Interview with Kathryn Berla

Interview with Kathryn Berla

Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book, The Kitty Committee, is available for purchase everywhere books are sold. It’s a literary psychological suspense novel about a girl, Grace, who, due to a family tragedy, moves to the US during the most awkward stage of her teen years. Since her parents’ attention is elsewhere, Grace latches onto a girl who appears to have everything going for her. However, decades later, Grace is still trying to recover from the emotional consequences of this friendship and the dark places where it led. The story is told through a “past and present” narrative.

Interview with Kathryn Berla
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad or good ones?

I tend to read the early reviews but not so much the later ones. I try not to be affected by negative reviews but of course I’m human. However, I remind myself that even Anna Karenina has nearly 13,000 one-star reviews on Goodreads. I try to be true to myself when I write, and not concern myself with what others may or may not like. Naturally, I hope anyone who reads one of my books will come out with something positive from the experience.

Who are your favourite authors?

Among 21st century authors, some of my favorites are: Margaret Atwood, Elena Ferrante, Jim Crace, Andrew Sean Greer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and a few Hungarian authors including Agota Kristof.

Who is you favourite character in your book and why?

My favorite character is Maggie because she’s emotionally damaged—wounded by life—and yet she never stops believing in the goodness of others. She has a huge heart and never learns to protect it with armor the way many do in order to survive.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m definitely a pantser. I’ve tried plotting and I do have a general idea in mind when I begin to write a novel, but the characters always take on a life of their own and lead me to unexpected places. I feel, for me, if I became a true plotter, I would be restraining my characters from everything they’re meant to be.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I don’t suffer from writer’s block in terms of a lack of ideas or creativity. Sometimes, though, I feel the need to take a break because writing a book can be an emotionally exhausting event.

Interview with Kathryn Berla
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I would tell my younger self to pick an intriguing concept, then sit down and start writing. My younger self believed that in order to write a novel, one must have a completely original storyline which has been totally fleshed-out and simply needs to be transcribed onto paper. Now, I believe there are just a handful of original stories which have been retold in thousands of different ways over thousands of years. The beauty is in the details.

What are you currently reading?

Currently, I’m reading Pachinko, The Electric Woman, The Good Son, and a friend’s manuscript. I always read at least three books at the same time because I’m a slow reader and I can’t wait to get on to the next book.

What are some of your all time favourite books?

There are so many books that I love but two that have stood the test of time and have a special place in my heart for various reasons are The Crock of Gold and Earth Abides.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I spend time with family and friends, exercise, take long walks, travel, watch lots of Netflix series (mostly foreign), go to movies, and read. 


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