Writers on Writing: Kim Antieau

Kim Antieau photo
© Kim Antieau
Used with permission

KIM ANTIEAU is a prolific writer, researcher, librarian, publisher and blogger. She has published 20 novels, six collections of short stories, four non-fiction books and numerous short stories, articles and poems. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, and fellow writer, Mario Milosevic.

ANGELA: Where do your ideas come from?

KIM: I get them from everywhere, from what I read, see, hear, experience. For me, my stories come from the ground up, so it often makes a difference where I am—geographically. I get more stories from some places than I do others.

ANGELA: Why do you write in the fantasy and/or non-fiction genre?

KIM: Fiction: I don’t really write in any particular genre. The stories just come to me, and I write them. Nonfiction: If something moves me in some way, I’ll write about it. It’s how I communicate with the world.

ANGELA: What are you currently reading?

KIM: The Golden Age of Botanical Art by Martin Rix, Energetic Boundaries by Cyndi Dale, and An Illustrated Record of Chinese Civilization.

ANGELA: What is one of your all-time favorite books and why?

KIM: Terrastina and Mazolli by Mario Milosevic. It’s a novel told in 99 word chapters. I love it because it’s kind and beautiful, quirky and hopeful. (Yes, Mario happens to be my husband, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still one of my favorite books.)

ANGELA: What is your writing process?

KIM: A story comes to me; it rolls around in my imagination for a while; if it needs researching, I’ll research it. Then I sit down and write it.

ANGELA: How frequently (and for how long/how much) do you write?

KIM: I write in spurts. I can write every day for hours at a time, but then when I’m done with a project, I can go months without writing anything. Of course, that’s with fiction. Even if I’m not writing fiction, I’m usually writing nonfiction or a blog post or something.

ANGELA: How much time do you spend revising?

KIM: When I finish a piece, I read it right away and fix up what I call the stupids. I also determine at that point whether the piece has merit. If it actually needs a major rewrite, I just let go of it. Nothing can kill a story more than a major rewrite (at least for me). Stories come out whole cloth for me, so if there is a major flaw or the writing is bad, it can’t be fixed, in my view. I can redraft: Throw out the whole thing and start from the beginning. If the piece does work and just needs some editing, I’ll edit it and then give it to Mario. He’ll give me his two cents. I’ll incorporate his edits. Then I put the manuscript away for a bit. When I have some distance, I bring it out and read it again, edit it, and then it’s ready to go.

ANGELA: Do you already have ideas lined up so that you could immediately start the next story?

KIM: I always have many novel ideas. I don’t know what I’ll write next, though. I let the Muses decide at the time.

ANGELA: Do you always start the next work immediately after completing one?

KIM: I try not to start immediately after I’ve finished a long project. If I do, the piece is usually awful. I need down time. I need time to fill up again.

ANGELA: What do you do about writer’s block?

KIM: I whine about it to my husband. It’s not so much writer’s block as sitting my butt down in the chair block. When I’m ready, I’m ready. When I’m not, I’m not. If I’m suffering from a bout of depression or I’m just having trouble for some other reason, I’ll ask my husband to give me a word count deadline. He’ll say, “Give me 500 words by lunch.” And usually that works. (I write about a lot of this in Answering the Creative Call, by the way.) I don’t know why it works, but it does.

image of book covers

Connecting and keeping up with Kim Antieau:
Green Snake Publishing

Interview conducted in July 2015.

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