Today’s interview is with Kate Kinnear, poet and author of Prostitute of State, currently available as a free read on BOOKKUS. If you haven’t yet read my review of Prostitute of State you can see it here. I’d urge you all to give it a try, review it on BOOKKUS, and help it get published!
“Born and raised in Midwestern USA, Kate Kinnear (under the name Katherine A. Roche) is a past winner of the Gertrude Dole Memorial Award of the Massachusetts State Poetry Society; first place winner one year, honorable mention another for the Abbie M. Copps Poetry Competition – Olivet College, Olivet, Michigan (Garfield Lake Review); as well as having verse, essays, and short stories published in various regional and small publications across the United States. Recently two of her poetry chapbooks – Cocklebur Chronicles and Sisters of a Wild Bouquet were e-published on Smashwords. Her lifelong dream is to have a novel traditionally published.
In life, she loves God, family, friends, people of all ethnicity, and animals. When writing, she is goal-oriented to align intent, allow for misconception, touch it with humor, and let words fly toward a unique spot.”
And now the interview:
DocTom: Welcome, Kate. I must say that after reading Prostitute of State I can’t decide if you are from a small town and travelled in Europe, or spent a lot of time in Europe and visited many small towns in the USA. Your descriptions of both are quite natural. So which is it?
Kate Kinnear: I’m a small town girl, born and raised in Wymore, Nebraska. As a matter of fact, I live about eight blocks from the house where I was born. I did live away from Wymore for about ten years, but that was in nearby (a mile away) Blue Springs. What knowledge I have of other parts of the world is the result of conversations I’ve had with interesting people met while working a variety of jobs. Whenever I become particularly curious, I grab encyclopedias and other reference materials.
DocTom: Really? Setting is so important in a novel, so this is something other aspiring writers would like to know about. Your descriptions of Amsterdam and other places in Europe were so convincing I was sure you at least visited them. You actually just got those descriptions from reference materials? How much effort did you have to put into your research?
Kate Kinnear: Actually, research was not as extensive as you might think. Though, except for Canada, I’ve never been outside the United States, my life path, in various jobs, has put me in proximity with people who were well-traveled, especially the tavern I owned for almost ten years. Also, I did use whatever reference material I could get my hands on to verify facts and places described in Prostitute of State. But, like I stated, the tavern, though probably the most frustrating work I ever had, was also the most interesting, and a rich feeding ground for creative energy. As you might imagine, there can be found a mother load of truth, exaggeration, half truths, and outright lies that can be adjusted into useable information in the creative process. And, of course, there were things, in keeping with the actual setting, that I just made up!
DocTom: So Jade’s Wander Inn Tavern was based on some of your own life experiences?
Kate Kinnear: Sure… I think there must be roots of truth in every story. I believe the desire for honesty applies to any genre, perhaps a complex factor, maybe simple. Elemental truth is a part of Prostitute of State. There was a Cold War during which time awful things were done. There are troubled people in the world. Most, as a matter of fact. We are all puzzle pieces, irregular, seeking our perfect fit. So, my material is certainly based on my experiences and truth, but also expanded upon to push it higher up the ladder of appeal. My characters probably lack sophistication. Don’t a great many of us? They come from picking through a thrift shop of human strengths and weakness, physical description and personality traits, parts of people I knew, or never knew. But, for example, if you were to walk down any street in the world today looking for my main character, and ask, “Are you the real Jack Paradies?” the answer would be “No.”
DocTom: Well, you have the unique ability to draw a picture of a person in a very brief statement. After reading the sentence or two you devoted to some of the Wander Inn regulars I felt I knew them pretty well. But never having been out of the country, where did you get the inspiration for the foreign characters? The Dutch street urchin, Fentje, comes to mind; as does the British spy.
Kate Kinnear: I got a great deal of help from the perfect man. Any man who can tell if a woman is happy by the tilt of her head, the lilt of her voice, can determine anxiousness or sorrow by posture and pace, who doesn’t need to see blood running from the eyes to know if a person is in pain, can be trusted with the details of the places he has been, the people met. He had been all over the world (in the service.). I picked his brain long past the eye-rolling, until it bled. He might ask with a tired smile, “Why interested in that?” but he always came through for me, because, like I said, he was not only super intelligent, but he was the perfect man.
DocTom: I see. I bet all writers wish they could be so blessed with a perfect friend and source. So I take it that much of Prostitute of State is based on his experiences during the Cold War.
Kate Kinnear: In premise. And loosely. Protection was a big part of his nature. Yes, I was very lucky to have such a friend.
DocTom: Yes, you were very lucky to have such a muse, but where did you learn to write so well? I have read a couple of manuscripts as polished as yours, but they had generally gone through an editor first. You seem to have a natural ability – and, I assume, also put in plenty of hard work.
Kate Kinnear: Wow! What a great compliment! As to what I might attribute any writing ability, I’m not sure. Many things. Articles in The Writer, Writer’s Digest, Writers and Poets, wherein certain aspects were addressed, like: “Write What You Know”; “Vary Sentence Structure”; “Balance Dialogue And Narrative”; “Play On All Senses”; “Make Even The Words On A Page Appear Interesting”; “Read Your Work Aloud To Hear How It Flows”; “Weed Out Excess”; and “Write With Authority.” That sort of thing. Maybe inborn brute-determination is involved. And my father’s voice in my head, saying, “You can accomplish anything you set out to do.” Of course, a great deal of trial and error came into play, but being located in close proximity to a shopping outlet that sold cheap typing paper didn’t hurt.
Most of writing Prostitute of State was note-taking, shuffling, manipulation, you know — the basic physical and mental involvement. However, life routinely got in the way of actually putting much down on paper. Maybe I worked an hour, or just a few minutes. Maybe I worked on other things, short things, that I could send out to try to get a feeling of “published.” Normal life problems came up, and I put the project on hold, but Prostitute of State is probably better for the delay. Time knocked off the ragged edges. It helped me see it clearly enough to discipline it. The premise matured.
Okay, bottom line…. I thought about Prostitute of State for many years, over twenty I‘d say. Actually filling a box with paper took about a year, and revision another half. So here I am today, still hoping to get Prostitute of State published, but things are good. I’m in the review process with BOOKKUS PUBLISHING, and in delightful exchange with one of its impressive published authors. Whoda thunk it!
DocTom: So no formal training? And you’ve also published some poetry?
Kate Kinnear: Nope. No formal training. Not even a workshop. And no readers, except after publication. Poetry, free verse primarily (I don’t much care for pattern work.), has been my greatest success, and a few essays and short stories. I was lucky enough to win the Abbie M. Copps Poetry Competition some years back, which resulted in publication in Olivet College’s Garfield Lake Review. A previous year I was an honorable mention in the same contest. I’ve also been published in the following small publications (for small payment and/or copy), to name some: Byline Magazine, Chimera Connection, Comstock Review, Contact, The Creative Urge, Dark Starr, DEROS, Dream International, Haunts, Midwest Poetry Review, Midwestern Writer’s Showcase, Mystical Unicorn, New Horizons, The Poet, Poet’s Corner, Published, Red Hawk Review, Short Story Review, Tiny Lights, Touchstone, Up Against the Wall- Mother, Vintage 45, Wide Open, White Pelican Review, The Writer’s Bloc, Yes Press. I also have two poetry chapbooks, Cocklebur Chronicles and Sisters of a Wild Bouquet, on SMASHWORDS, but I didn’t get a nod on them, just put them there myself.
I’ve tried many things, even children’s books, wrote three: Cora in the Cornfield, Three Maids, and Puce Magic. My daughter beautifully illustrated all three, but no luck was to be had on them, and they lay in the drawer.
DocTom: Well, Kate, I must say that for someone with no formal training you’ve done one great job with Prostitute of State. I wish you great success with it. Is there anything you’d like to add about the book? Something you’d like to say to potential readers?
Kate Kinnear: Thanks, Tom!
I’d like to say something IN GENERAL to writers, and readers:
To writers, I’d like to say: Creative writing may not be as absolute as brain surgery, but don’t go in there without any tools. Use your assets: Training. Guidance. Avoid some snags. (Let somebody hold the barbed wire down a bit while you cross the fence.) Don’t be like me — though writing since early childhood (if you count scribbling in dirt with a stick), now pushing 70 so tight against the wall it can’t catch it’s breath—- And still seeking the dream!
To readers of Prostitute of State, I’d like to say: Thank you to anyone who did or will read it. My gratitude is huge, deep, sincere.
And I add special thanks to Doc Tom: For kind words here and elsewhere. For attention. For guidance. For friendship. FOR HOPE!
DocTom: Thank you, Kate!
There you have it folks. So give Prostitute of State a read – you won’t be sorry – and remember to post a review on Bookkus to help it get published. I’ve already done so, but the review here on my site will give you a much better feel for a really well done book.
And also remember to visit Kate’s page on Smashwords where you can find her poetry chapbooks: Sisters of the Wild Bouquet and Cocklebur Chronicles.