Monday, January 16, 2006

Make Believe Mondays With Katrina Kittle

I'm pleased to introduce my dear friend, Katrina Kittle, on this Make-believe Monday.

I met Katrina at the Antioch Writers Workshop several years ago when I was in her fiction workshop. Katrina has written two books for Warner and is now writing for William Morrow. Her latest book, The Kindness of Strangers will be in the stores on February 1st and I'll be one of the first in line to buy it. Katrina writes characters who are so real they could live right next door and her characters always touch my heart.

Katrina, first tell us a little bit about the manuscript you're working on now.

Katrina: I'm struggling to keep momentum going on the my fourth novel--currently titled My Beautiful Disaster--while I gear up for the release of my third, The Kindness of Strangers. The fourth book is still in "baby stages" and close to the end of a first draft. It's hard for me to talk about a story until I finish a first draft. It's almost as if I don't really know what it's about myself yet. But...all of my novels have started with some kind of social issue I care about, and then I try to build a story around that issue that raises--but doesn't necessarily answer--questions surrounding that issue. This book I jokingly call the "marriage book." I'm interested in the purpose of marriage. Lots of people say it has no purpose today, that the reasons for which marriage was created no longer apply. Hmm. I DO believe there's a purpose for marriage and I'm toying with articulating that. So...this book deals with marriage, flawed and successful (not that those are mutually exclusive), gay marriage, divorce, body image, eating disorders...with lots and lots of horses and a visit to Africa thrown in! That's all I can say at the moment. I'll keep you posted.

Since I've heard some of the stories of your visit to Africa, I can't wait to see how this book turns out!

Mark Twain said, "You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." How do you fill your creative well to keep your imagination in focus?

Katrina: Years ago, I'm so happy I discovered Julia Cameron's fabulous book, The Artist's Way. She talks about "artist dates" and how we need to take our artist selves out to play for this very purpose: to fill the well. It's a constant struggle--we so often scrimp on time for ourselves in order to take care of others--but I try to keep my artist dates. The idea is that you go out to play in some way, whatever your heart desires. You don't need to justify it or rationalize it, and it should never, never be some virtuous thing you feel you "should" do. I keep a list of things I'd like to do, and I keep my eye out for those odd little happenings in the paper. I've danced to show tunes, gone to a class on coyotes in the Ohio area, hiked in the woods, wandered through greenhouses, strolled around in cemeteries, gone by myself to interesting little coffee houses to read poetry books or trashy magazines (sorry Lucy!) I bought on a whim, watched a draft horse pulling competition, went to the opening of a Peace Museum, colored in a coloring book, made a collage out of magazine pictures. The idea of experiencing the new is important. There's a quote (I don't remember who said it) that goes: "Each time you experience the new you become open to inspiration."

How right you are about taking care of others and the need to take care of the inner artist. I especially like the way you stay open to the unplanned adventure, to the new. Inspiration is just waiting around the next corner, isn't it?

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Katrina: I was a a voracious reader. LOTS of books pulled me into their worlds, and I'm so, so grateful. I absolutely adored the Nancy Drew series. She was smart and strong and could do EVERYTHING (it's really kind of ridiculous, all the bizarre talents she had--she could speak a bazillion languages, do ballet, ride horseback, do circus stunts on horseback, had skill in archery, row, run, do gymnastics, play tennis, swim, perform any kind of medical service needed...the list was endless...). I loved her competence! And she was always cool and the epitome of grace under pressure. I would pretend to be her and would play for hours this way. But I was a huge lover of anything with ghosts or the supernatural or magical in them. Anything where animals and humans could talk to each other was right up my alley!

Katrina, thank you for joining us here on this Make-belive Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers. May your days be full of new and unexpected adventures and your creative well always be full.

Visist Katrina's website at and look for her new book on Feb. 1st!

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