Monday, February 24, 2014

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Kathryn U. Hulings

Kathryn Hulings not only has a great first name; please check mine if you're wondering why, but she also has a connection (albeit a small one) to J.K. Rowling. (Check out the answer to question two).

If you know of someone who has down syndrome, this interview will be of specific interest to you...

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

My husband, Jim, and I are the parents of five, grown children whom we have raised in Fort Collins, Colorado over the past thirty-three years.  I am also an instructor at Colorado State University where I teach literature, composition, and creative writing courses.   

Reading and writing were given a very high priority by my own parents; as such, I grew up surrounded by books and constant opportunities to express myself though the written word.  In other words, I have always been writing!  My B.A. is in English, and my M.A. is also in English with a concentration in creative nonfiction.  

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?

I always have pen and paper on hand, and whenever an idea strikes me I write it down.  I have been known to write on more than one restaurant napkin!  When I am working on a manuscript and really getting down to business, I work on a laptop, in my home office. 

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

My favorite part about writing is watching the story unfold and being surprised by the unexpected turns the prose takes.

My least favorite part about writing is when I know in my heart where I want to go with a piece, but I can’t find a way in that makes sense; the right line, word, or spark can be so very elusive.  

How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

When I am writing in creative nonfiction, my characters exactly duplicate real life people—or at least how they are from my perspective.  In fiction, my characters are heavily influenced by real life folks, but I often conflate a lot of people I know into one character.

Readers seem to appreciate believable characters who are recognizable, relatable, and may even have an uncanny resemblance to someone in their own lives. 

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

I am new to this scene, having just published my first book in July of 2013 with the University of North Texas Press.  I have a website and a Facebook presence for the book, and a dear friend who is a publicist in California did an amazing amount of outreach to get the book recognized and reviewed.  

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

My calendar would indicate that I am supposed to write in the mornings.  The reality is that I write when I can, and I write when words are coming so quickly I must write, whatever the hour or place.

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

I am currently working on a novel influenced by real life events.  My book, Life with a Superhero: Raising Michael Who has Down Syndrome, is a literary memoir, so I am on an exciting writing adventure with this new project. 

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

Not really the back burner . . . I have four more projects lined up to follow my current novel in-the-works.  All four are fiction works.  I also have some plans to keep trying my hand at screenwriting, which is a passion of mine.    

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

Keep writing. Keep reading craft books for advice.  Read every genre under the sun.  Join a writing group if that’s your thing. Find a few trusted people who will read your work and offer feedback and guidance.  When you’re ready to submit, brace yourself for possible rejection, and then use it to learn and grow.  Then repeat the whole process again.  And again . . .  

Thank you, Kathryn!

Learn more about Kathryn at:

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