Monday, August 26, 2013


Todays guest is author, Zoe Keithley. Learn what instrument she plays and why she sometimes gets "crabby."
Zoe Keithley

1. Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

Well, it was the Honey Bunch books. I was four years old and my mother had to take me for long visits to the eye doctor. She brought a book along and read aloud to me while we waited. One of those times, I realized that I would like to do that too--tell a story in print that would take people into another world that I made up. I told my mother this, and she took some blank paper from her purse and a pen and told me to start telling the story.  That's where it all started. I wrote in spurts, tried publishing with little success until I found a very different kind of writing program in my mid-forties at Columbia College in Chicago called StoryWorkshop. Then the writing became steady. Lately I have published a book of poems, Crow  Song,
A collection of poetry 
Find her book at Amazon
and have put three short stories (3/Chicago) up on Kindle.

A rolling river will follow other short stories, a novella and two novels. At Columbia I earned a degree as a Master Teacher and took my training into Chicago public school classrooms to model for teachers for fifteen years. Now, in Sacramento, I lead monthly writing workshops and am working on two new pieces--one fiction and one autobiographical.  Also I remain a beginning student of the banjo. What a great life!
2. How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?

I have converted the "dining" end of my apartment's kitchen as my writing studio. Tucked into a corner there, I do very well and prefer my laptop unless material is very deep and/or hesitant. Then I resort to a written journal.
3. What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
My usual favorite part of writing, like most writers I think, is when the images and ideas come in a big head rush and the writing seems to "write itself." I always take as much advantage of this as possible. After all, there will always be some revision. My least favorite part of writing is cleaning up a manuscript to send out, including having to shorten it for a contest. Of course, this often has good very good effects and then I wonder what I was so crabby about. There's a "lazy" writer in me, I know, that has to be overcome in order to bring a piece to its very best.
4. How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

Characters either come as variations of people in real life experiences, or manifest independently, demanding a story to hold them. That's the same as saying sometimes the story idea comes first and sometimes the compelling character needs a story to come first. I never know if readers will want to know my characters. I figure it's my job to draw them with enough flesh-and-blood and spirit and genuine problems that they will hook the reader as they have hooked me. I count on myself and my readers being pretty much cut out of the same cloth. I'm an ordinary person generally, and think of my audience being more or less like me, human beings with the experience of human life. 

5. What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

Other than sending pieces out to contests and for publication, I am just beginning to do marketing by publishing on Kindle and using the services of a "promoter" who is teaching me about marketing. It's a lot of learning to do, but I'm rolling up my sleeves.

 6. How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

I schedule my writing by a kind of internal clock and by external demands like deadlines. If I have a longer story or novel going, it stays in my mind and keeps pulling on me so that I get to it nearly daily without trouble. After all, I want to find out how it's going to turn out myself!

 7. What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out? 

Currently I have two new works started. One is The Woman, The Bear and the Mountain started several years ago up at Mount Shasta and pretty much continuing when I make trips to the mountain. I also have very modest beginnings on an autobiography. To write it, I have given myself permission to make it a hodge-podge of styles and approaches--whatever suits at the moment of writing, whatever comes when I sit down to do it. I take that freedom with first draft, and it feels very good with what might otherwise be a stultifying or boring form.
8. Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it. 

My project-in-mind, on the back burner, is a small book about some spiritual adventuring I have tried over the years and its results.

That's it!

(I am well into March 2014 for author interviews, but if you'd like to be interviewed, or know of a writer who would, drop me a line at:




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