Monday, October 24, 2011

Kate Whouley answers our Author Questionnaire

Kate Whouley lives and writes on Cape Cod, in the home that inspired her to write Cottage for Sale, Must Be Moved. A Book Sense Book of-the-Year nominee in the nonfiction category, Cottage for Sale received kudos from booksellers and reviewers, and is a popular selection for reading groups.

An avocational musician, Kate has played principal flute in the Cape Cod Conservatory Concert Band since 1995. "When I began working on the new memoir, I thought I was writing a book about the band and my personal musical journey. But as I began to write, I couldn’t help but notice that my mother was turning up on every page."

Many booksellers know Kate from her work in the book industry consulting with bookstores on design, renovation and other matters for her company Books In Common. Her latest book is Remembering the Music, Forgetting the Words: Travels with Mom in the Land of Dementia.

1. What's on your nightstand right now?

Alexander Maksik: You Deserve Nothing

Charles Dickens: Great Expectations

Orhan Pamuk: Other Colors

Emberto Eco: Baudelino

Milan Kundera: The Curtain

Mavis Gallant: Paris Stories

2. How do you write?

My working life has been spent in the book business. I know the crush of books, the confusion of titles, the way that publishers push a few big books each season—mostly by established authors and celebrities. I know how difficult it is for any book to find an audience. I know that some folks believe that books and bookstores may soon be obsolete. When I begin to write, I must forget everything that I know about the marketplace for books, and choose, instead, to learn the truth of the story I am telling. I work in a separate silence—away from my desk, away from the telephone, and away from my desktop computer. Wherever I open up my laptop, I have a cup of hot white tea—and if I am lucky, a black and white cat—within arm’s reach.

3. Name the first time or moment you realized you were a writer.

I was first published—at age fourteen—in a magazine for collectors of insulators—those little glass and porcelain knobby things that used to sit on the crossbars of telephone and electric poles. In the years since, I’ve written Hallmark cards, radio commercials, catalogue copy, publicity material, feature articles, personal essays, a long-running column in a bookselling magazine, and I’ve authored, edited and contributed to several professional books. Yet—and this may be because I have worked in the book business, too—I didn’t consider myself a “real” writer until my first memoir—Cottage for Sale, Must Be Moved—was published. Around that time, I revealed this secret to a magazine editor. He corrected me: “Kate, you aren’t a writer. You’ve crossed over. You’re an author now.” Seven years later, I am still processing that information.

4. What are you working on now?

In the book tour whirlwind, I’m mostly working on showing up at the right place at the right time. But as the travel begins to slow down, I plan to return to a fiction project set in the ninth century. (When that one sees print, maybe I’ll be able to introduce myself as an author.)

5. Favorite recent find?
My cat, Mojo, although he found me. Formerly feral, he now enjoys the full privileges of Cat-of-the-House.

No comments:

Post a Comment