Interview with Indie Lit Winner Kathleen Winter
By: Cass (GLBTQ Judge)
You’ve explained elsewhere how Annabel started as a short story and was expanded into a full story afterward. Could you explain the history of the story for our readers here?
I listen carefully wherever I go. A lot of stories come to me that way. Someone told me a story of an intersex child. It haunted me and I found out more about ambiguously gendered children, through reading and more listening, and by asking questions. I wrote Annabel as a short story and included a draft with my story manuscript (boYs) but my editor thought it was too farfetched. I decided it was a compelling story and I expanded it. This took a couple of years.
You’ve also written a short story collection, BoYs – do you have a preference between short stories and full length novels? What makes you decide to write a story in either length?
I’m interested in voice and content more than form. I need there to be layers, undertones of mischief and love, grief and transfiguration. I don’t really care whether a story is short or goes on past 400 pages, if it has those layers I’m looking for. Still, it is less of a marathon to write short stories, and you can magically fly from one terrain to a completely different one in minutes, as a writer. So that has freedoms. But a novel pays more, if it’s a novel that connects with people. You can connect till the cows come home with short stories and not get paid anything.
Are you working on any projects now?
Yes, I’m working on a murder mystery and a non fiction book about the Arctic.
Were you nervous about writing a story of an intersex child and the reaction you (and the book) might face? How has that reaction compared to your expectations?
I did feel I might write the wrong things. But I have heard from intersex readers who feel strongly that the book is a healing book. That means a great deal to me. It supports my hopeful notion that art connects us all.
How much research did you do for the book about Labrador and about the time period?
I drew the landscape and social construct from memory, observation and experience. I lived in Newfoundland and Labrador from 1968, the year of Wayne’s birth, until recently, with a few nomadic travels thrown in.
Do you think you would include intersex and / or gender-nonconforming characters in your future works?
I like that question. I have always been fascinated by domestic and broader social gender politics, and both books I am now working on have elements of gender-nonconforming, yes. I like subversive bursting of bonds, of gender and class, and I write about that a lot, even when I’m not trying to.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading a lot of preparatory texts for my Arctic book, especially the work of American author Gretel Ehrlich. I like her positioning of the observant author in her non fiction, and her precision and crystalline prose are a delight to me. I am reading her book recounting her seven years in Greenland: This Cold Heaven and her new book, written for National Geographic, Empire of Ice: Encounters in a Changing Landscape, which chronicles Ehrlich’s circumpolar journey and conversations with Arctic people around the globe.
Thank you to Kathleen Winter for answering our questions.
2010 Shortlist for GLBTQ
- Annabel by Kathleen Winter
- Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde
- Krakow Melt by Daniel Allen Cox
- Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green
- Scars by Cheryl Rainfield
If you have a book that you would like to nominate for the 2010 GLBTQ Entry List, you may add it below in the comment section.
In order to nominate please refer to the following:
- You must be a literary blogger; and a link to your blog must be provided so we can verify this. (You may not be the author, publisher, or publicist of the book you are nominating).
- Books nominated must have a 2010 release date.
- You may nominate a book that has already been listed (the books with the most nominations will be what we add to the Long List).
- You may nominate books in more than one genre, but only one per genre.
- Nominations close December 15, 2010.
Thank you for your nomination!
*Please remember, only one title per category.
*****UPDATE**** As of December 15th, comments are closed to nominations. The short-lists will be announced by December 31st.