Kate Evans interview with David Alan Binder

posted Dec 31, 2015, 10:35 AM by David Alan Binder   [ updated May 16, 2016, 6:44 AM ]

Kate Evans author interviewed by David Alan Binder

 

By way of introduction Kate Evans is the author of the book, Call It Wonder: an odyssey of love, sex, spirit, and travel.  Please see the interview below to get to know more about her.  This is important for aspiring writers to become intimately familiar with all kinds of authors and find out what makes them tick.  Knowing them enables you to understand yourself better.

Her write up in Good Reads is featured here: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/195179.Kate_Evans

 

Her web site is here:

http://www.kateevanswriter.com

She is a featured writer for:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/author/kate-evans

Her book is for sale here:  Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Call-It-Wonder-odyssey-spirit/dp/099618242X

Please note that all authors provide their own answers via email and some answers are short and some long depending on the author.

 

START INTERVIEW

 

1.     Where are you currently living?

 

Half the year my husband and I live in Baja, Mexico, and the other half we travel. Our traveling often involves house sitting. Right now we are house sitting in Tahoe, which is great because there’s a lot of snow this year and we love to ski.

 

2.     When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

 

When I read The Diary of Anne Frank, I started keeping a diary. I must have been in about third grade. In fourth grade I wrote a 75-page novel by hand, and in fifth grade I wrote a musical, including all the songs.

 

3.     How long on average does it take you to write a book? What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

 

When a book has taken hold, I usually write 2-4 hours a day, most every day, to keep the momentum going but not more than that so I don’t burn out. In that way, I wrote the first drafts of my novels and my memoir in 3-6 months. Then I turn it over to a few writing friends who give me feedback. It’s good to step away from it so I can come back to it with fresh eyes. During that time, I’ll focus more on writing shorter pieces: essays, articles, poems; I’m a featured writer for Elephant Journal so there’s always something I can be working on for them. (http://www.elephantjournal.com/author/kate-evans/) Then, during the revision process on a book, I’m back to doing something on it every day until it’s done, probably another 3-6 months.

4.     What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

 

Before I write each day, I do what I call a “meditative pep talk,” where I sit with my hands next to the computer, close my eyes, take a few deep breaths, and then let my supportive inner voice cheer me on. It’ll say things like, “Have fun today. Remember, it’s okay to play like a kid and make a mess. Trust in the process. You’re doing this because you love it. Enjoy the adventure!” That way, when I’m writing and that inner critic comes up and tells me I’m full of shit and don’t know what I’m doing, I’m able to set it aside and say, “No one invited you here today. You can come back later when I’m revising and help me out then.”

5.     Did you self publish or have a publisher? What process did you go through to get your book published?

 

My first book, Negotiating the Self, was published by Routledge in New York; it’s a book about teaching. They accept unsolicited manuscripts, so I had sent it directly to them, and to my surprise and delight, they took it. My second book, a collection of poems called Like All We Love, was put out by now defunct Q Press in Portland; they had approached me after seeing some of my poems online. My third and fourth books (novels titled For the May Queen and Complementary Colors) were published by a small press in Seattle. After a while the rights reverted to me and so I later self-published them. My most recent book, a memoir called Call It Wonder: An Odyssey of Love, Sex, Spirit and Travel was put out by a small press in San Jose, California called Coytote Creek Books which does what they call “assisted self-publishing.” (http://www.amazon.com/Call-It-Wonder-odyssey-spirit/dp/099618242X) Jan McCutcheon, a former student of mine, does a lovely job with helping writers get their books out. It was nice to not have to be responsible for publishing it myself and to end up with a beautiful, quality product that Jan designed and made available as a paperback and an eBook.

6.     What do you like to do when you're not writing?

 

Live life! Spend time in the outdoors, read, hang out with my husband and friends, travel, meet new people, meditate, do yoga, ride bikes, ski, hike, play with animals and kids, laugh, go hear live music…

7.     What does your family think of your writing?

 

Years ago, my mom said to me, “Write whatever you want and don’t worry about my feelings.” That was a huge gift because my writing can be quite raw and personally revealing in the manner of the confessional poets. My parents are both gone now, but they were very supportive of me. My sisters both loved my memoir, and one of them held a book group event at her house, inviting her friends to read my book and meet me. I once had a boyfriend who wouldn’t read anything I wrote. Note: We broke up. My most recent memoir, which has “sex” in the subtitle, includes a number of scenes of my having sex with various people. One of my friends asked my husband if that bothered him. He said, “No. We all have a past. Besides, I’m proud of her for writing a book.”

8.     Do you have any suggestions to help others become a better writer? If so, what are they?

 

Read a lot, write a lot. Other than people’s opinions you solicit to get feedback on a draft, what other people think about your writing is none of your business. If they hate it, tell them to write their own damn book! In other words, don’t let your internal or external critics, your demons, keep you from writing or doing anything creative. While you’re working on a project, it can be helpful to hire a writing coach who can help guide you, give you feedback, edit your work—and can even help you with the world of agents, editors, and publishing. If you’d like to see what I can help you with as a writing coach, go to my website: http://www.kateevanswriter.com.



9.     Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

 

With Call It Wonder: An Odyssey of Love, Sex, Spirit, Travel, my most recent book, I’ve heard a lot from readers, thanking me for being so open about my life. I like to say the book is about leaving home to travel the world, developing a brain tumor, loving both men and women, and talking to ghosts. Many said the book is inspiring them to think about how they can live the life they really want to live.

10.                        What do you think makes a good story?

 

Anything that is so specific it becomes universal. I may not have lived that particular life, but I understand the feelings it evokes.

11.                        How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

 

That’s really what Call It Wonder is about: how I came to become a person who could fall in love with someone no matter the gender, and a person who could decide to live without a home, to drop everything and travel, and to figure out ways to do it without much money. Oh, and a person who thinks she’s going to die (which I did, when I had a seizure that signaled my brain tumor) and says, “Okay, here I go, onto the next adventure!” I’m not saying I have it all figured out, but I came to this point because of a lot of spiritual investigation, a lot of reading, and a lot of life experience. At age 53, I’m looking forward to continuing to expand and transform. A life well lived is a life of transformation.

 

12.                        Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?

 

Louise Fitzhugh, Walt Whitman, Sharon Olds, ee cummings, May Sarton, Isabel Allende, Virginia Woolf, Mark Nepo…I could name a zillion more, but these are the ones that first come to mind.

 

13.                        What are some day jobs that you have held?  Did any of them impact your writing?

 

Until I took an early retirement two years ago, I was a teacher my whole life. Most recently I taught university-level writing and literature courses. I also taught English in Japan, and I did a stint teaching high school. Teaching is such a dynamic job that being around all that energy can be incredibly stimulating for writers, but it can also, of course, leave you tired and with less energy to write—and less time because of all the paper grading. When I was teaching, I did most of my writing during the summer and my editing during the school year.

 

14.                        What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

 

It’s moving, funny, sexy, and surprising!

 

15.                        What projects are you working on at the present?

 

I recently finished writing my first screenplay. I received feedback on it and am now revising it. I’m also writing a novel.

 

16.                        What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has?

 

“Can I give you ten million dollars, no strings attached?”

 

END OF INTERVIEW

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