PART 1- Interview with K.M.Weiland Author of 'A Man Called Outlaw'
As promised, here is my first author interview. K.M.Weiland both inspired me and made me laugh out loud with her candid answers on all things literary. In her own words she 'suffers the passion' that is writing. Join me for part 1 of this interview as she discusses this passion and her journey into the world of words. In part 2 (next Monday) she talks specifically about her book A Man Called Outlaw and those moments where writers are tempted to doubt themselves, the characters, the plot and the entire desire to write. (So, it's NOT just me!)
You say on your website that, ‘Writing is both a gift and an art…as an art it must be approached with passion and discipline: a gift that is never developed wasn’t worth giving.” When would you say that you recognized you had been given the gift of writing?
I’ve always made up stories. In fact, my earliest memory is of myself in a tree house at a family reunion, making up a story about bad guys kidnapping everyone and how it was up to me to save them. I started writing my stories down and compiling them into a monthly newsletter when I was twelve. But I don’t think I ever really looked at my writing in the light of a gift until the last several years. When I suddenly found myself with a published book in my hands, which other people were presumably going to read, the responsibility of my words suddenly came home to me. I realized that God had given me a talent and that to squander it or treat it carelessly would not get me a “well-done-good-and-faithful-servant” pat on the back. I believe that God gives all of us a gift (or gifts). It’s our responsibility—and our privilege—to give it back to Him.
In what ways would you say that writing is a gift for you? How do you see your writing as being a gift to others?
Writing is a gift on so many levels. Every day, I get to sit down at my keyboard and travel to places and meet people I never would have the opportunity to experience in “real” life. I get to experience the world through the probing mindset of a writer, always asking questions, always aware of the details. For me, life is so much more vibrant when I write about it. Instead of just witnessing the magic moments in life and then watching them fly by, I can capture them. I can put them down in black and white, so that I’ll never lose them. And, then, of course, I get the added joy of sharing that captured moment with others. The written word—like all of art—is such a powerful medium. Art changes the world, and those of us who are privileged enough to be artists are given the opportunity to influence that change. Fiction is about connecting with people, about highlighting the shared experiences and, through that, growing into new experiences and looking into different mindsets. When my writing helps someone do any of those things, I count it a success.
What investments have you made in developing the gift of writing?
Time, mostly. I’m a die-hard believer in “studying to show yourself approved.” I read constantly, both fiction and nonfiction, gobbling down the words of others, and hopefully learning a thing or two through osmosis. Because art is such a personal thing, there really isn’t a pinnacle—a finish line—that can be reached in learning. It’s more of an evolutionary process. You can study all you like, but the real advancements take place while you’re actually writing and rewriting. And that takes time. To be any good at writing, it has to become a lifestyle. And that means that certain things—hobbies, casual relationships, vacations—sometimes have to be given up.
Before you were published who encouraged or inspired you to pursue writing?
Being in print doesn’t change the essential hunger, that need to spin stories and put words on paper. I’d write whether I was published or not. But my family and friends have always supported me, and I owe it to their encouragement that my first book eventually did find its way to print.
Have you ever faced any setbacks in reaching your goals as a writer?
I hit the same speed bumps as anybody: where you’re burned out, where everything you write for a period of time stinks, where you’re devastated by harsh criticism. But nothing I would really call a “setback."
What would you say your focus is now as a writer?
Every day, I want to sit down at my keyboard and have that quivery feeling in my stomach that whispers, “This story’s too hard! I should be writing something easier!” I want to write stories that are always just a little bit bigger than what I know I can handle. I want to experiment, try new things, write a different story every time. I want to grow as a writer with every word I write, and that means pushing myself a little farther than I want to go every time I put my hands on the keyboard.
What is it about writing that tells you that this is what you want to do with your life?
It’s not so much that I’ve chosen writing, as it is that writing has chosen me. It’s a compulsion of sorts. I can’t imagine not writing. It’s a crazy lifestyle really. So much of my life is lived on the page, instead of out loud, in the real world. I have to sacrifice certain things to feed the fire. But I wake up every morning with this incredible feeling of gratitude that I get to spend a good-sized chunk of my day doing what I love best. How many people get to say that?
If you weren’t writing what do you think you’d be doing?
I don’t know, weaving baskets in a mental hospital? Seriously, I think I’d probably go nuts if I couldn’t write, if I couldn’t express that part of me in some way. However, on the more practical side of the coin, I do enjoy graphic and web design. It pays the bills at any rate.
Favorite quote on writing?
“When the artist is truly the servant of the work, the work is better than the artist.”—Madeleine L’Engle
A HUGE thanks to Katie. Please join me next week for the conclusion of this interview. In the meantime, she writes an awesome blog that you can check out here or visit her website at www.kmweiland.com/
You can buy her book A Man Called Outlaw at www.amazon.com/
I highly recommend that you do!