It’s been a little over a year since we last interviewed you. What’s new in your life? Has anything about your writing style or approach to writing changed?
Let’s see. I moved halfway across the country, escaping winter in the Twin Cities just in time to move to New Hampshire for a winter where we had four feet of snow fall in one day. I may not be good at strategic planning. I adopted another cat. Her name is Viola, and if you follow me on Twitter (@KatWithSword), you can see many pictures of her and my other cat Maeve helping me write. Er, for the cat version of helping.
Oh, wait. You asked about writing. Has my style changed? That’s hard to say. There are certain things that I am interested in, like myths and like stories that center on women’s voices, that have stayed pretty consistent. I am in love with language as I ever was. But I am trying to challenge myself in the way that I tell those stories—by experimenting with structure, with point of view, with more complicated plots. I want to continue to push myself as a writer, so my approach involves looking for new ways to do that.
In the line about myth calling to myth, what was calling the myth of the unicorn to the myth of the city?
I love the ideas of cities as mythic places. And not just cities of myth, but the cities that exist in our world that we build up myths and stories around. I think a good case can be made that New York is the premier mythic city in America. We tell stories about it, we sing songs about what it means to make it there, it has a certain symbolic weight. I wanted to pull the unicorn hunt out of tapestries (although those live in New York as well, at The Cloisters) and into a modern myth.
Unicorns pass in and out of our culture a fair bit; what do you think it is about unicorns that we re-discover every so often?
This is sort of a hard question for me to answer, because I have always loved unicorns—I had so many unicorn posters and stickers and stuffed animals. As I was working on this story, my sister texted me a picture of the membership card of the Unicorn Club I founded when we were little. I still have unicorns on my bookcases. They are one of my favorite myths, and I started loving them for the simplest of reasons—I thought they were beautiful. I still do.
But like any useful myth, they are adaptable. We can shift their symbolism—or subvert it—in ways that continue to fit into our imaginations.
What’s next for you?
My debut novel, Roses and Rot, comes out in June. If you like stories about fairy tales or sisters or ambition or really troublesome family relationships or making art or secrets or love or sacrifice, you might like it. I am currently working on my next novel, which is completely unrelated to Roses and Rot, and various other projects.
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