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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Katherine B. Howe

author Katherine Howe and her book A True Account

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I am grateful to have a writing career, for I am one of those people who is constitutionally unable to do anything else. And I feel that in a moment as fractious as our own, the radical empathy necessary for the writing and reading of fiction is only getting more important, and elusive.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? When drafting I will often give myself a word count assignment. Though often on days when I find it hard to get started, I will use the trick “Write about the fact that you don’t know what to write about it.” I learned that trick in fourth grade. Always works.

What is your favorite time to write? These days I have to fit all my writing time into the window of opportunity created by my son’s Montessori. I don’t know when I’ll be able to write at night again. Some day.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? I read a profile of Nora Roberts in the New Yorker several years ago, wherein I learned that her philosophy of writing is “Ass in the chair.” That struck me so deeply that I sandblasted it onto a bowl that I keep on my desk.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? Seeing if Open AI is able to produce a better, more literary, more accomplished, better researched Katherine Howe novel than I am. That will really make my job a lot easier. I can go from producing one new novel every two to three years to producing one every day.

Katherine Howe’s A True Account: Hannah Masury‚Äôs Sojourn Amongst the Pyrates, Written by Herself is out now with Henry Holt and Co.