I had the wonderful opportunity to interview author Korinthia A. Klein.
Me: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Korinthia: I’ve always found writing easy, and was able to count on that skill all through school. But I didn’t try my hand at fiction until after I started having children, and found it complicated to pursue my day-job (which is violin making) while they were small. The sharp tools were too dangerous, and I needed something creative to occupy my time that was also portable. I decided to work on a novel, because it could be a background project with no pressure or time limit. Then I discovered fiction writing was a blast, and I cranked out drafts for three different novels before I had to set them aside for a few years when my husband got deployed. Eventually when I picked them up again, I started learning how to edit. I like the whole process of writing a novel from beginning to end, and now make time for it as a necessary part of my life.
Me: How long does it take you to write a book?
Korinthia: A basic draft of around 90,000 words takes me about two months. Then editing and rewriting can take a long time after that depending on my schedule. I would say overall I’m a fairly fast writer. I once wrote a novella on a whim over a weekend. Me: What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Korinthia: I run a violin shop with my husband, and we have three kids. Plus I am a musician who performs with a couple of different groups. I don’t have a schedule for writing as much as I have flashes of inspiration that I grab onto when I can, and I will sometimes stay up late into the night simply to finish a chapter or two. I keep my laptop always nearby, and can write down a bit here and a bit there as ideas occur to me during small breaks in my work day. (When glue is drying can be a good moment to write.) I do take a week every fall to go on a writing retreat with a friend to a cottage in the woods with no wifi, and I can get a huge amount of writing done in that relatively small span of time. Me: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Korinthia: Probably that I tend to write the beginning, the end, and the middle, then fill in the book from there. I don’t know anyone else who writes that way, but it works for me.
Me: How do books get published?
I wish I knew. I tried diligently with my first novel to find an agent, and I heard repeatedly that they liked my writing, but they didn’t think they could sell the book. I finally decided to self-publish simply as a way to put that particular project to bed and move on to the next. Self-publishing has been a steep learning curve, but I think I’m a better writer for having had to figure out so many things on my own. The current novel I’m working on has an appealing elevator pitch to go with it, so I may try again to go the traditional route. I would lament the lack of total control over my work, but welcome the greater potential exposure if that were to happen. Me: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Korinthia: My books are basically vehicles for working through certain ideas or concerns that strike me at certain stages of my life. My first novel, Almost There, began as an exercise in seeing whether I could create relatable characters. Then I focused on the fact that, at the time, most of the stories I was reading created drama through flawed characters making questionable decisions, and that wasn’t my experience in real life. I feel like most of the time life simply throws difficult situations at good people, and then they deal as best they can, so I worked my story from that angle, drawing from several areas of my life to build my characters. I decided to write a plot around my fears as a parent. My second book, Seducing Cat, grew out of conversations I was having with my friends about our evolving thoughts about sex as we got older. That novel was a fun way to work through certain scenarios without having to personally make bad decisions in my own life. Just Friends, Just War, looks at a friendship between people of the opposite sex, and was also a way of exploring my concerns about deployment before my husband was called up. In all of my stories, the characters come from some part of me, and I lend them some of my interests or insights or knowledge. In a draft I’m working on for an upcoming book, I decided to give my characters jobs that were unfamiliar to me, and I had the fun of interviewing people in those jobs to make sure I got the details right. I love having an excuse through my writing to learn new things.
Me: When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Korinthia: I was in my mid-thirties when I started writing novels. I wrote drafts for three different books in 2005 and 2006, then I had to put fiction on hold while my husband was deployed twice to Iraq. I became a paid blogger for a parenting website for a few years, but was able to eventually return to my novels and finally published Almost There in 2013. Seducing Cat came out in 2019, and Just Friend, Just War this year (2020). Me: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Korinthia: I build and repair violins, play viola with a symphony orchestra and mandola with an amateur mandolin orchestra, and I enjoy time with my husband and kids. Me: What does your family think of your writing?
Korinthia: My kids have not read my novels because it’s too weird for them. (Particularly the second novel, Seducing Cat, which is about a woman who has an affair. I don’t imagine there are a lot of people who want to read a sex scene written by their mom.) My husband is incredibly supportive and finds me time to write, and does any formatting and technical work I need help with. My mom is a professional artist who drew two of my covers, and she is my biggest fan. One of my brothers built my author website, the other has done all my cover design, and they both help me copy edit proofread my work. Me: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Korinthia: I suppose coming to realize how much of writing is rewriting. And that there is a predictable ebb and flow to creating something as long as a novel. Some stages are great fun, and others are less so. There is a rush from getting to the end of a first draft, and moments where I love my novel, quickly followed by feeling all of it is garbage when I hand it to a test reader, then feeling better again when there are things about it they like. Writing a novel is more of an emotional roller coaster than I would have expected. It’s a fun ride, though, and I’m sad when other things in my life require me to get off it for a while. Me: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Korinthia: I have written five novels and published three. I like them all for different reasons and am proud of my work. Although whatever I’m working on at the moment I suppose is my current favorite. I think I get better with each new book. Me: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Korinthia: The obvious answers are to read a lot, and to write a lot. More specifically, I would figure out what words you overuse and make sure to find them when doing your first good edit. For myself, one of the words I do a specific search for is “it.” The majority of the time, “it” is better replaced by whatever “it” actually is. Me: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Korinthia: I enjoy hearing from my readers, and they often say really lovely things. It’s gratifying to know when I’ve touched people with my words. Me: Do you like to create books for adults?
Korinthia: Yes. In fact, I find sex scenes really entertaining to write, but then wind up editing them way down into something less graphic for the final book. I think I would be good at writing books for children and young adults, but at the moment I’m more interested in stories for adult audiences. Me: What do you think makes a good story?
Korinthia: I like characters that I can relate to, for both their flaws and their better qualities. I like when plot lines and behaviors feel plausible, but still offer surprises. I love a story that makes you care about what happens, and makes you look at things in new ways. Me: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Korinthia: I really didn’t know. I like creating things, and for a while I liked the idea of working for the Muppets. I’ve always been drawn to music, art, and writing, and currently find outlets for all of those pursuits in my life. I don’t think anyone should be limited to a single identity or passion.
For more information about the author on how to reach her about purchasing her books she can be reached on these sites.
Current novel: Just Friends, Just War