Episode 44: Geeta Kothari hits the gas with new book I Brake For Moose
Prosers, prosers, prosers, have I got a treat for you this week!
It’s my first book interview of this year and I’m happy that it was with professor, Kenyon Review Nonfiction Editor, and award-winning writer Geeta Kothari.
Kothari’s new short story collection, I Brake For Moose, is out on Braddock Avenue Books. (Use this Amazon link and support BTP when you buy Geeta’s book.) I enjoyed reading the book as much as I did her interview. She seems in control and comfortable with her writing process and her progress, and I hope some of that confidence and peace rubbed off on me.
Plus – I go into major shock mode when she reveals the great productivity method that I fell in love with a couple summers ago. It involves a metaphorical tomato and a timer.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
– how she finds out what the story is about
– what technique she uses to organize her life and writing
– what’s the one thing you should do if an editor suggests it
After our interview on March 8, Geeta emailed responses to some bonus questions:
Q: What is your writing superpower?
Q: What prompted you to put the collection together?
A: If I really think hard, this happened during a period when I was trying to send out 100 submissions a year–stories, essays, residency apps, anything. My friend Wendy Call does this; it’s the only thing you can control, how often you send out your work, and if you send it out enough times, eventually something will stick. I was running out of short pieces to send out, so I put the collection together reasoning that it would help me get closer to my 100 goal.
Q: Are there books or prompts that you turn to for inspiration?
A: The book I always turn to when I’m stuck is Hillary Rettig’s The Seven Secrets of the Prolific. She has lots of great advice including timed writing and how to talk to yourself: radical self-acceptance. The prompt I always use when I’m stuck is the ABC structure, where you write a story in which each sentence starts with a different letter of the alphabet in alphabetical order. You’re only allowed one fragment, one semi-colon. And you must have one 100-word sentence in there. I time myself–30 minutes to write a quick draft. It really does force you to stay in the moment because there’s no space to go into flashbacks or long passages of exposition.
If you like how those answers sound, you can hear and learn more from Geeta Kothari at Hippocamp 2017 in Lancaster, PA!
ABOUT GEETA KOTHARI
Geeta Kothari is the nonfiction editor of the Kenyon Review. She is a co-founder of the www.novelworkshop.org. Her writing has appeared in various anthologies and journals, including New England Review, Massachusetts Review, and others. Her essay “If You Are What You Eat, Then What Am I?” is widely taught in universities and has been reprinted in several anthologies, including in Best American Essays. She is the editor of Did My Mama Like to Dance?: And Other Stories about Mothers and Daughters.