Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? Writing is important to me because I like describing things. It's that simple! Then I like to get underneath the surface and root around for a bit. Writing is when I feel most like myself. In terms of its importance to the world, I think the best writing is an exercise in empathy, imagining what it would be like to inhabit a life very different from one's own.
What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? Writer's block is such an interesting thing. I experienced it in college, writing academic papers, and whenever I tried my hand at creative writing in my twenties. The process was always excruciating. I have so many memories of staring at a blank screen, knowing vaguely what I wanted to say but completely unable to summon the right words. It wasn't until I started working as a television producer that I gained my storytelling chops. It was through video editing basically, arranging images, where I found my place of quiet concentration, my trust that I could sit and work and figure things out. I associate writer's block with that earlier time in my life - when the sentences just wouldn't come. I haven't experienced that in a long time. When the writing isn't going well now, I just keep going, knowing I can rewrite it later or discard it if I need to. There's usually something salvageable to be found even in the most tedious writing sessions.
What is your favorite time to write? When I can find the time! The Receptionist was written in stolen moments - during my son's nap time when he was a baby and in between producing gigs. I can make use of an hour if I need to, but I really get cooking if I have three or four hours.
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? If you have a great sentence, don't follow it with another, less great sentence basically saying the same thing that the great sentence just said. Cut that second sentence. You don't need it. This advice cleaned up my writing considerably!
What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? I've written a domestic thriller. If you haven't noticed, it's a bit of heyday for the genre! I think the thing that excites me most is that publishers and public are buying a lot of these books, and there's room for different voices and styles.
Kate Myles's The Receptionist is out now with Thomas & Mercer.