Grace Ferguson: Here’s the Scoop
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
This week I got the chance to interview Kathryn Stockett, the author of the best-selling novel turned blockbuster movie “The Help.” I would like to thank my mentor, Roger Marolt, for making this interview possible. Only in Aspen would I get the chance to interview a famous author!
Grace: What advice would you give to young writers like me?
Kathryn: First piece of advice: You’ve got to read. If you want to write, you have to read. It’s kind of like putting yourself on a good diet. If you want to have energy to run track, you’ve got to eat lots of protein and good carbs and good vegetables. If you want to write something good, you’ve got to read something good.
Grace: Do you ever worry that people might recognize themselves in your characters and feel that you reveal too much about them – maybe even unflattering things?
Kathryn: Yes. I don’t worry about it, but it definitely happens. I have two things happen to me: I’ll have someone come up to me and say, “Oh, darlin’, we just loved your book, but of course we didn’t treat our help that way.” And I’m rolling my eyes going, “Uh-huh.” Or I have people come to me and say, “Gosh, I’m so ashamed of how we acted.” It’s nice that people are even thinking about the book and comparing it to their own lives.
Grace: After the huge success of your first novel, do you feel pressure in writing the next one?
Kathryn: I do. I have been racking my brain for two years. The second novel was due January 2011, and yeah, I’m pretty nervous. I can’t get those readers and those critics and my publisher out of my office. I sit there at the computer, and they are all just standing there with their hands on their hips, looking at me. And it takes me a couple of days to clear all those people out of my office so I can just be quiet and write. For me, even though it’s fiction, it’s about telling the truth.
Grace: Do you have any idea what your next novel will be about?
Kathryn: I do! It takes place in Mississippi during the Roaring ’20s – the Jazz Age. It was a really cool time for women because their grandmothers were still dodgy. I remember my own grandmother raising her nose up in the air because all her friends were going to vote. And she thought that was so silly: Why do women need to be voting? But then there were a lot of other women who were going out dancing and shortening their hemlines. I think it’s fun to watch what they considered liberalization. And we look back and we think, “Oh, honey, you don’t have any idea what liberal is!”
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