This is part of an interview with Kate Blackwell published in The Writer's Life eMagazine.
You can read the full interview here.
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life! Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process. Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning? Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?
A: Since You Won’t Remember This is a collection of stories, I don’t have a short answer to this question. I began to write stories twenty years ago, initially as a way to learn how to write a novel. But the strategies of the short form were seductive. I kept writing stories until I had enough for a collection. As for my ideas for individual stories, they usually begin as a memory, something I don’t understand and can’t forget: an offhand remark of my mother’s, a murder case I read about in the newspaper, a wedding I attended when I was twelve. I suppose I write to make sense of something.
Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?
A: The hard part of writing this book was the time it took. Short stories aren’t easy to get right; sometimes I linger over one for several years before I understand what it’s about and am able to find the ending. One thing that keeps me going is the chance to publish single stories on the way to a book. Ten of the twelve stories in this collection first appeared in literary magazines.
Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?
A: I was surprised at how good it felt to connect with readers. I had no idea how moved I would be by people’s reactions to my stories, their curiosity about the characters, their enthusiasm for their favorite story, and the questions they asked about those that troubled them. The conversations I’ve had with readers have been amazingly affirming.