Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? Second to talking with people it's the next best way to communicate. You get to speak from the heart without censoring. You get to use your imagination...and to speculate. Writing allows you to travel the world and meet a lot of people...and offers the same benefits of reading. People find you and learn who are through your written word. It affords you a degree of safety. Not that your stories or what you write aims for that. But it's the freedom to be open and revealing from a distance.
What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? A writer friend once said that she thinks writer's block occurs when a writer is simply tired. Burned out. But I think there are other reasons such as family/personal drama (and family sometimes comes first. Any kind of drama can mean trouble for trying to work on a creative project). The second reason may be that you haven't taken enough time with developing either the characters, premise, or story beats that is the journey of the characters from start to finish. I have learned to step back and leave the work alone for a while. I give my mind time to rest and decompress and rejuvenate. With that usually comes a rush of fresh ideas. And I do take time to rethink who my protagonists are, what they want, and what are their motivations.
What is your favorite time to write? When I first began writing it would be at night...after a day at a full time job. I was actually energized in the evening because the story had been brewing in my head all day. I could write from 8 until midnight. After that I was toast. Now I find I'm more geared to starting early in the morning, around 9AM (like what used to be a traditional job), and I can keep going much of the day, if the story is moving, until 5 or 6, with several breaks. If I feel I'm struggling I'll deliberately stop a little after 1PM and call it a day. I'll turn to research, editing earlier chapters. Maybe I'll watch a movie or catch up on my own reading. Or get some exercise. Walking ans swimming are great because I get into a rhythm of movement and my mind is free to do whatever. My characters also have lengthy conversations in my head.
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? There are several. Don't treat your writing like it's a marathon. Unless you have contractual deadlines, work on the book carefully and thoughtfully until you feel it's done. I use a thesaurus; it's my best working tool. Don't read in the genre you're currently writing in. Other writer's words are more influential than you realize. Don't be afraid to throw out a paragraph, page, or entire chapter if it doesn't work. Or, save it to a file for possible later use somewhere else. A line I heard recently is 'kill your darlings', and I think it applies to writing. Good advice to remember that your written word is not necessarily sacred. Appreciate, and take the time, to edit and revise.
What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? I'm excited to find that I've reached a new generation of readers. I've been around so long that many of them hadn't been born when I first began writing. And it's amusing that some will question if I'm "a new writer" on the scene because they'd never heard of me before. I'm pleased that they've found their way to my stories. Also, I realized from the start that my stories and ideas, my way of thinking, was often ahead of the curve. I had to sometimes wait for society and time to catch up to me.
Sandra Kitt's Winner Takes All is out now with Sourcebooks Casablanca.