Author Interview: Theresa Griffin Kennedy

Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer?

Probably the one book that showed me I could perhaps one day write a book was the novel, The Parasites by Daphne Du Maurier, a novel about three siblings, which was also quite autobiographical in nature. It remains one of my favorite books, a highly complex analysis of identity using pure omniscient voice, which can be extremely challenging to do well.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I studied classical Ballet, Jazz dance and Modern dance but wanted to become a dancer, a Ballet dancer. I was really very good and came close to going professional. Ballet taught me how to commit to something and also taught me self-discipline and to get past physical pain.

At what point do you think someone should call themselves a writer? When they’ve learned the skill of writing to such a degree that they can produce something that has merit, is publishable and has meaning and relevance to the modern world we live in. Generally, that is when people are older and have life experience. Writing is the one thing you can get better and better at the more you age. I’m a better writer today than I was five years ago.

Do you play music while you write — and, if so, what’s your favorite?

Absolutely. I use ambient music that helps me to relax and focus, purely instrumental with no words or singing, but with ambient music, particularly lo-fi, you can really zone out and that creative part of your brain just takes over and you can connect with the muses, because they are always there, just out of reach, waiting to whisper things in your ear.

Do you prefer ebooks, printed books, or audiobooks most of the time?

I have read an ebook or two, but I prefer print books, mostly hardcover, and some softcover books. The physical pleasure of holding a book in your hands cannot be underestimated or replicated with an eBook. There is a sensual enjoyment of holding a book in your hands, smelling the paper, and feeling the paper as you turn the page.

Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?

All the time, every day. I have learned to deal with it. I’m a longtime animal rescuer and have found homes for over 100 cats and 17 dogs in the last 35 years so I’m able to handle this fairly well.

Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym, and why or why not?

No, I’ve never wanted to use a fake name. I have never seen the point of writing under a pseudonym. I want people to know it was me who wrote the book. I can’t imagine not wanting my name to be known. I guess like many people I am that egotistical.

Have you listened to any audiobooks?

Which did you enjoy the most? I really have not, other than a tape years ago of the actress Glenn Close reading a rendition of the Sleepy Hollow story. My daughter and I checked it out from the library and Glenn Close’s voice was so pleasing and just so melodious, and her rendition so perfect that we listened to the tape again and again. Close studied opera and her speaking voice is simply gorgeous to listen to.

How do you process and deal with negative book reviews? Negative reviews don’t bother me. I’m 56 and old enough to know that I’m a skilled writer. I am also a terrible perfectionist. Some negative reviews I’ve read were so outlandish that my friends and I actually had a chuckle over them. When someone writes that your book is the worst book they’ve ever read, you know that they’re not rational and also probably not very well read. I take bad reviews in stride. As a longtime writer and author, you have to.

If you could be mentored by a famous author, who would it be?

There are so many women writers I love. Daphne Du Mauier was my ALL time favorite writer for years. For over ten years I was simply obsessed with her and I collected ALL her books. I still love her books but I have branched out now. I would say if I could choose an author, number one, it would be a woman and I’d say Gillian Flynn. She is simply an astounding woman, writer, and seer. I have a HUGE writerly crush on her. Her books are life changing in their depth and insight into the way men and women clash. There is one portion of her novel Gone Girl that absolutely stunned me in its insight. The part where she goes on a rant about the “Cool Girl.” That book is simply a masterpiece.

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