Kathy Stinson

Friend of the CCBC, Roxana Henriquez also interviewed the lovely Kathy Stinson via email. Read on to learn more about Kathy! 🙂

1. My personal website address is: www.kathystinson.com

2. Place of birth: Toronto

3. Now I live in: Everton (near Guelph)

4. School attended: Douglas Park, Bloordale, Vincent Massey Collegiate, Lakeshore Teachers College, University of Toronto

5. In my career I have worked as: a mail sorter, a waitress, a teacher, a preschool program instructor, and a writer.

6. When I was younger, I read: as many books as I could get my hands on. (Some are mentioned on my website.)

7. Now I like to read: as many books as I can find time for.

8. My process consists of: sneaking up on a story so by the time it knows I’m telling it, there’s no stopping me

9. My ideas come from: Visit FAQ at kathystinson.com for the answer to this one.

10. Tips for young creators: Read all you can. Have fun with your writing.

11. My cure for writer’s block: I don’t believe it writer’s block. If a story is challenging me in a way I think, ‘how can I possibly go on with this mess?’ I just sit at my desk until I figure out a way.

12. I am influenced by: everything I experience and everything I read. Isn’t every writer?

13. The best and worst thing about being an author is: The best is getting to spend lots of hours each day inside a story that interests me. The worst is the uncertainty – every year – around whether I’ll earn enough money to pay all my bills, and what happens if I can’t go out to supplement royalty income by visiting schools and libraries and speaking at conferences any more.

14. On my desk/where I write, you will find: my computer, my daybook, a white noise machine so I can block out distracting household sounds, a mug full of pens and pencils, a few pads for scribbling notes on, a telephone, and a nice lamp with stained glass flowers and dragonflies in its shade.

15. What is your experience with censorship and what lessons have learned from that experience? I’ve met a number of parents who would prefer that their kids not read some of my books and teachers who would prefer to avoid dealing with those parents. It seems I haven’t learned anything from this because I still write whatever stories I need to write in the most honest way I know how.

16. Of the many genres in which you write, which is the one you feel most comfortable in and why? Writing is sometimes fun, occasionally exciting, often unsettling, but rarely comfortable. Unless it’s fair to say I’m most comfortable when I’m challenging myself to do something I haven’t done before – which I guess I’m doing whenever I undertake a new book. But comfortable isn’t really the word I’d choose.

17. If you could change anything in your experience with Red is Best, what would it be? I would spare myself the agony of thinking (as I did for a number of years) that no one would never notice anything else I’d written aside from that book. Many writers are not so lucky to have a book so well loved for so many years as Red Is Best.

18. In One Year Commencing, why was the ambiguity of the mother’s sexual orientation important? I didn’t spell out the sexual orientation of the main character’s friend’s mother because it wasn’t important to the story, and Al (the main character) wasn’t herself aware of it. But the possibility that she’s gay is there because I thought a story like One Year Commencing was a good place to offer different kinds of family arrangements. For readers worldly enough to be aware that same-sex relationships exist, it’s there, between the lines. For readers not ready to see the relationship between Kim’s mother and the friend she lives with as anything but a friendship, it’s irrelevant.

19. What literary genre have you never tried but would like to? Well, I’ve done picture books, chapter books, novels, short stories, historical fiction, horror, and a bit of non-fiction. I’ve recently finished a biography, which will be published in 2008. I’ve written poetry too, though it’s never been published, except for a few pieces that appear as prose in 101 Ways to Dance. So, what’s left? Graphic novels, I guess, but I haven’t felt inspired to try my hand there yet. I would like some day to get back to the psychological thriller that I attempted some years ago.