To celebrate the release of her new novel The Far End of Happy which came out earlier this month, we interviewed author Kathryn Craft and asked her questions about her new novel, her writing and much more. We are thrilled to have Kathryn on the blog today and hope you love getting to know her as much as we did!
Thanks for having me Karen! My inspiration was the true event on which the novel is based: my first husband’s 1997 suicide standoff against a massive police response. Already a 15-year dance critic at the time, I knew I’d one day write about it. At first I did so in the form of memoir essays. But there was no way I could look back on earlier events in my marriage without the knowledge of what was to come. The suicide colored everything. I ultimately decided the most honest way to convey that was to constrain the story action to the twelve hours. My further decision to use three point-of-view characters, to better evoke suicide’s deviling questions, pushed the project firmly into the realm of fiction.
How long did it take you to write The Far End of Happy?
From the moment I got the book deal to my first turn-in date was ten and a half months. Just slightly different from the eight years I spent writing my debut.
What has been the best compliment you’ve received about your books so far?
Book blogger Mallory Heart Reviews wrote, “THE FAR END OF HAPPY is an extraordinarily compelling book, founded in an extraordinary comprehension of human nature, addiction, denial—and love, familial bonds, and character strength and integrity.” One wants to write a compelling book, of course. But I have been a student of human nature my whole life, only intensifying my efforts to move beyond my husband’s death, so that second part was quite meaningful to me.
What is your writing process like? Do you write an outline and do you write every day?
Since I always know the ending before I begin, I list a series of emotional turning points my main character must go through to get from the beginning to the end. As I write, I aim toward them. This approach gives me guiderails yet also allows for the flexibility I need to drive the creative process. Once I have a draft, I fix story problems at the synopsis level before revising.
I love the cover of The Far End of Happy. Who designed it and how many different ones did you go through until you found the right one?
Isn’t this cover amazing? It’s the brainchild of Eileen Carey, the same Sourcebooks designer that came up with the wonderful cover for The Art of Falling. Because I have no talent for this kind of visual work, I had no idea what direction they might take. This cover was the first presented to me—and the last. I instantly fell in love.
I couldn’t possibly narrow my choices to one author—it’s the full palette that inspires! But there are a few authors whose new works I’d purchase without even reading the back cover copy. They include Ann Patchett, Anna Quindlen, Barbara Kingsolver, Amy Tan, Khaled Hosseini, Janet Fitch, and Margot Livesey.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
One of the things that will distinguish your fiction is an interesting perspective through which we can view story events. In THE ART OF FALLING, my first-person narrator tells the story of pursuing a dance career while battling a body image disorder that implodes her relationships. I could have gone with the obvious in THE FAR END OF HAPPY and have the point-of-view wife mourn the loss of her dearly beloved, but instead she mourns the loss of the man she was determined to leave, raising more complex questions. It is through shared perspective that fiction can stretch our worldview and make us more empathetic people.
If you’re allowed to tell us, what can your readers expect next? Are you currently working on anything new?
THE FAR END OF HAPPY completes an important seventeen-year arc in my life. I decided to devote my energy to seeing this title through its launch sequence before diverting my attention. Right now my plan is to relocate to my summer home in June, collapse on the lakeside hammock, and dream new dreams.
About the Author:
Kathryn Craft is the author of The Art of Falling and The Far End of Happy. Long a leader in the southeastern Pennsylvania literary scene, she loves any event that brings together readers, books, food and drink, and mentors other writers through workshops and writing retreats. A former dance critic, she has a bachelor’s in biology education and a master’s in health and physical education from Miami University in Ohio. She lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and spends her summers lakeside in northern New York State.
Connect with Kathryn:
- Website: http://www.kathryncraft.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KathrynCraftAuthor
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/kcraftwriter
- Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/kathryn_craft
For PR inquires, please reach out to Suzy Missirlian at @Suzy4PR.
To celebrate the release, Kathryn and her team have graciously provided Karen’s Korner with a copy of The Far End of Happy for a giveaway! Enter via the Rafflecopter below (US entries only):