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'It Takes Alot Of Self Discipline'
Kate Morgenroth is the author of "Jude," "Echo," "Kill Me First" and "Saved." She was born just north of New York City in White Plains, N.Y., on Jan. 17, 1972 and has two siblings, a brother, Lee, and a sister, Ann.
Her father was a township civil engineer and her mother was a librarian at a private high school in the Bronx, N.Y., that Morgenroth attended. After high school, Morgenroth attended Princeton University and majored in writing. She is also a professor of writing at The New School University in New York City.
As a growing teenager, Morgenroth always loved to read. It was her grandmother who instilled in her that reading was important, but she already new that.
The following is a question and answer interview with author Kate Morgenroth:
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your books?
A: "Echo" and "Jude" are young adult, and "Saved" and "Kill Me First" were published as adult trade, but I think the only real difference is the age of the protagonist. I don't change anything else in my writing style. There's no guarantee you'll like all of them - take a look at the story and see if it interests you, but don't let the categories scare you off.
Q: What's the weirdest or funniest, fan mail you've received?
A: Oh, definitely the e-mail from an army commander in Iraq who wrote me that he confiscated my book from one of his soldiers because the company was about to go on a tough mission the next day, and the title of the book was "Kill Me First." Turns out he started reading it himself and couldn't put it down.
Q: Your books require a lot of imagination. Do you think people are born with imagination or do you think they develop it through reading?
A: I think everyone has an imagination. They're born with it. And it's always there. People just lose touch with it as they get older. I think they believe it because it's mostly true. But you don't really lose it. You just lose touch with it. You can get back in touch with it at any time. But it takes losing a lot of your seriousness about life, and your ideas about "how the world is."
Q: Since you're an author of horror/mystery novels, you probably expect this question: what has been your most frightening personal experience?
A: I've had a couple, but I don't write at all from personal experience, so they're not really relevant. I write from imagination. In fact, the further away from my personal experience, the better.
Q: Do you have a whole bunch of ideas in your head, or when you start to write do they just come?
A: I have a general idea when I start, and the details come during the writing. And then of course there's lots of rewriting later. Lots.
Q: Is there a reason you don't think of a title first?
A: I don't think of a title first because most of my books didn't get their real titles until after they were done. And a couple other people thought of the titles for me. It goes back to what I said about being better at 80,000 words than 80. So two or three are even harder for me.
Q: Is it a hard job to be a writer?
A: Being a writer is pretty hard. People think they'd love it, but then I ask them how much fun they had writing term papers in school. It takes a lot of self-discipline.
Q: Is the success of your books one of your greatest surprises?
A: The success of my books is one of my greatest pleasures. The e-mails from readers are the best thing about the job.
Q: Have you had any significant disappointments?
A: Oh, sure. Tons. Writing is as much about failing as succeeding, as much about rejection as acceptance.
Q: What do you think is leading to the violence?
A: I don't know. Is there more violence these days? I think there's always been violence.
Q: Back to writing, are there any jobs or internships you'd suggest for a young person who is really interested in being a writer?
A: Take courses and do lots of writing. I don't think there's a job that is going to teach you as much about writing as just doing it.
Q: How did you start getting publishing jobs?
A: I just applied through human resources department.
Q: How does writing a screenplay for "Jude" compare with writing novels?
A: It's much more structural. You have to do more in less space.
Q: Do you edit your books as you go along or do you just read again and re-write?
A: Both. I edit as I go along, and after I'm done. Lots and lots and lots of editing.
Q: Do you think writing is lonely?
A: It would be for some people, but I think it suits me.
Q: What do you tell kids to write?
A: Write what you are passionate about. The passion comes across on the page.
Q: What book of yours is your favorite?
A: That's like asking a parent which is their favorite child. There's something about every book that I like.
Q: Do you ever have a hard time letting go of something you wrote that your editors say you have to change?
A: No. I love to edit.
Q: 29. How do you work up that energy?
A: That's the jackpot question. I don't have an answer for it. But it's the key to writing.
Q: What do you do if you don't respect the editor?
A: Luckily I haven't had this problem. I don't know what I'd do. That would be a very difficult situation.
Q: I have to ask this one but you don't have to answer... But please do.... What is your guilty pleasure?
A: Reading. Because whenever I'm reading, I'm not writing. It's a terrible irony that the thing I like to do the most, and the reason I started writing in the first place, has now become my guilty pleasure.
Morgenroth is the author of many books and articles and lives alone in New York City. Look for her new adult book "They Did It With Love" available this spring. For more information on her books or Morgenroth, visit www.katemorgenroth.com.
Fort Meade, Maryland
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