Researching Mundanity: The Details in Contemporary Fiction

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

I wrote my first novel about a world I’d been living in forever: the large public school. As a teacher for nearly 20 years, I was intimately familiar with the settings, the procedures, the schedules, the conflicts, and the characters that typically populate an illustrious institution of learning.  In fact, at one stage in my revision, I was asked to make things less realistic. “What’s with all the armpits and…

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Kathleen’s Perfect Day (Turns Out, the Standards Have Changed)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Well, it certainly seems strange to be writing about a perfect day in these new and eerie times. Is it cheating to say that my perfect day includes NOT reading scary news articles about the potential trajectory of the coronavirus? Not making a six am grocery store run to maintain social distancing? Not quietly monitoring my lockdowned kids’ snacking, calculating when I’ll have to procure more food? Not worrying about…

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“Favorite” Type of Scenes?! Is this a trick question?

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

This week, our topic is, “What types of scenes do you like to write and why?”  This seems a bit like a trick question. I’m not sure I like or dislike any type of scene more than the others.  Here’s how I feel about it right now: sitting down to work almost always pains me. I usually have to trick or guilt myself into it, even though I desperately want…

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The World of Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

I’d always thought of world-building as something that happened in science fiction and fantasy, which is probably how I ended up with such a dialogue-heavy draft of MINOR DRAMAS that my agency’s in-house editor, in a fit of exasperation, asked me if I thought I was writing a play. Layering in setting (for me, it goes hand-in-hand with inner thinking), led me to a much richer, seemingly tangible final product….

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The World of The Talking Drum: Real Places Versus the Fantasy World

Monday, March 2, 2020

In The Talking Drum, one of my main characters, Omar Bassari, reminisces about the day in 1965 when his father, Ibrahim, sat him down in their Senegalese village and told him that The Festival of the Black Arts was coming to the capital city, Dakar. Kings, emperors, and presidents from all over the world would be coming to the festival. Ibrahim’s musical hero, composer, pianist, and orchestra leader Duke Ellington,…

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Kathleen’s Personality Flaws. That’s One Way to Look at It.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

This week’s topic is how our personalities impact our writing. I wrote quite a lot about my personality when we discussed balance, or in my case, lack thereof.  It’s funny, though. I’m feeling a little different than I did five months ago when I confessed my unrelenting anxiety and quest for perfection. There’s no doubt I’m still myself–driven and compulsive–but to be honest, I feel a little less aggressively so….

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Interview with Leah Garriott, author of Promised

Saturday, February 22, 2020

I am so happy to welcome Leah Garriott to the Deb ball this week! Although she earned degrees in math and statistics, Leah Garriott lives for a good love story. She’s resided in Hawaii and Italy, walked the countryside of England, and owns every mainstream movie version of Pride and Prejudice. She’s currently living her own happily ever after in Utah with her husband and three kids. We’ll be giving…

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Finding Inspiration Through the Work. Or, Kathleen’s Third (?!) Book.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

It’s two weeks post-publication of Minor Dramas, and I’m writing from my bed at home, prepping for the second leg of my tour. (Are you in Texas?! I’m in Dallas tomorrow and Houston on Thursday and Friday, and I’d love to see you.)  Anyway, It’s been a whirlwind, and the best advice about surviving publication I’ve gotten so far is from my friend Laura: “Spend at least one hour per…

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What Happens When Two Literary Debutantes Meet at a Bookstore?

Sunday, February 16, 2020

When I found out that fellow Debutante Kathleen West was making a stop in the Boston area during her book tour, I knew I had to make plans to attend. Kathleen and I have been in touch since we became Debs in late summer of last year, but we’d never met. We Debs are in different parts of the country and our interactions have pretty much been through video conferencing,…

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Minor Dramas on the Small Screen, Or, “Hollywood, Can You Hear Me?”

Minor Dramas
Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Greetings from book tour! I had a wonderful launch week, and I continue to celebrate the release of Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes on the road. I’m typing this from my hotel room in Chicago where I’ve finished the first of three events. If you happen to be in the Chicago area, I’ll be at the Highland Park Public Library today, February 11th, at 1:00, and at Lake Forest Book…

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