Type Cast Interview 3: 23-Year-Old Author, Kathryn
A Series of Creative Writing Blogs To Share Story Ideas And Creative Writing Inspiration From Young Authors And Poets.
Another week has come around, and yet another young author/writer has interested me to appear in my author interview for creative writing blog – ‘Type Cast‘.
This ‘cast’ of young, up-and-coming writers are people who have followed me on social media and have interested me in one way or another. Either how their social media feed is composed, their writing or simply just being curious about their work/writing process as a writer of science fiction and dystopian literature.
As authors, we are always looking for ways to improve and develop how we write. We love to analyse the work that other artists compile over their careers as creatives and see what we can apply to the work that we produce ourselves. I love nothing more than learning from other people to see what inspires them and what has moved them to write the piece of fiction or poetry that they took the time to craft.
As I said before, being a teacher by profession, I love working and hearing about how young people (between the ages of 16 and mid-twenties) are driven enough to take risks and feel inspired to chase a dream.
I hope to move to a weekly creative writing blog to keep up with the content being sent to me by so many amazing, creative teenagers and young adults. Thank you so much for your contributions as it is pushing me to add to my own work and develop further as a writer!
If you are a young writer, between 16 and 25, please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn and ask me about the Type Cast author blog. I would love to hear from you!
23-year-old Kathryn replied to me on Instagram and agreed to be interviewed for Type Cast. Read the piece below to learn about Kathryn and her work. Remember to share this blog around and check out Kathryn’s Instagram profile – @thewritingforest
1. When did you first realise that you wanted to be a writer?
I remember writing poetry at an early age, and that progressed into writing stories and scenes throughout my teenage years. I always enjoyed creating characters and worlds, but it was only towards the end of secondary school that I realised other people might enjoy what I’d created.
That was when I started working towards my goal of becoming a writer.
2. Do you plan or research your writing before you start? If so, what is your process for planning or research?
Yes, I do a lot of planning and research. I enjoy that part of the novel-writing process, and I think it’s important if you want to write a believable story.
For my current work-in-progress, I’ve been using post-stick notes to plot the storyline, as they’re easy to rearrange and replace.
I keep notebooks containing everything from lists of characters and locations to rough maps and ideas. I’ve also travelled to a few places that have inspired locations for research.
3. In your most recent work, or work-in-progress, what is the main idea of the story and what inspired you to write it?
My current WIP is a fantasy story about a girl navigating her way across a new world to save someone she loves. It involves gods, oceans, friendship, fighting and also biting… Though, not in the vampiric sense. Hopefully, that’s intriguing!
It was initially inspired by a film-like dream I had, and I built the storyline around it. I often have quite wild and detailed dreams, which is more than useful as a writer.
4. Which person inspired your writing the most? It can be anyone – e.g. an author, a teacher or a family member.
I can’t pinpoint a specific person but when I think back to growing up, watching a lot of films at the cinema definitely helped my imagination and inspired me to invent my own storylines.
5. If you could choose one book from a famous author to publish as your own, which book would you choose and why?
Probably ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ by Johnathan Swift because it’s one of my favourite books and I’ve enjoyed it differently each time I’ve read it. The first read, I was young and just thought it was a great adventure story but then, as I got older and re-read, I recognised it as a satire.
It’s a book that appeals to many ages for different reasons and is enjoyable even today (considering it was published nearly 300 years ago in 1726!).
6. As a young author, what do you think makes a good story?
I think a good story is one that sends you to another world and leaves you thinking about that world and its characters even when you’re no longer reading it. Stories that keep you up at night, glued to the page and that send you on emotional rollercoaster are the best.
7. What does your family think of your writing, and how do they support you?
I know they think I own too many books… But that doesn’t stop them from buying me more on occasions and supporting me that way.
I’ve always felt encouraged to write and have taken advice from my grandparents who enjoy reading. They’re all excited to read my first book.
8. Do you feel there are any challenges being a young author? If so, what are they?
I know very young authors are often not taken seriously, which isn’t fair, and it means they have to constantly prove themselves to people in the industry.
In my case, my challenge is feeling pressure from many areas of my life at once. As a young writer, I want to publish a book, but I also want to progress in my career, study hard so I don’t fall behind others, stay social, so I don’t miss out and also look after my mental health.
Established or older writers are likely to be better at managing this and have less pressure from so many different areas at the same time.
9. What are your hobbies away from writing, and what makes them so important to you?
I love travelling and seeing different places, it fuels a lot of my ideas as a fantasy writer. I also really like studying Korean and learning about Korean culture.
Watching K-dramas and films on Netflix or at the cinema is one of my favourite things to do because it’s easy to switch off and lose yourself in another world.
Everyone needs a break every now and then.
10. You are a young author, what one piece of advice would you give to a budding author who has not quite taken that step?
Write for yourself at first, don’t think about producing a book because that can be daunting. Try and read a lot too, it’s a good way to naturally improve your writing.
The best piece of advice I came across was so simple. It said: “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”
11. In relation to writing, what are your hopes and aspirations for the future?
I hope my current WIP gets published, so others can enjoy the characters and step into the world I’ve been spending all my time in. After that, I want to continue the story in further books and dream up some new ones.
I also want to work on my poetry. I have a lot of material that I’ve worked on over the years, and I’d love to develop this into something.
Why I Champion The Young Writer
What interests me about Kathryn is how she is typical of many young adults who are trying to juggle a career, studying, and ensuring she has a social life to enjoy. Her desire to follow her dream of publishing her first novel is one that many young writers should never give up on. Yes, it is tough and, yes, there may well be rejection along the way, but it is your dream, and the only way you will inevitably fail is to give up.
When I finished my master’s degree, I followed a path to a career in teaching. I had always promised myself that I would keep writing but, with planning, professional development, and taking on a management role, writing fell by the wayside. If it wasn’t for the promise a 10-year-old girl made me agree to my shaking my hand, I might never have written a novel, like Inside Iris.
Another area I am passionate about is mental health and young people. This is an area that Kathryn mentions in her interview, and I applaud her for ensuring that she takes time to maintain a healthy mind. Many young people out there suffer from anxiety, depression and a fear of taking a chance in life. Others find themselves trapped in a career that they don’t know how to escape! This is a scary place to be, and I fully understand Kathryn’s point of view.
If you are a young writer, even a child picking up a pen or pencil for the first time to write a story, write for yourself and enjoy it for what it is. As Kathryn said above, this is her advice to any young writers, and she’s exactly right.
If you sit down and say you are going to write X amount of words, you may be daunted by the process and find yourself being hit by the dreaded writer’s block. You are your audience until you find friends and family eager to read your work. Write for you and have fun!
Life is too short to sit behind a desk dreaming of what could be while listening to the crowing voices of colleagues and co-workers. Have a dream! Have a plan! You never know what could happen tomorrow!