Broken Pieces

Kathleen Shoop – How To Write Fiction & Become a Better Writer


What is your favorite color? Red

What is your favorite food? seafood

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? Kiawah Island, South Carolina. It’s absolute heaven.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? See the above family question

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I had so much fun growing up, hanging out with friends, experiencing all the stuff every human does, but I kept replaying certain scenes and events in my head and reliving them that way, almost as though recalling them was better than originally living them. I kept thinking, “I have to write this down, I have to capture this moment, this feeling, this person!” At the same time, I found myself rambling on and on about all sorts of things that I felt passionate about, but it occurred to me, hearing someone’s voice for too long is grating. It was then I figured, “Hey, write it down then if someone wants to read what I think, they’ll read it…” No grating necessary. That combined with my family history of everyone being buried in books sort of sealed my fate. Oh, and my dad writes every day of his life. He doesn’t care about being published, the writing itself is paramount to him.

How long have you been writing? I’ve been writing fiction for 13 or 14 years, but it was when my son was born prematurely and I reduced my workload to be at home more that I decided I would treat writing as my job—even with my regular, formal part-time work.

When did you first know you could be a writer? I wrote my first novel and two of my neighbors would read it and give me feedback. The book had a ton of problems, but they would pull out the parts where they laughed their asses off or they felt it was moving or powerful or a character was strong and even with the novel’s problems, they would encourage me and in their reactions to what did work, I found the place in me that said, “this is what you should be doing…” I think they really demonstrated the power others have in supporting someone’s work.

What inspires you to write and why?  Life! Nearly everything I see is inspirational to me in some way. Even boring events are ripe with material. The way one woman digs through her purse and pokes at her phone with her long nails slipping off the buttons, or the man who is so bored he doesn’t realize he’s just picked his nose in a room full of fellow parents…there is no experience that isn’t in some way usable in my writing.What genre are you most comfortable writing?

What inspired you to write your first book? College life inspired my first book. I lived with one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. She was absolutely everything I was not—self-assured, sassy, brilliant, carefree, self-depricating, and a smoker. We were both drinkers…but we just clicked on some level and spent so much time doing stupid, dangerous/hilarious things that never failed to make me think, “oh, my God, I have to write about this…” I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone else like her—someone with such a fully developed sense of who she was and what she needed to do or not do to accomplish her goals.

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Genre – Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG15

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