Wordsmith Interview – Katherine A. W. Troyer

Age: I can’t remember…it changes every year.

Location: Louisville, KY

Education: I earned my BA and MA (both in English) from La Sierra University in Riverside, CA. I am a Humanities PhD candidate at the University of Louisville in KY; I am defending my dissertation on the 18th of April (yes, this April)…so send happy thoughts my way!

The Writer

How long have you been writing?
I’ve always had a very active imagination; apparently, when I was little, I used to talk so much to my imaginary friends that my grandpa once asked my mom if she was worried about me. (She wasn’t.) As soon as I was able, writing down the stories in my head became the next logical step.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer?
I want to create the types of stories that make readers say “just one more chapter…”

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
Vanquishing, tricking, cajoling, or even just momentarily silencing that little insidious voice in my head that, like my story in Crack the Spine, keeps whispering “more.”

The Work

Tell us about your work in Crack the Spine.
More”—The story of a robot suffering the effects of Imposter Syndrome.

What inspired “More?”
About two years ago, my brother confided to me his fear that he might not be a “real” adult. To me, his adulthood seemed unquestionable: he was in his late twenties, paid taxes, and was married. Yet I realized as I talked to him that I was the pot, calling the kettle “ridiculous.” After all, every day I worry that someone might discover that I’m a fraud, that I’ve been deceiving people into believing I’m a “real” writer, a “real” scholar, a “real” person….but of course I am these things! I write, I research, and I exist…what more can I do to convince people? As I continued to ponder the conversation I had had with my brother, I realized that it’s not others who need to be convinced (any more than most people need to be convinced that a robot is a robot). Instead it’s me that is demanding “more” and unless I recognize this truth, more will never be enough.

Tell us about another project you have published or are currently working on.
Selling Happiness”—A short story about a girl who becomes addicted to her own brand of intangible happiness.

Where/When can we find this work?
https://www.calliopeontheweb.org/issue_138/SellingHappiness.aspx

The Methods

What time of day or night makes you most productive as a writer?
Those days right before (and after) a deadline.

What are your thoughts on writing at a computer vs. writing longhand?
I love the romance of writing by longhand and having stacks of handwritten pages littering my desk; however, I’ve discovered that the reality of a cramped hand, calloused finger, and way more hours spent writing rarely matches that original fantasy.

What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?
Find a reader who loves your work enough that they would write fanfic about it. But seriously, if you can find one person who is willing to be unabashedly passionate about your work (even in all of its rough-draft messiness) then you will be reminded of why you fell in love with your original idea back before you started the darkness known as revision (or rejection).

The Madness

What is your favorite book?
No. I refuse to pick.

What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?
Worrying that you won’t live long enough to write down all the stories that are demanding to be told.

What makes you laugh?
Baby animal videos.

What makes you cry?
Baby animal videos.

What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?
Neuschwanstein Castle, lit up at night, while I was across the lake in the arms of my love.

Chocolate or Vanilla?
Chocolate…no question.

Beach or Mountains?
Both…thanks!

Shakespeare or Tennessee Williams?
Shakespeare

Additional Reading on Katherine

Personal website/blog: katherine.a.w.troyer.com (Coming July 2017)

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