentatively titled Three Graces, the story of three sisters who live in a remote house at the mercy of a horrible man who terrorizes their family and keeps them in seclusion in his quest to gain control of the family fortune. The youngest sister, Gracie, has visions that often help her and her sisters out of difficult situations but lately have a prevailing, fiery theme. Can they escape and save their family and their home unscathed?

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?

Keep at it. Practice every day. And when you aren’t practicing, read.

About the Author:

I grew up on Cape Cod and the Connecticut shoreline and now live outside of Boston, much too far from the ocean and the sand. Reading and writing have played a central part in my life both personally and professionally. I am rarely without a book in my hand. Brown University gave me my undergrad degree in comparative literature, and Tufts kindly did the same for my master's in English education. I have worked in a variety of school and museum education settings, including teaching 7th and 8th grade English. My graduate advisor once told me that if teenagers don't make you laugh, then consider another career. To me the adolescent voice has such vibrancy and depth to it, whether funny or not; many of my favorite books have this point of view, including: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood.

|  Goodreads  |  Shelfari  |  Amazon  |  B&N  |

And before you go, be sure to enter the giveaway!

Enter to win 1 of 5 ecopies of On the Way to Everywhere by Kirsten B. Feldman.

Contest is open internationally, where applicable by law.
Entries close at 11:59pm Jan 13/15.
Winners will be drawn Jan 14/15.
Winners will have 72h to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.

No comments:

Post a Comment