Tell us a little about yourself
I’m a Canadian from Toronto, Canada. I graduated from York University in Toronto with my BA in literature and I also minored in philosophy. I got married to my husband last year and we live in Los Angeles, California with our cat, dog and bearded dragon. I teach ESL to adults at a private college and I love it! I try to write daily. I have a blog I maintain (http://www.kathrynsheridankupanoff.com), a completed manuscript that is being beta-ed and I’m really excited about my current work in progress.
How do you think being an ESL teacher has influenced your voice as a writer?
It’s really affected how I perceive language and syntax. I’ve had students from all over the world and they all teach me a bit from their own native tongues. I love seeing how language evolves and how they all connect (and sometimes they don’t!). The history is fascinating and it’s really inspired me to look at word choice and the philosophy of language and meaning (which was actually a course I took for my undergrad too).
How long have you been writing, and what do you write?
I’ve been writing since I was probably about six years old. I wrote a short story in the first grade that I won a writer’s contest for, but I can’t really remember the story. Something about jungle animals and their awesome adventures. Now, I write literary fiction. I like to focus on everyday events and people with a philosophical twist. Sometimes I torture my characters: if I’m going through something, I’ll throw the same situation at them and see how they survive it. It’s therapeutic, really. Abusive for them, but there are no torture laws against fictional people. Yet. I’m just kidding. 🙂
Can you tell us a little about your current writing projects?
I mentioned that my completed manuscript is being beta-ed (Real word? Not sure). I was inspired by a time my husband and I went to a pub in Los Angeles one night and ended up talking to this person at the bar for an hour or so. He was telling us the most detailed and personal things about himself and it made me think: it’s because he doesn’t know us. He’ll never see us again. What does he have to lose? Fascinating! So Fortune Cookie is about two strangers who do just that: share their darkest secrets with each other. The twist is that by the night’s end, there’s a spark… and maybe they’d want to be more than strangers, maybe friends, maybe lovers. It’s literary fiction with a romantic slant.
My current work in progress is a first-person narration about a guy in his twenties who’s going nowhere in life. He’s got an insane family, a dead-end job, he was kicked out of college… a born loser. The only good thing in his life was his high school girlfriend who’s out of the picture now. After a life-changing experience, he decides to go on a road trip to find her again. I was inspired by the character Holden Caulfield, and I wanted to make my protagonist a loser, but also sarcastic and easy to relate to. It’s a lot of fun to write!
Who is your favorite author? Favorite book?
Same answer as a lot of people, but that’s all right. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I just read Sum: 40 Tales From The Afterlives by David Eagleman and found it fascinating. It was an enthralling philosophical read.
If you could be any character from any book at all, who would you be, and why?
Wow, what a great question! Maybe Yvaine from Stardust. That’d be cool. You’d be a star, you’d glow, you’d be outer worldly and living in a castle with your true love as your king. How amazing would that be?
Do you have a writing schedule? A particular place to write?
I don’t really have a schedule. I have more times to get writing done on the weekends, so those are usually my most productive days. I like to write in our living room on the floor with my laptop on the floor. It helps if I have the radio or the television on in the background, actually. It’s the white noise.
What do you find inspires you as a writer?
Music and visual art are incredibly important to me. Some artists are entire worlds of inspiration for me. Dali, for example. I could get lost in his mind for hours. As for music, The Beatles, Coldplay, Muse… lots of bands really help me get those creative juices flowing. Again, philosophy helps. I’m currently really into String Theory, so reading up on that every once in a while helps me get out of my box.
We’re both members of the group “Weekly Chapter Challenge” on Writers Digest Community. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Oh, it’s absolutely fabulous. I still have to write my weekly post, actually, but I’m on week four with Katie S. Taylor and I’ve never been more productive with writing. I keep saying to other writers to get involved in this because it really helps you stay accountable and makes sure you’re getting at least 3,000 words a week out there. The feedback I’ve gotten from Katie has been incredibly helpful too. She’s a great writer and editor and her suggestions have just been great. Also, to be on the editing end is great for my own style too. I see how she writes, it helps me be a better writer. I don’t know how I ever wrote before!
What do you feel has been the biggest impediment to your evolution, for want of a better word, as a writer, and conversely, what do you feel has contributed the most to your progress?
The self-discipline to write daily has contributed the most. Also, the determination to finish, not letting myself quit. It can be really hard. Writing’s hard work! (Surprise!) But you have to have those two things in order to get better. As for the biggest impediment, I’d have to say time. There’s always time, but if work gets in the way, if life gets in the way, it’s hard to set aside enough time to get some writing done.
How do you spend your spare time?
With my husband, friends or family. I’m also in a book club, so I’m usually reading when I get some free time.
Any last words?
No. No last words just yet. 🙂
Where can readers find you on the web?
My blog is http://www.kathrynsheridankupanoff.com