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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Leslie Karst

author Leslie Karst smiling directly at the camera and an image of her book The Fragrance of Death

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? In the same way our ability to smell so strongly evokes feelings and memories within us, reading–more than any other medium–allows me to truly lose myself within the story and become a part of its characters and setting. And a well-written novel can often achieve what a factual news piece cannot, in that the story of an “everyman,” through its use of metaphor and archetype, will most vividly tell us truths about the world we live in.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? For me, it’s going on a hard bike ride and talking aloud to myself as I pedal along, working out my thorny plotting issues. (And this brainstorming-on-the-move also helps me forget about my burning calves as I pump up those steep hills!)

What is your favorite time to write? In the morning, after I’ve read the newspapers, done my daily Wordle, and poured myself a strong cup of coffee.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Believe in yourself and persevere. I know that sounds like two answers, but they’re strongly connected: Only if you truly believe in yourself will you have the fortitude to keep writing, to keep querying even when you’re getting rejections, and to keep at those edits and revisions once you do find a home for your writing.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I have to say that the ability to compose and edit on a computer rather than on a manual typewriter with sheets of paper with lines through the text is pretty darn sweet. But as for what’s truly “exciting,” I’d have to say it’s the advent of so many small and hybrid presses, allowing writers with no established “platform” to have the ability to greenlight their own work. (See my above answer about belief in yourself and perseverance).

Leslie Karst’s The Fragrance of Death is out now with Severn House.