Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? I don't know where I'd be without stories, reading them, telling them, thinking about them. It's the only way I can figure out what I think. Whether they are total escape or full of revelations, stories can show us what we wouldn't ordinarily see.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? Breaking things down into small pieces, telling myself not to be editor and judge. That became easier after years of working as a journalist. You have to sit down, meet a deadline and realize sometimes it's not your best and sometimes it surpasses all you expected. Let it go and move on.

What is your favorite time to write? Morning is the best time for me, but not too early; that is when I ponder, doubt, caffeinate.

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Write through a first draft and quiet that small voice telling you how bad it is. Just keep going until you have a first draft and then go back and be critical.

What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? Seeing an increasing variety of voices appearing in new venues and forms. It's never been harder to fit into a traditional publishing world, but there are people outside that doing really interesting work.

Katherine Seligman's At the Edge of the Haight is out January 19 with Algonquin Books.