Meet Kathleen Shoop, bestselling author of historical fiction, women’s fiction and romance.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
If I’m thinking in terms of literary figures I’d love to meet Dorothy Parker. I absolutely love her voice and stories and I think she must have seen so many fabulous things in her time. I’d love to talk to her about the way she saw the world and how that shaped her stories.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would advise my younger self to decide earlier to actively pursue writing. In service of that I’d tell her to pay more attention in undergrad and take advantage of all the opportunities that come with being at college, the events beyond the classroom and CJ Barney’s.
What is your favorite resource for writers?
My favorite resource for writers is the novel, any novel, a thousand novels. Yes there are countless sites to help writers with every stage of publishing and querying and selling books, but really, the most important teacher is the book in your hand, the next one you read, the authors who inspire you or confound you. Whether I love a book or couldn’t quite get into it, there are lessons to learn.
What has been the most satisfying aspect of your literary career?
The most satisfying aspect of my career is having the ability to choose to try to publish traditionally or to publish independently. Self-publishing has changed the way I approach writing, allowing me to write the things I love, to tell the stories that want to be told, rather than being constrained by as many rules and expectations. That doesn’t take away the need to produce, clean, tight, professional books, but it allows me not to worry about what the establishment says is marketable at a given moment. This satisfaction was a surprise to me as I always thought I’d be striving to find a traditional publisher–turns out, no. I love having the control of where my writing goes.
What is your favorite tip for writers?
Never stop learning, never stop asking for feedback from trusted readers and advisors. A certain point a book needs to be published or set aside, but until that point, stay open to those who care about seeing you succeed.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
The most challenging aspect of my work is also what has been most satisfying. Because I take on the entire process of writing the book and managing its production, I sometimes question if all of my decisions are “right.” I don’t have the ability to fall back on decisions others made (a publishing house and or agent) if some aspect of a book isn’t as strong as I’d like it to be. It’s all me and that can induce some serious panic at particular times!
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
Books, notebooks, coffee
If you could ask a sage any question, what would you ask?
How to work better and faster… which is probably the opposite of what you ask a sage. Perhaps for the path to enlightenment.
Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
Selling well over 100,000 books, writing any book at all! Also, though people have various opinions on book awards, I am very proud of my books winning and placing in various contests like the IPPY’s, Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and IndieExcellence. Perhaps the most significant accomplishment is when readers approach me with praise, wanting to know when the next book will release. That’s the absolute height of achievement, it’s the reason I write. It’s the reason I decided to stop worrying about a traditional path to publishing–readers are what matters not how the book got into their hands!
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