Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kitty Keswick whose latest story, "Death Becomes Her," is in the Spirited anthology, all the proceeds of which go to charity.
"Some pretty big names are in it, so I am in a bit of awe...fan-girl awe," she admitted. "Mary V. Snyder, Candice Havens... To share the same pages is amazing."
Kitty was actually inspired to start writing because she had trouble reading. She has dyslexia—she used to flip her letters and it was very frustrating to her. She began writing stories down, misspellings and all, because she understood her own words.
"I never looked as dyslexia as disability," she told me. "I wrote an article about dyslexia and my publisher featured me on their blog."
"How long have you been writing?" I asked.
"Professionally? Well, I was first published in the second grade...I think. Maybe third grade. I wrote a poem about a frog and won an award. Seriously, I sold my first novel in 2007, but it didn't come out until 2010. I wrote Freaksville in 2001."
Kitty has two published novels, Freaksville and its sequel, Furry and Freaked, as well as two short stories—"Death Becomes Her" and "My Prom Date is a Vampire." She also has a box of what she calls "almost there/maybes/half-started scribbles entertaining the dust bunnies that live under my bed." Her favorite novel hasn't been published…yet.
She told me that her stories are very character-driven and that's what she looks like in a good story.
"They are, in my opinion, what make a novel interesting. They give your words life," she explained.
Because she is so character-driven, coming up with the basic plot is sometimes a struggle for her. Once she has it down, though, she doesn't have a problem coming up with twists and turns.
I asked her about her most interesting writing quirk.
"I am the queen of Post- it Notes," she confessed. "My wall is covered with them when I am writing. I use them as a plotting device...or wallpaper."
She started out as a pantser, but once she got published, she had to force herself to be a plotter too.
"Editors are funny that way. They want to see where the story is going before they buy it," she said with a wink. "Imagine that"
Kitty told me that she's gotten hooked on The Walking Dead on AMC, but she's more interested in the people rather than the zombies.
"I find it interesting, people surviving in the chaos. The human nature aspect. I often wonder who I would be?" she mused. "Would I be 'walker bait'? Or would I be a kick-butt survivor? I hope I would kick butt. I actually have a Go-bag. My boyfriend convinced me to keep one in my car. (His is way more detailed and heavier.) I have basic first aid, water purification tablets, toiletries, a couple of changes of clothes, several ways to make a fire, tent, blanket, travel pillow, seeds, granola bars. It's amazing what you can fit in a backpack. Every paycheck I buy something to go into it. This week I bought some cool cups and plates at Target and a yoga mat. It might be my survival bag, but I want to sleep on something soft and use cups and plates."
"What challenges do you think teens face today that you did not?" I asked.
"Everything happens so quickly in the world now. In a nano-second it could end up on the Internet. The world is smaller and news, good or bad, travels quickly. I think sometimes it's hard for teens to adjust to all the things...the pressures that are thrown at them. I have two teenage nieces and one teenage nephew. The stuff they have to face today is so much more than what I had to deal with. They are so resilient."
Kitty told me that she writes about the things she cared about when she was a teen—friends, love, fitting in.
"Those things never change," she said. "Everyone wants to know their place in the world. The teenage years are when you start on that journey. It's a bumpy road, but your teenage years shape who you are and what type of person you will become. Choose wisely, but if you mess up, own up to it and move on."
Finally, I asked, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?"
"Read. And never give up. You WILL get rejections; everyone does. It's what you do after you get one... Keep on typing. Sure, have a good cry, scream. Let it all out. But, dry up the tears and start typing again. Not everyone will like your work. You have to figure out what is an opinion and what is a problem with your work. Fix the problems; don't fret over the opinions. It's tough, but thick skin is needed in this business."
About the Author:
Check out her website www.KittyKeswick.com